Pubdate: Thu, 13 Jul 2017
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Nick Eagland
Page: 3


APPEAL DENIED: Family that owns Balmoral Hotel sought to sell cannabis
260 metres from school

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

Herban Legends, at 3038 Arbutus St., sought to sell cannabis 260
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 manager of the

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 single-room
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 that 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

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 - while 31 are not subject to enforcement.

Sandhu said 10 business licences have been issued so far, including
five for compassion clubs and five for medical marijuana-related use
business licences. Another two-dozen applications are under review.

Those applicants pay a flat rate preliminary development-permit fee as
well as a "standard area-based fee," along with $30,000 each year upon
obtaining a business licence, Sandhu said.

"Revenues will contribute to cost recovery for the additional time
spent by property use inspectors, licensing staff, development review
staff, police (and) fire inspectors in regulating this sector," he

Since April 29 last year, 42 dispensaries have complied with
regulations and closed, or no longer sell cannabis.
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