Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Deplorable Inaction On Slum-Like Housing, A Sharp Contrast To New Westminster

Vancouver’s Sahota family with vast real estate holdings consisting of slum-like hotels and housing has been getting away with not complying with the city’s laws and ordinances governing such housing for more than 10 years.

And all of this under the watch of Mayor Gregor Robertson who has championed himself as being an advocate for the poor and disadvantaged.

But while Robertson fiddled the City of New Westminster dealt with the same issues of Sahota rental units in a forceful and direct manner.

One has to wonder why and ask why.

The holdings of the Sahota family for slumlord like housing is vast as first reported in the Globe and Mail.

“The Sahota family controls nearly 500, or about 16 per cent, of the roughly 3,000 privately held SRO  (single room occupancy hotels)units in the city’s stock. A large portion of Vancouver’s poorest residents live cheek-to-jowl in these rooming houses, many of which were built a century ago for single loggers and fishermen – blue-collar workers who adorn either side of the city’s official coat of arms.

Neither Gudy Sahota nor Pal Sahota − two of three elderly siblings who control the family’s real estate holdings worth an estimated $218-million − replied to an e-mailed request for comment. Gudy Sahota was reached briefly on the phone, but hung up when the caller identified herself as a reporter”.

And all of this happened while house prices and rentals are going through the roof in Vancouver – thereby giving no real opportunities for the poor living in Sahota accomodations to move elsewhere.

And it is the city’s  poor and downtrodden that are the hardest hit..

They live in ramshackle, flea-bag type of hotels.

The conditions are deplorable.

Toilets that don’t work. In the winter,  often tenants have no heat.

The police often are on call to settle fights between tenants that are drunk or high on drugs.

It is an ugly world.

And while the city has imposed all sorts of conditions on landlords trying to get them to fix serious problems it has done next to nothing by not enforcing them.

Instead the city has turned a blind eye to these deplorable conditions people are forced to live in.

Enter the Globe and Mail newspaper.

It began investigating the problems, the challenges and the tribulations of the people who live in these sub-standard places and the people who are supposed to be on top of things.

And that investigation revealed that a well-known Vancouver family was one of the city’s biggest slum landlords.

Meet the Sahota family of Vancouver and the  low-income residents facing their own crisis.

And under Robertson the city has ignored the way the Sahota’s do business dating back 10 years ago.

The Tyee, an influential newsletter, published a special investigative report about the city unwillingness  to deal with the Sahota’s real estate holdings – calling it: A City Soft On “Slumlords”.

But the Sahota’s ever eager to venture into new business opportunities tried to get permission to open a pot dispensary, which contravened city by-laws.

But it was rejected.


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