Pubdate: Thu, 13 Jul 2017
Source: Metro (Vancouver, CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: David P. Ball
Page: 3


Proposed shop linked to Sahota family angers activists

Activists in the Downtown Eastside rallied at Vancouver City Hall on
Wednesday afternoon - but this time their demand wasn't for more
housing, to save Chinatown, or to halt a developer.

They wanted to block a marijuana dispensary proposed for affluent
Kerrisdale, Herban Legends, from appealing its rejection by the city
for being within 300 metres of a school.

The bulk of speakers and community letters submitted - 58 against, none 
for, the Board of Variance chair revealed - in the case weren't about 
the school issue, but the dispensary's connections to a family that owns 
poorly maintained single-resident occupancy buildings in the Downtown 
Eastside, including the condemned and evacuated Balmoral Hotel: the 
Sahota family.

The shop's lawyer, Kirk Tousaw, dismissed speakers' criticisms of the
Sahotas, saying "people not part of this application," and adding that
the city's initial decision was "wholly subjective".

The applicant was an alleged employee at the Sahotas' Astoria Hotel,
Lachman Singh. He would not answer Metro's questions about his
employment or links to the Sahotas as he arrived at city hall.

Herban Legends' property, at 3038 Arbutus St. near West 14th Avenue
was worth $606,000 one year ago, according to B.C. records, but was
bought for $800,000 on April 18, 2016. The land and business are owned
by a numbered company, but its incorporation documents include the
Sahotas' Astoria Hotel address on East Hastings Street.

Outside city hall, members of the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative
Society carried posters with photographs of three members of the
Sahota family, with the words "Not wanted: The Sahotas … have no
business selling pot."

According to anti-poverty advocate Wendy Pederson, "tenants in our
neighbourhood have broken heat, no hot water, broken elevators, mould,
mice and rats - the Sahotas should be spending their money on repairs
to their existing properties and businesses."

Reached by phone, Ranjit Sahota - listed as co-owner of his family's
Kerrisdale home as "semi-retired" - would neither confirm nor deny
Sahota links to Herban Legends or its property. "Why would you want to
know my business?" he asked Metro. When told it was because of Herban
Legend's city hall appeal, he replied: "So what? So what seems to be
the problem?"

Asked if his family owned Herban Legends, Sahota hung up the phone
mid-conversation and did not answer upon redialing.

The Sahotas also own a company, Sunshine Coast Cannabis Farms Inc.,
which is located at a Port Mellon, B.C. property worth $1.7 million in

- -With files from Jen St. Denis
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt