News » Whistler

Lakeland investors looking for their money

Chateau Nova principals have disappeared, development proposal appears to have been a scam



Someone may have used Whistler’s name to rip off investors from the Lower Mainland Asian community.

Jamie Lee first told her story on BC-CTV in July, tearfully recalling how she sunk over $167,000 into a new development project dubbed the Lakelands at Green Lake.

Advertised as the last big development in Whistler, plans for the 113-hectare parcel of land on the northeast shore of Green Lake included a golf course, hotel, spa and an international school. Chateau Nova, the company behind the project, timed its proposal to coincide with the buildup to the 2010 Olympics.

But Chateau Nova never owned the property.

Drew Meredith, a long-time local realtor and former mayor of Whistler, remembers hearing about the development in 2005, when he was acting on behalf of the property owners.

“It was pretty sketchy from the get-go,” said Meredith.

The project had major zoning issues — the whole parcel is zoned for four single-family homes, not the massive development Chateau Nova was proposing. There was also the question of bed units, Whistler’s currency for development rights and part of the cap on development. The bed units for the proposed project did not exist.

But Reza Farkoush, a Vancouver immigration consultant who represented Chateau Nova, didn’t seem to be concerned about the bed cap when he spoke with a Pique reporter in April of 2005.

“We are not worried about that,” Farkoush said at the time.

Meredith said he dealt with a woman named Parvin Saadati, who kept extending options to purchase the land for almost two years. But she never actually closed on the property.

“She ended up basically flipping her right to purchase to some other people just prior to when she had to close, because she couldn’t put the deal together and she was unable to finance the transaction,” said Meredith.

Meredith said red flags went up when he was visited by a number of agencies and individuals who were looking for Saadati.

“I got the distinct impression that she was just burning people left, right and centre and that they were turning her in.”

So he wasn’t surprised to see the story appear on BC-CTV a few weeks ago.

The people who ended up purchasing the land are in no way affiliated with Chateau Nova or the Lakelands at Green Lake.