The City of Langford is in a holding pattern in its dealings with a biker gang clubhouse on Spencer Road.
Having filed a B.C. Supreme Court injunction earlier this month, the city is awaiting a response from the property’s owner, reported to be Pacific Coast Land Company Inc.
The injunction states that the property is zoned for office use, not for private club, fraternal lodge, club or clubhouse purposes and calls on the property owner and tenants to cease operations. It also states that the signage and high black fencing around the property do not meet the city’s zoning requirements.
In the past week, two large “41” signs that dominated the front of the controversial property have been painted over and are now plain white rectangles. The numbers were believed to signify that the property is being used by the Devil’s Army – referred to by the RCMP as a “puppet club” of the Hells Angels.
Lorne Fletcher, Langford’s manager of community safety and municipal enforcement, said there’s also the matter of renovations that may have been done to the structure.
“If they’ve done any building on the site, we need to be able to get in there and inspect it to make sure it’s up to code,” he said. He added that it’s well within the scope of a municipality’s jurisdiction to inspect buildings to ensure standards are upheld and any possible safety issues are addressed and that the city hasn’t been invited to do that inspection.
“Even if it was zoned for the intended purpose, which it is not, we’d still need to get in there and make sure there is enough parking, adequate bathroom facilities, proper food preparation areas if they’re going to be doing that, and ensure there aren’t any safety issues,” he said, referring to such aspects as fire exit accessibility and structural stability.
A stop work order recently posted on the property by the city has since been torn down.
“From our perspective, it’s just like any other development in Langford that doesn’t comply with the zoning,” said Mayor Stew Young. “Whether it’s legal activity or not that’s going on there, it’s not the appropriate use.”
Fletcher added it’s far too early to speculate on how this situation will play out, as it is dependent on the property owners’ response to the injunction. He said the company has 21 days from the May 1 filing of the injunction to respond, at which time the city can reassess their options under advice of their legal council.