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Richmond, B.C. investigates ‘Beijing Mansion’ club on agricultural land reserve

Click to play video: 'Richmond mansion under ALR scrutiny for operating as social club'
Richmond mansion under ALR scrutiny for operating as social club
A Richmond mansion advertising itself as an "exclusive private members club" is getting the attention of the City of Richmond and the Agricultural Land Commission. Aaron McArthur tells us why – Jan 30, 2024

The City of Richmond has launched an investigation into a large property on No. 5 Road, marketed online as the “Beijing Mansion,” Vancouver’s “ultra-exclusive private members club.”

According to the municipality, the property is located on an agricultural land reserve, which means whatever goods and services stem from it must be agricultural-based.

Its bylaw teams joined the provincial Agricultural Land Commission’s enforcement branch in a visit there Tuesday to determine precisely what kind of operation is taking place there.

“You cannot just have a business on agricultural land,” said Richmond communications director Clay Adams in a Friday interview.

“It seems to be a club that is billing as being exclusive, has an online presence, but we have no licence application, we have no business license or any process for it to operate as that kind of institution, which you can’t do on agricultural land anyway.”

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Online, the Beijing Mansion states that its club is for “high-achievers and explorers” and that its unique Siheyuan property offers a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces for events such as “intimate dinner, a corporation presentation, a lavish wedding banquet, a Chinese-themed celebration, or a vibrant party.”

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In November, it hosted the annual Chinese Restaurant Awards with tables advertised at more than $2,800.

While the manager of the Beijing Mansion declined an on-camera interview Tuesday, over the phone, she told Global News that the club — at this stage — is strictly a “virtual private club.” It’s a test marketing strategy for a future development and under the agricultural land reserve rules they can host up to 10 events per year, Rae Kung said.

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Neighbours say they’ve had it with neglected property in one of Vancouver’s wealthiest neighbourhoods.

“I know that a lot of people misunderstood,” she said, adding that she runs the Chinese Restaurant Awards and appreciates the “beautiful architecture” of the property.

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“There is no commercial kitchen. It’s a house, it’s an event rental space if people ask.”

Kung said she was aware of the city inspection that would take place Tuesday.

Click to play video: 'Richmond ALR mega mansion listed as guesthouse on travel websites'
Richmond ALR mega mansion listed as guesthouse on travel websites

The City of Richmond has said it did find infractions on the property and is working with the owner on next steps, which could include stop-work orders or financial penalties.

“We’re not big on trying to issue fines and throw fines at people,” Adams said Friday. “Clearly if there is operation without a business licence they are subject to fines.

“If they’re operating without the requirements of the agricultural land, then the Agricultural Land Commission can also impose its own penalties.”

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