Friday, December 16, 2011

Mayor rings Bell with letter about lousy lights

Publicly, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is a rather placid fella.

So I found the tone of this Oct. 24 letter to Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell stern.

Bell is responsible for B.C. Pavilion Corporation, the provincial Crown corporation that operates B.C. Place Stadium. As part of the $563 million stadium renovation, Terry Fox Plaza was remade with Douglas Coupland's statues of the Canadian hero, forever heading west.

PavCo erected a giant video screen on the exterior of the stadium, angering area residents who won't tolerate bright lights flashing in their apartment windows. They were never consulted and are fighting back. PavCo used B.C. Place's provincial status under the B.C. Enterprise Corporation Act to bypass the city hall bureaucracy.

Not only did Robertson ask Bell to respect the city's sign bylaw, but he also asked PavCo to turn off the lights inside the stadium at night. PavCo has claimed that the stadium is more energy efficient than before the renovation, despite erecting so many video screens.

I obtained Robertson's letter via Freedom of Information. I am waiting for Bell's ministry to send me a copy of his reply, which apparently was sent Dec. 12 or 13.

Read my story here. See Robertson's letter below.

Vancouver Mayor's stern letter to Minister Responsible for PavCo

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jersey Girl also the Charter Chick?

Jobs and families. Premier Christy Clark's two favourite words. One thing is certain, she has given the powerful McLean family the job of flying her entourage.

I learned that Clark flew on eight trips during her first six months in office on Blackcomb Aviation, which is co-owned by the McLean Group. See my story here. The invoices and itineraries are below.

Premier Christy Clark's charters on a Liberal-friendly airline

Patriarch David McLean led the privatization of CN Rail and became its chairman in 1994. He is also a prominent B.C. Liberal Party fundraiser and donor. His Elections BC record shows he donated $209,707.50 since 2005. McLean was one of many supporters of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic bid. As owner of The Landing in Gastown, he was landlord of ICBC which sublet space to the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation. BidCorp. morphed into VANOC, expanded and moved into a city-owned complex in East Vancouver. (The Landing is where post-Olympic VANOC moved-in with the Twentyten Group, a marketing firm that also manages VANOC CEO John Furlong's speaking engagements.)

Premier Gordon Campbell had promised not to sell the people's railway. CN Rail bought BC Rail operations for $1 billion in 2003 in a suspect tendering process. Competing bidder Canadian Pacific Railway withdrew, calling the process unfair.

Son Sacha McLean is Blackcomb Aviation's CEO and donated use of the company's jets to Clark during her leadership campaign in early 2011, a fact initially reported by Sean Holman. McLean's other son Jason was an aide to Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien from 2000-2002, is a member of the Vancouver Police Board and became president of the Vancouver Board of Trade in 2010.

David McLean was expected to be among the witnesses called to testify in the B.C. Supreme Court corruption trial of Dave Basi and Bob Virk. The former B.C. Liberal ministerial assistants copped a plea bargain on Oct. 18, 2010 and the trial abruptly ended. Taxpayers were saddled with their $6 million legal bill, despite being convicted.

With a reliance on the McLean Group, why would Clark want to risk embarrassing political friends by ordering an inquiry into the sale of BC Rail? She has not changed her stance since the leadership campaign. An inquiry, to restore the integrity of government, is something that both Bill Tieleman and Alex Tsakumis wish would happen.

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