Members of the public have been wrongfully barred during the COVID-19 pandemic from using a popular boardwalk, the City of Kelowna alleges in a lawsuit against the Hotel Eldorado.
The hotel's claim that public use of the promenade would pose a health risk don't hold water, the city claims in its lawsuit filed Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court.
"The city has kept other public paths and walkways open and accessible while complying with all COVID-19 related orders and guidelines of the provincial health officer and Minister of Public Safety throughout the COVID pandemic," the lawsuit states.
Previous owners of the hotel signed an agreement in 2000 granting a perpetual public right-of-way along the lakeshore between sunrise and sunset each day, the city's lawsuit states.
In exchange, the hotel was granted municipal permission for a marine gas station, the lawsuit says.
But last spring, the hotel's current owners blocked off public access to the boardwalk, saying there was a risk COVID-19 could be transmitted from people using the promenade to hotel guests and employees, the lawsuit states.
Nothing in the right-of-way agreement makes public use of the boardwalk dependent on how that might affect hotel operations, the city's lawsuit states. And, in any event, the closure is "not justifiable on public health grounds", the lawsuit claims.
None of the city's allegations have been proven in court. Argus Properties Ltd. has not yet filed a statement of defence to the city's lawsuit. The Daily Courier has reached out to the company for comment.