NPA says jobs are being squeezed out of Vancouver at an alarming rate
Less than a week after Mayor Gregor Robertson unveiled his economic strategy to attract new jobs to the city, it has been revealed the company he co-founded has moved their jobs out of Vancouver. This bit of news ends what has been nothing short of a disastrous week for the Vision Vancouver campaign.
In an ironic twist, the Mayor's juice company moved out of Vancouver and into the more tax friendly jurisdiction of Burnaby.
I can just see it now. Mayor Derek Corrigan publishes a photo in his campaign brochure of him cutting the ribbon at the Happy Planet Juice office opening. I'm sure the thought has already crossed his mind...given that both Robertson and Corrigan have never seen eye-to-eye on a number of issues.
According to Mackin:
Mayor Gregor Robertson declared the City of Vancouver a "fantastic place to do business" in a Vancouver Economic Commission promotional video. But the organic juice company he cofounded and owns shares in and whose product labels bear his signature migrated to the suburbs a year after the Winter Olympics.
Maheb Nathoo, chief executive of Happy Planet's majority shareholder Earth's Own Food Company, said Happy Planet's office in an East Vancouver warehouse at 950 Powell St. became "redundant," so it closed last February. Happy Planet is now headquartered with Earth's Own in an office building at 4190 Lougheed Highway in Burnaby.
He goes on to write:
Robertson introduced himself Tuesday at a Vision Vancouver fundraiser as a former small business owner. Robertson's nomination papers for the 2011 election indicate he has shares in Happy Planet Foods Ltd., Treedom Ventures Ltd., Ohana Partners Inc. and Glen Valley Organic Farm Cooperative.
One of Happy Planet's earliest investors was Renewal Partners, the venture capital fund run by Joel Solomon and Carol Newell. Solomon is a financial contributor to Vision Vancouver and an adviser to the mayor.
As you can imagine, Gregor is not likely to be trumpeting job creation in Burnaby as one of the key accomplishments of his term in office. That's why he threw a PR expert in front of Mackin to explain exactly what happened.
Requests to city hall and the Vision Vancouver campaign office for an interview with Robertson were not fulfilled. "In terms of his relationship with Happy Planet and Earth's Own, he has absolutely zero operational, administrative or any kind of decision-making power, authority or role," said Vision Vancouver campaign communications director Marcella Munro.
The NPA think they might have found yet another reason to go on the attack this week. Small business owners and council candidates George Affleck and Mike Klassen pointed out the irony of the Mayor's juice company leaving the city.
In a news release sent to the media, Affleck states:
Clearly Robertson and Happy Planet discovered that Vancouver is not open for business. They moved their head office to Burnaby. If our own mayor can't keep his own business in Vancouver, how does he expect small businesses like mine to stay in Vancouver?
The NPA points out that business in Vancouver hasn't been exactly thriving of late:
In the past few years, Surrey has had more than 5,000 new business licenses, Langley more than 4,000 and Vancouver had just 46....According to the Fair Tax Coalition, only ONE business bought land and opened up in Vancouver last year. Klassen and Affleck say that is an embarrassment.
It's been a long week for the Vision team. But they should think more positively. At least tomorrow is Saturday.