Come to lunch, and bring $25,000
MEET THE MAYOR: Condo king invites donations to Vision Vancouver at roundtable talk
Vancouver condo king Bob Rennie has invited some prominent professionals to donate about $25,000 per person to Vision Vancouver at a private “roundtable” discussion with Mayor Gregor Robertson Friday.
In an interview Thursday with The Province, Rennie said he doesn’t expect everyone at the Hotel Georgia lunch meeting to donate $25,000 to Vision.
Rennie said Robertson will attend, and fewer than 50 people were invited, “so you can get a chance to talk.”
“I wish everyone that will take my call will step up and give the party $25,000,” Rennie said. “I am not ashamed to say I am supporting Gregor Robertson. And I am prepared to tell not only developers, but the friends from different walks of life that will take my call, ‘Come and support Vision Vancouver.’”
Rennie said he is non-partisan, and has supported Premier Christy Clark. But he strongly believes Vision has the best blueprint for Vancouver’s future.
Vancouver’s economy and realestate market have remained solid in the tough financial conditions of recent years, while other cities fared much worse, according to Rennie.
On specific policies, Rennie was asked about NPA Coun. George Affleck’s recent promise to undo many of Robertson’s “Greenest City Action Plans” if the NPA were to regain power in November.
“The pandering to the side that doesn’t care for the planet is worse than the pandering to the side that does,” Rennie said, adding he believes most of Robertson’s policies are constructive. “I would not trade bike lanes for Syria’s problems.”
In terms of his framing of Friday’s meeting agenda to attendees, Rennie said: “Planning might be a word that I use, (as in) let’s talk about plans ahead, but this is not about real estate and planning.”
Robertson was asked to comment, but his office referred questions to Vision’s executive director, Stepan Vdovine. Vdovine noted that last week the party held a large fundraiser aimed at young professionals, with a ticket price of $20.
“The mayor and the Vision Vancouver team are honoured to enjoy strong support from a full cross-section of Vancouver residents, leaders and stakeholders, including community advocates, our local business community, and labour leaders,” Vdovine said in a statement.
A development professional with knowledge of Vancouver City Hall planning said that the “biggest and smartest” developers go to fundraisers for nearly all Vancouver political parties, but table fees tend to be about $2,500 to $3,000.
“I’ve never heard of a donation of $25,000 per person before,” the person said.
Affleck acknowledged the NPA receives significant funding from the real-estate industry and individuals, but said that for elected officials to attend Friday’s event could be “concerning.”
“The party itself can do what it wants, but if you see politicians walk in with developers, that could be concerning,” Affleck said, noting that five controversial developments will be considered in council next week.