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Update: Legion boss doubts Penticton branch would close for good

President Murray Grandy of the Penticton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion with a piece of memorabilia at the Martin Street location, the sale of which appears to be in jeopardy. - Western News file photo
President Murray Grandy of the Penticton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion with a piece of memorabilia at the Martin Street location, the sale of which appears to be in jeopardy.
— image credit: Western News file photo

Updated: April 8, 2014

Penticton’s branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is in jeopardy due to difficulty obtaining final approval to sell its building.

If a deal isn’t reached soon, the branch could close later this spring, said president Murray Grandy.

“I don’t see any point in being worried or concerned. If it closes, it closes. I’d hate to see that, but there’s nothing anyone can do about it,” he said.

Grandy explained a deal is still in place to sell the Martin Street property to local businessman and city councillor John Vassilaki, but the Legion’s B.C.-Yukon Command has the final say and is hung up on an arrangement to lease back part of the building to the branch.

Vassilaki said while command agreed after lengthy negotiations to a two-year lease-back, it hasn’t agreed to wording required by the bank that would only allow the Legion to terminate the lease if the branch becomes insolvent.

The offer to purchase is open until April 15, added Vassilaki, who remains optimistic.

B.C.-Yukon Command said in a statement that if the sale falls through, the building, assessed in 2013 at $790,300, will be put back on the market.

“We anticipate the branch will relocate to a smaller location more suitable to its needs once its current facility has been sold,” said acting executive director Laura Rallis.

“It is unlikely that the branch will have to cease operations in the long term as it has some equity in the building,” she added.

“Penticton is an extremely important branch as it serves over 700 members. We doubt those members will allow the branch to fail.”

Grandy, however, said if the building isn’t sold soon, the branch would likely close when it runs out of money in about six weeks, and ownership of the building would default to B.C.-Yukon Command.

“We’ll just keep going as long as we can,” he said.

If the provincial overseers don’t OK a deal with Vassilaki, members could appeal to the Legion’s headquarters in Ottawa, Grandy noted, “but they probably won’t overturn anything our B.C.-Yukon Command does.”

 

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