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HomeLocal NewsMarriott hotel proposal for BC Pen site in New West facing barriers

Marriott hotel proposal for BC Pen site in New West facing barriers

A new 68-unit Marriott Hotel – branded as the Heritage Hotel is versioned to be developed next to 1901 gatehouse building at 319 Governors Ct. a historic BC Penitentiary building

According to in a now deleted article by Daily Hive Urbanized Project manager Vikram Bajwa said his family purchased the property in 2021 with records showing the property was bought for $5.1 million.

The plan is to build an expansion, a new three-storey, wood-frame hotel wing to the south of the heritage building. It will be built where the south end parking lot with underground to replace the current parking lot.

The hotel would include professional suites and a presidential suite on the second level of the heritage building, which has since been renamed Governor’s Castle. Guests of the hotel will be able to access amenities like saunas and massage rooms and said there will be a  fitness centre for guests and local seniors.

The existing restaurant space will once again be opened as a restaurant and possibly named as “Gatehouse Grill”.

If the plan doesn’t run in to any problems construction could begin next year for a completion and opening in April 2024 and is expected to boost local tourism.

“The property is currently zoned C2, which includes hotel as a permitted use,” she said in an email to the Record. “The city is interested in seeing additional hotel units in the city, particularly around Royal Columbian Hospital and Downtown, to support those with family members at the hospital, tourism, and economic development.” said Jackie Teed, the city’s senior manager of climate action, planning and development, according to the Record

Possible delays or snags

If anomalies are noticed in the ground-penetrating scans the whole thing can come to a grinding to a halt.

Governors’ Court Holdings Inc has sent a request to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for $500,000 in funding to scan the small property with ground-penetrating radar for signs of “bodies” and “graves”.

Usually the way it happens is a team with ground penetrating radar will go in and scan the area to find anomalies in the ground and then any type of development is stopped and cancelled.

“We just want to be sure that there are no graves in our part of that land, that parcel,” Vikram Bajwa told the Record. because of unconfirmed “mass graves” activists claim to have found at old residential schools.

The land surround the site has all been bought up over the years and the neighborhood is full of residential houses and town homes.

“There were Indigenous prisoners held in this complex,” he wrote.

However it was a BC Penitentiary that held prisoners of all races so it is unclear how that relates at all to the residential schools underground anomalies.

“a site survey alone can’t distinguish between an abandoned dig and an actual grave; it can’t reveal bodies or bones, and it can miss graves or overestimate them. If there’s an area of earth that has been disturbed, “it’ll tell you the edges of that disturbance,” said Yellowhorn. “It won’t tell you anything beyond that.”

A panel event hosted by the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy to discuss the underground anomalies suspected to be graves.

Manitoba provincial court judge Brian Giesbrecht pointed out – around the 1890s – approximately one-third of children died before their fifth birthday, retired Manitoba provincial court judge Brian Giesbrecht pointed out.

“Death in that time – the death of a child – was not an unusual thing,” he noted.

Tuberculosis was named as the cause of death in 48.7% of reported residential school fatalities according to the book Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials: The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Volume 4

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