Cariboo Lodge plans disputed

Mayor Kerry Cook says she questions mayoral candidate Scott Nelson’s recent assertion that the plan for Cariboo Lodge — once it was owned by the City — was to hand it over to the community’s seniors.

Mayor Kerry Cook says she questions mayoral candidate Scott Nelson’s recent assertion that the plan for Cariboo Lodge — once it was owned by the City — was to hand it over to the community’s seniors.

Cook points to the fact that in paperwork signed between Scott Nelson’s council and the Interior Health Authority discussing the stipulations of the sale, there is no mention of “seniors.”

Last week Nelson came out in support of giving Cariboo Lodge to community seniors for them to determine its future.

“When we came into office they were looking at mixed use, commercial use, a private-public partnership. There was never anything in writing about giving it back to seniors from his three-year term. Nothing,” Cook says.

However, Nelson disagrees, saying the intent of his council was clear.

“When we went out and lobbied for that, we had the senior’s backing who also lobbied for the use of that facility in that area.”

Nelson says no specific group was designated as the beneficiary of the building in the paperwork between the two parties because “the agreement was tied to the City for the City’s use and determination.”

“The intent when council went out to lobby for it was very clearly that the seniors would end up with the facility,” he says.

Cook defended the establishment of the Cariboo Lodge task force saying it provides a “co-ordinated, strategic approach.” Cook added that community-wide housing needs assessment intended to summarize the current housing stock, establish trends and future needs is being completed to help “build our case” for the future use of the lodge.

“We need to be able to build our case and back the case up when we’re going forward to our funding partners,” she says.

“If the need shows it will be for seniors.”

There are two seniors’ representatives on the task force along with business and other community representatives.