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)

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

Just Posted

Victoria police are looking for a 38-year-old man after he allegedly assaulted and choked a missing 15-year-old victim in Beacon Hill Park Tuesday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
15-year-old choked in Beacon Hill tent, Victoria police assaulted while intervening

Police searching for 38-year-old suspect, two officers injured in altercation with park residents

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district teachers’ union, and its counterparts from Mount Arrowsmith district, seek stricter COVID-19 rules. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith teachers’ union asks for stricter COVID-19 measures

Teachers ask for vaccine, more online learning, mask mandate for primary students

Some Saanich firefighters have expressed concerns about first responders in the Island Health Region not being prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as an outbreak at a fire station would make service delivery a challenge. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich firefighters not prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine despite working on frontlines

Saanich members express frustration, department calls on Island Health to take action

A total of 10 flight exposures have affected the Victoria International Airport in April so far, making it the highest monthly total since the start of the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hits record-breaking number of monthly COVID-19 flight exposures

As of April 21, 10 flight exposures reported for the month

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of UVic varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Police road checks are coming for people travelling between regions while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. clarifies COVID-19 travel restrictions, Lower Mainland a single zone

Vehicle checks on highways, at ferry terminals to start Friday

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich calls for non-police security for mental health patients at hospitals

Saanich police spent nearly 1,200 hours waiting with patients at hospitals in 2020

The Esquimalt Fire Department was called to a residence on Glengarry Place Tuesday afternoon for a fire that has displaced two families. There were no injuries and damage is being assessed. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt fire displaces two families

Fire damage at residence on Glengarry Place still being assessed

Janitors at Uptown Shopping Centre voted to strike April 20, citing increased risk from the pandemic, minimum wage pay and no paid sick days. (Black Press Media file photo)
Janitors at Uptown Shopping Centre in Saanich vote to strike

Workers say they’re working in high-risk conditions with near-minimum wage pay

Someone used this counterfeit $50 to pay for items at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan in April 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan businesses warned of counterfeit cash

Fake $50 passed at Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Canadian driver Paul Tracy pulls out of the pits during the morning session at the Molson Indy in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, July 26, 2003 (CP/Richard Lam)
Vancouver is considering hosting a Formula E race using electric cars

The race would be part of a three-day event focused on climate and sustainability

Chart from the April 20 B.C. budget shows sharp dip in real estate sales early in the COVID-19 pandemic and the even steeper climb since late 2020. (B.C. government)
Hot B.C. housing market drives property transfer tax gains

B.C. budget boosts tobacco, sweet drinks, carbon taxes

Most Read