After delays caused by a cool, wet spring and early summer, construction on the Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre is finally in full swing.
“It has been frustrating at time, but it’s exciting to see things moving ahead now,” said Mary Angus, a spokesperson for AB-BC Resources Ltd., which got development approval last year for a site at the intersection of Highways 3 and 3A at the west edge of Creston.
“We are targeting for a March 2012 opening,” she said.
The 71-room hotel, with the first new hospitality rooms built in Creston since the 1960s, will also accommodate meetings and conferences for up to 100 people. Negotiations are underway for a restaurant to be built on the property, which was given a tentative release from the Agriculture Land Reserve in 2009 by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).
“This has been a very complicated development process,” Angus said.
Once the ALC approval was in place, a site plan had to be created, then approved by different levels of government, including the Town of Creston and Ministry of Transportation. All municipal services had to be extended to accommodate not only the hotel, but potential development of ancillary services, which include a restaurant and potential retail businesses.
“We anticipate that this development will have many positive effects for the Creston Valley,” she said. “With our location in the hub of the Kootenays, we expect to be able to attract conferences that have always been held in other communities. Creston, with our smaller facility and the newly renovated community complex, will be able to compete in the conference market for the first time. Existing motels and bed and breakfasts should benefit, too.”
Angus also feels that Creston Valley attractions will benefit from the new hotel.
“The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area is a world class bird-watching site that gets visitors from around the world,” she said. “There is increasing interest in our agricultural base and the airport has tremendous potential. Promoting these aspects of our valley will be easier when we have a new hotel with a recognizable, respected name like Ramada has.”
Angus gave credit to the Town of Creston and other agencies that have worked with AB-BC Resources Ltd. to get the hotel and conference centre construction underway.
“This is a multi-million dollar investment in our community and it hasn’t always been smooth sailing,” she said. “But we are pleased with the way it’s going now and looking forward to a 2012 opening.”