GlobalTV News breaks the story of council's in-camera meeting on the Olympic Village
Today, GlobalTV reported that Vancouver city council held an in-camera meeting on Tuesday evening to deal with an apparent financial crisis related to the Olympic Village. The report states that "council approved a special rescue plan, a four-part motion authorizing the city manager to find a developer who would buy up all the unsold units as a single block. The city manager has also been authorized to kick off a new marketing strategy that could see some serious price reductions, and the conversion of some of the unsold suites into rental housing just to get them off the market."
This backroom gathering of council on the Olympic Village was held by a political party who campaigned on the promise to "make wholesale changes" with regard to in-camera meetings. This is the same Vision Vancouver party who campaigned to "provide to the public as much information about the Olympic Village finances as possible," and to open up these discussions to the public.
Not much we can add here in this post. Watch the video. Read the quotes below from Gregor Robertson. Judge for yourself.
"We're calling for transparency so that the people of Vancouver can understand what the risks are and whether there are problems with the loan as it's been approved. We've heard all sorts of rumours and new information through the media this week. We'd like to hear that in public, in council, and understand what is exactly going on in this deal."
"Yesterday, he hinted at this in his inaugural speech when he said that, under his leadership, 'when the city uses your money, you have a right to know where it's being spent and what it's being used for.' Mike Magee, Mr. Robertson's long-time mentor and chief of staff, said the team is aiming to make a wholesale change to the city's current practices when it comes to in-camera meetings."
"As Mayor, my job is to protect the interests of Vancouver taxpayers. I’m focused on making the best business decisions possible as we move forward, and to do it openly." - statement in response to Olympic Village financing
"I campaigned on the promise that I would provide to the public as much information about the Olympic Village finances as possible."
"We know we've been dealt a very tough hand, but I believe we can meet our obligations."
"Vision Vancouver mayoral hopeful Gregor Robertson Thursday called for an emergency council session to allow public debate on reports the city will loan $100 million to developers of the troubled Olympic Village."
"Ladner's main rival for the mayor's seat, Gregor Robertson, seized on the issue and called for an emergency council meeting to reveal the details before next Saturday's civic elections, although councillors from Robertson's own party who are privy to the deal also refused to discuss details."
UPDATE: In a CKNW News interview City Manager Penny Ballem is denying an "emergency meeting" took place in-camera, this despite the fact Coun. Geoff Meggs admitted on camera that there had been a behind closed doors discussion on Tuesday.
For more on the history of the Olympic Village, read our feature series articles:
- Which way out of the Vancouver Olympic Village mess?
- Olympic Village decisions defined political differences
Watch Vancouver Sun Video: Is Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in political trouble?
We highly recommend this video conversation between City Hall reporter Jeff Lee and editor Fazil Mihlar where they discuss Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson's "summer of mishaps".
- post by Mike