Friday, November 07, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


The Olympic Village mega-project has significant cost overruns and the City has come to the aid of the developer injecting $100 million of the taxpayers money into this project.

At an in-camera vote in October, Council unanimously voted to bail out the developer.

It has come to light through leaked information that this bail-out was done behind closed doors and without public approval.

It is clear that the leak must have come through a member of council and if the politician or politicians who leaked the information had any integrity they would clearly state on the record they are not in favour of secret deals of this nature being made behind closed doors.

COPE and Vision elected officials often lay claim to representing the average taxpayer in the City yet voted in favour of this secret deal. If anyone wants to know where the leak comes from, the spotlight automatically shines on Vision or COPE representatives since they would reap incredible political benefit with the election just mere days away.

The Vision/COPE/One-Green alliance smells victory and they suffered a setback when their Mayoral candidate, Gregor Robertson came under fire this past week when information was also leaked that he allegedly mis-used the public transit system.

NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner gained political traction regarding the Gregor Robertson transit fiasco and the Vision/COPE/One-Green municipal alliance had a smoking grenade at their disposal vis-a-vis the council bail-out for Olympic Village.

Council's decision to provide a $100 million give-away goes to the issues of transparency, public trust and accountability.

Unfortunately, Vision and COPE voted in favour of keeping this deal secret and if they were the party to leak this information--as many sources are alleging, obviously in order to gain political advantage over the NPA--this re-confirms to the public--the shadier side of politics. This is why there continues to be erosion of public trust and faith in our politicians.

While many people are struggling in society and what family or individual wouldn't gain from a financial give-away, however, the taxpaying public expects political leaders to be prudent fiscal managers of their money. At the very least, this council bail-out should not have occurred behind closed doors. Expenditures of this nature should be left up to the citizens to decide and this didn't happen.

Now this costly move for taxpayers is being played out in politically partisan ways and perhaps this is the time for citizens to carefully consider whether it's in the public interest (our interest) to embrace big-party political ways at the municipal level.

Jamie Lee Hamilton