Business owner wants Evergreen compensation

Hong Lee said TransLink has told him he will not be receiving compensation for his business, which is in the way of the proposed Evergreen Line.  - GARY MCKENNA/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Hong Lee said TransLink has told him he will not be receiving compensation for his business, which is in the way of the proposed Evergreen Line.

When Hong Lee learned in 2007 that the Evergreen Line alignment ran right through the property where his business is located, he knew it was only a matter of time before he had to move.

What he didn’t realize, however, is that because he does not own the building where he operates his Jiffy Lube franchise, he would not be compensated for his trouble. Lee said he needs the money in order to start a new franchise elsewhere.

“It was shocking,” he said. “I can’t sleep. There is so much stress. My feeling now is desperate.”

Lee had cooperated with TransLink officials, providing financial statements and lease information and even attended several Evergreen Line open houses. Up until last month he was under the impression that he would be receiving compensation for his business, money he said he should be entitled to regardless of whether he owns the property.

Jiffy Lube Canada has offered him a new location, but at a cost of more than $150,000 in moving expenses and franchise fees, he said it is unlikely he will be able to start anew. After ten years of building his Clarke Road business, Lee said he could be left with nothing.

Lee, who used his life-savings to purchase the franchise when he first immigrated to Canada, was supposed to have vacated the premises at the end of June. But with nowhere go, he said he would need more time, and was hopeful some kind of resolution would be forthcoming.

“I have to live,” he said. “What can I do?”

A representative of the Ministry of Transportation told The Tri-City News that officials would be looking into the issue. To date, however, there has been no payout and no agreement between the government and the landlord has been signed.

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