VANCOUVER — A condo council on Vancouver's waterfront is named in a civil lawsuit over allegations it refused to lease space to a fish and chip restaurant called Moby Dick partly because of an offensive word in its name.
Mengfa International Resources alleges in its notice of claim that the condo council overseeing the commercial property it owns defied its own legal advice while opposing the opening of a Moby Dick franchise.
The lawsuit says when Mengfa attempted to lease the site to the franchisee, the association responded with a list of objections, including claims that the name of the restaurant contains an offensive word.
The statement of claim says the company and franchise operator have worked with the condo council since mid-July but they were unable to satisfy sign or renovation requirements, despite legal advice to the council that its demands violated B.C.'s Strata Property Act.
A street view of restaurant Moby Dick. (Google Maps)
Mengfa is asking the Supreme Court of British Columbia to either remove the current members of the condo council, appoint an administrator to handle the council's work or allow the lease to Moby Dick to proceed.
None of the allegations have been proven in court and the condo council has not yet filed a statement of defence.
Lawyers for the condo council couldn't be reached for comment.
Name could ruin council's image
The statement of claim says the council also refused to allow the lease because Moby Dick's signage and brand name would harm the council's image, allowing the restaurant to operate in the location would depreciate the value of its property and there would be increased litter and a potential for odour and fumes from the restaurant.
The lawsuit says an Asian-fusion restaurant business was operating in the property before Moby Dick attempted to take over the location.
The Moby Dick restaurant near the beach in White Rock, B.C., has won numerous people's choice and community awards since it opened in 1975.
Its website makes references to the great white whale named Moby Dick in Herman Melville's classic novel of the same name.
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