Redd’s Roadhouse Pub employees are hurt over the lack of communication after the province purchased the Comfort Inn Hotel, which the restaurant is attached to, to provied affordable housing to those living along Pandora Avenue and in Topaz Park. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Employees feel ‘backstabbed’ after hotel sold to province to house homeless

Province purchased Comfort Inn Hotel to provide shelter to people living on Pandora, Topaz Park

Employees of the restaurant attached to a Victoria hotel — purchased by the province to turn into shelter space and affordable accommodation for the homeless — say they’re hurt by the lack of communication.

Clayton Rourke has been the kitchen supervisor at Redd’s Roadhouse Pub for almost a year. He says he got a call early Friday morning, telling him to look at the news. That’s when he found out the restaurant and the Comfort Inn Hotel, at 3020 Blanshard St., had been sold.

“Everyone is hurt,” he says. “The biggest thing is they’ve put in a lot of time and energy into this building to make it a good place for everyone and it’s not a good feeling when you’ve been backstabbed by the person you’re trying to do this for.”

Rourke says he’s made at least 30 phone calls trying to figure out what’s going on. He tried to call the owner, Nikki Babie — who also owns a clothing line — but could not get a hold of her.

RELATED: Province buys Victoria hotel to be used as affordable housing for homeless

Ryan Smith, food and beverage manager for Redd’s, says that when the pandemic hit, he, like many others in the service industry, was laid off but was assured that he would have a job to return to when it was safe to do so.

“It’s really hard to even think about the next steps, I went from complete job security and trust in my employer and now I don’t have a lot of options,” he says, adding that it’s going to be hard to find work in Victoria when the industry is suffering.

The provincial government spent $18.5 million to acquire the hotel, which will provide approximately 65 rooms of temporary shelter for people living in homeless camps along Topaz Avenue and in Topaz Park. The long-term use of the facility will be determined through community engagement.

“BC Housing is looking forward to bringing many of these workers on as part of our team – they have skills that we’re looking for to help run these temporary accommodations,” BC Housing told Black Press Media in a statemetn. “We are in the process of reaching out to them now.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Victoria’s service industry hit hard by pandemic layoffs

Smith says even if there are jobs, he doesn’t feel he would be a good fit.

“I’m not trained or equipped to deal with that community,” he says. “It’s just not my area of expertise.”

Rourke says he’s been in touch with lawyers to try to find the best solution, as well as phoning both Our Place Society and BC Housing, who have partnered to run the hotel, but hasn’t had much luck in getting answers.

“My next steps are finding out as much information as possible,” he says, adding that he’s concerned about the other 100 hotel employees.

Babie could not be reached for comment.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

affordable housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Homeless shelter at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre creates 40 jobs

The arena can house 45 people in pop-up pods

Bears spotted near Saanich lake spooked by police, wandered off

Bear, cub not seen over weekend but police ask residents to be on alert

Vote for your favourite Peninsula businesses

Voting extended for annual Readers’ Choice Awards

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Most Read