The city of Vancouver is seeking appropriation of two Sahota-owned slum buildings.
The move came after the Sahota family refused to sell two of the worst decrepit buildings – the Balmoral and Regent hotels.
Both were shut down by the city of Vancouver after years of mismanagement and refusal by the Sahota family to take of them.
They served as housing units for the poor and disadvantaged on Vancouver’s downtown eastside.
The threat by the city of Vancouver to appropriate the Sahota hotels came up earlier this year.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said this would happen unless the Sahota’s agreed to sell the two hotels to the city.
The poor conditions of many of the Sahota holdings have been a contentious issue for a long time for the city of Vancouver.
Many of the Sahota’s vast real estate holdings – valued at $218 million are located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, one of the poorest postal codes in Canada.
“The Sahota family controls nearly 500, or about 16 per cent, of the roughly 3,000 privately held SRO 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.”
And the hardest hit are the city’s poor and downtrodden.
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 city has imposed all sorts of conditions on landlords trying to force them to improve their buildings.
If not they face heavy fines.
And while that all sounds good – the reality is that for the most part the conditions are never enforced.
Enter the Globe and Mail newspaper.
And that investigation revealed that a well-known Vancouver family was one of the city’s biggest slum landlords.