Pro-pot pastor shifts services to porch

Brief standoff as bylaw officers attempt to measure tent on property.

Despite orders from the City of White Rock to shut down the Church of the Holy Smoke –  and frustration from the property owner who thinks stronger action should be taken – it will continue to operate, according to the man at the helm of the Marine Drive gathering place.

Prior to a brief but tense standoff Tuesday in front of his 14737 Marine Drive rental property, which included White Rock bylaw officers and several RCMP officers, Robin Douglas told Peace Arch News that he and supporters of his marijuana-centred church will no longer be gathering in the tent structure, instead moving the activities onto the home’s porch.

“We’re not having any gatherings in the tent, but we are having gatherings in my new office, which is on the porch of my house,” Douglas said. “We still have people stopping by and people coming in and celebrating with us.”

The tent is still standing in the yard, now housing his 1993 Cadillac, however, according to a notice delivered to Douglas last Friday from the city’s director of planning and development, it is still in contravention of city zoning bylaws due to setback requirements.

City bylaw officers were at the property Tuesday afternoon – along with White Rock RCMP officers and the property owner – attempting to measure the tent and yard.

When Douglas refused to allow White Rock officials access, RCMP officers threatened Douglas with arrest should he continue to obstruct the city workers from the yard.

Douglas eventually relented and allowed them on site, noting he was doing so “under duress.”

Exchanges between Douglas and his landlord – who would not give his name – were heated.

“I gave you a warning to leave this property last month, why are you still here?” the landlord shouted, referring to an eviction notice served in early June.

The landlord, who said he has owned the property since 1993 and began renting to Douglas last November, said he was surprised the situation has yet to be resolved.

“The City of White Rock can’t take care of him?” he said. “I’m totally surprised. They’re sending him all kinds of letters. Just put him in jail!”

Douglas moved his church operations out of the tent and onto the porch after the city ordered the tent be removed and operations ceased – with a deadline of July 31 – citing public safety and the property’s use as an assembly place was in contravention of city bylaws.

A city spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that the tent had not been removed, after Douglas advised officials that “our facility is now closed as of midnight tonight, Friday the 31st of July.”

Because the tent is being used as a workshop, the spokesperson said, “the public safety issues have been resolved with the cease of public-assembly use.”

A hearing is set with the province’s tenancy branch for Aug. 12 to address Douglas’ eviction notice. The landlord said if it is not resolved, he is “going straight to the ministry.”

Douglas told PAN Wednesday that his lawyer is planning to file an injunction against the city, and that his church supporters will continue to “worship God without fear of persecution.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Parallel crises: How COVID-19 has exacerbated the drug overdose emergency

Part 1: Surrey, White Rock officials say isolation, CERB, contributing to crisis

Pubs accused of ‘negligently’ serving alcohol before Surrey traffic crash

The case concerns an Aug. 2, 2015 single-vehicle crash

Surrey mayor says Newton needs more recreation facilities

Surrey council has approved the “Stage 2 Final Report” of the Newton Town Centre Plan

Surrey city staff hears restricting recovery homes to six clients won’t cut it

Corporate report notes there are more recovery homes in Surrey than in every other community in B.C. combined

Gravestones repaired at Surrey Centre Cemetery

Restoration now complete on seven pioneer grave markers vandalized in April

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Missing Fraser Valley man’s car found in Harrison

Michael Denham has been missing since June 27

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Most Read

l -->