City Hall

Officials with the City of Kelowna relied on "assumptions, conjecture, and inadmissable hearsay" to threaten a local mason with cancellation of his business licence, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.

A City of Kelowna official acted improperly when he told the owner of a masonry firm his business licence would be cancelled, a judge has ruled.

Greg Wise had no authority to tell Martin Weiss, owner of a Swamp Road property said by the city to be unsightly, last December that the licence would be cancelled, B.C. Supreme Court Judge Gordon Weatherill says.

"Mr. Wise did not have the authority to do so. He ought to have referred the matter to city council," Weatherill wrote in a judgement released Tuesday.

City officials had contended that Weiss was using the property in a way that did not comply with the terms of the business licence.

But the judge said the city officials used only "assumptions, conjecture, and inadmissible hearsay" to support that contention.

Weiss has had a business licence since 1995 and it was routinely renewed by the city before Wise, the city's business licensing manager, threatened cancellation last year.

"In my view, Mr. Wise's decision that the petitioner's business licence would not be renewed without Martin having notice or an opportunity to be heard was a breach of the most basic principles of procedural fairness," the judge wrote.

The judge ordered the city to renew Weiss' business licence. He also ordered the city to pay Weiss' legal bills.

Asked for comment Wednesday, Weiss said: "I have mixed feelings about this. I don't think it should ever have had to go to court, but it just shows the arrogance and high-handedness of the city.

"The city is so high on its self-assumed power, it doesn't know what it's allowed to do and what it's not allowed to do," Weiss said.

The Daily Courier has asked city officials for comment.