Pubdate: Thu, 13 Jul 2017
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Nick Eagland
Page: A6


Board butts out plans for pot shop

The Sahota family, whose dilapidated Balmoral Hotel on Vancouver's
Downtown Eastside was evacuated last month, is being slammed for its
failed effort to open a cannabis dispensary on the city's west side.

Herban Legends, at 3038 Arbutus St., sought to sell cannabis 220
metres from York House School's "Little School" against regulations
that require all dispensaries to be at least 300 metres from schools.

Wednesday afternoon, Herban Legends had an appeal hearing with the
city's board of variance.

The board unanimously refused to approve the Sahota family's
application for a licence to operate the dispensary.

According to public records, 3038 Arbutus is owned by 1072163 B.C.
Ltd., whose current director is listed as Lachman Singh Saggu.
Incorporation documents for the numbered firm include the address of
the Sahotas' Astoria Hotel at 769 East Hastings St. Saggu also goes by
Larry and is the Astoria's manager.

In a brief phone interview Wednesday, Saggu said the Sahotas were to
supply all funding for the dispensary while he helped them run it.

"My name (is) on the paper," he said. "I applied (for the) marijuana

For decades, the Sahotas have been criticized for allowing their
properties to fall into disrepair to the detriment of their low-income

The Sahotas also own the nearby Regent, Astoria and Cobalt singleroom
occupancy (SRO) hotels. Triville Enterprises, a real estate holding
company worth more than $130 million according to B.C. Assessment,
names Parkash Sahota as director and her siblings Pal and Gudyal as

Last month, Mayor Gregor Robertson called the conditions of the
Sahotas' Balmoral Hotel "disgusting" and said city staff were looking
at legal and regulatory tools to force the family to repair the
building and to enforce bylaws the Sahotas have ignored.

Robertson said there had been repeated building and safety violations,
adding later the city would "go after the slumlords that are letting
their buildings fall apart."

Sam Dharmapala, a former employee of the Sahotas now with the DTES SRO
Collaborative, wonders why the city would have allowed the family to
run a dispensary while it repeatedly fails to look after its other
business ventures.

His group organized a rally outside city hall ahead of the board of
variance hearing and urged the board not to approve the Sahotas'
cannabis licence.

Saggu attended the hearing, but declined to speak to media outside
city hall.

The Sahotas also own Sunshine Coast Cannabis Farms Inc., according to
a company summary. The firm is not in good standing and is in the
process of being dissolved.

In an email, city spokesman Jag Sandhu said there are 94 dispensaries
operating in the city. Of those, 63 are operating subject to
enforcement - meaning they've been ticketed or have injunctions filed
against them.
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