Sunday, July 06, 2008
Dots, dots, B.C. dots to connect
The following presentation is lengthy but it's good. A reader has generously contributed this research on the connections between the players in VANOC and BCRail (an oversimplification on my part). The research is presented unverified, exactly as received, for the benefit of others. Send your comments. Very special thanks to the unknown person who gathered and sorted all this information for us. - BC Mary.
Kudo's to 'anonymous' nailing these 3 comments and the detailed research linking tge 'dirty dots' the real estate hidden agenda to the BC Rail deal - right on the $$$$$$!!! Bring it on!!
Rah, rah, Mary for posting it ALL for our digestion. The feasting at the trough, at British Columbians' expense is about to end.
WHERE . . . pray tell, have the MSM been on these linkages? SHAME!
My brain sparked and synapsed as I digested the 3 masterful comments posted by Anonymous, linking Campbell's gang to REAL ESTATE/BC RAIL & the key link in their game: the VANOC: "RE: Plundering BC: Olympics, The Bid Corp, and Special Interests". . . BINGO . . . . a light went on . . . .
Mary, do you recall the international ski resort planned for the Callaghan Valley/Powder Mtn. area that has been in the news over the years?
As I remember,the winning proponent from the BC Govt's legal proposal call for this world class resort, was a BC company owned by a mother & daughter. After the company won the rights to build the ski resort in the Callaghan Valley, there was a stream of coverage in the MSmedia from the scandal after the sudden derailment of the company's rights by former Premier VanderZalm for a friend; apparently also involving some senior, land bureaucrats and their pals. There were many high profile political names involved in the scandal. Why is this the only big ski resort being blocked?
I'd read that the company has Canadian Champion Downhiller & Crazy Canuck, Todd Brooker involved; requested no taxpayers $$$$ - (how refreshing ); and that the winner had gone 'by the book' with due process, wading through tons of Govt. red tape, finally succeeding only to be shoved out of their position, when the Zalm hit the Prem's office leaving a wake of destruction & scandal in his path. Wasn't the guy forced out of Office????
What happened to the winning proponent's ski resort?
Recently, new information suddenly surfaced on this lengthy scandal in some newspaper articles. It was
reported that the original proponents have never given up fighting a battle for their rights against alleged govt. corruption at the highest levels. I read stories in both "Business in Vancouver" and the "Whistler Pique" a few months ago, reporting new, somewhat shocking, information on this case which involves VANOC and their Callaghan Valley Nordic Venue. (BTW: Where are the MSM media? None of the Sun/Province big, past articles on this scandal are available, since Canwest bought these papers they sanitized the archives of all their papers. Guess it doesn't fit the agenda LOL)
The articles said that the RCMP had been involved in an investigation on this ski resort scandal, at the same time that Concert Properties led Bid Committee in preparing to submit their bid to the IOC in Prague - but was suddenly stopped - hmmmmm; that the RCMP had reopened the file in 2007, with new conflict of interest allegations linking big GOVT./VANOC "players!".
I'll try to find the articles on the net & post them . . unless you and your detective team beats me to it! LOL
Didn't the proponent's 'derailment'' happen at the same time (1986/87)as Premier Zalm orchestrated the sweet Expo land deal with Li Ka-Shing, as was detailed in the posted comments?
As you allude to in your intro, Mary, the Bid 'bunch morphed into VANOC; with Poole/ Podmore (read: Concert Properties) at the helm 'pooled' with Campbell's club members in key positions on the Board & various Committees; as Anonymous detailed.
I recall, a big Natonal CTV story, I believe by Terry Milewski, which focused on this ski resort scandal and the alleged misconduct, alluding to the real estate aspects/ramifications lurking with the 2010 Olympic Bid interests.
Wow - does the scenario of this scandal ring true to what was just posted by Anonymous????? It seems to fit like a glove.
Anonymous further posted:
"As the District of Squamish proceeds, there will be no shortage of developers wanting to exploit the potential. B.C.'s biggest players, such as Concert Properties and Concord Pacific, may find such an opportunity irresistible on the eve of the 2010 Olympics.
Executives with both companies were huge supporters of the Olympic bid. Concert Properties chairman Jack Poole is now chair of the organizing committee that is staging the 2010 Winter Games."
After reading the 3 comments with the players etc., I started pondering:
Is it a coincidence that the Callaghan Valley is the location where VANOC mucky mucks, with the help of BC Govt. land bureaucrats, chose to plunk the most costly of all taxpayer funded Venues: the Nordic Venue and Legacy trails - cost overruns and all? WHO is benefiting here?
If the ski resort had not been derailed through political shenanigans wouldn't the taxpayers have saved millions of $$$$ in the Callaghan Valley? Wouldn't it have been a huge asset if all things were kosher???? What's going on here?
So as the Raid on the Leg/BC Rail scandal unfolds, along with all of the other dirty 'deals' carried out behind closed doors . . . the name of the game with the insiders at the Campbell 'Club' is: 'Let's just keep it all in the Family!'
E.g. a quote from the BCIT website:
"During the bid for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, David Podmore, Concert Properties, led the Venue Development team through preliminary planning for more than $600 million in new infrastructure. He also volunteered his personal time to chair the successful Vote Yes Campaign urging Vancouver voters to support the Bid in a plebiscite. (Hmmmmm - nothing like "volunteering one's time to assist one's company's vested interests - The 3 comments above say that Concert bid on venues?!!!! Something smells in Denmark . . .
Recent media articles on lobbyist scandals have reported that Premier Campbell's former Dep. Min, Ken Dobell, sits on VANOC, THE LEGACIES NOW COMMITTEE, which would include the Callaghan Valley Nordic Venue, along with many other fingers in many other pies . . . what an incestuous mess.
"Dots, dots, B.C. dots to connect . . ." it's all coming into focus for a lot of us.
Thanks for your huge diligent work here, BC Mary - you have created a vortex of powerful information.
The Sea-to-Sky corridor will be seeing more residential development in the next few years as the Squamish Nation recently exercised an option to buy a large parcel of land near Porteau Cove on which it plans to build 1,000 homes.
The property deal was part of a land-swap negotiated by BC Rail, the provincial government and the Squamish Nation.
A master planned community by Concord Pacific and The Squamish Nation.
The Porteau Cove Development is located South of Porteau Cove Provincial Park overlooking beautiful Howe Sound on the Sea To Sky corridor. The site is approximately 1,177 acres in size and is bisected by the Sea To Sky highway.
an article below from the straight.com may connect a few more dots.
May 31, 2007
Developers are the Games’ real winners
By Donald Gutstein
A former developer himself, Premier Gordon Campbell holds the purse strings to an Olympic-size sweepstakes payout.
The 2010 Olympics were still a gleam in Jack Poole's eye when he addressed a roomful of real-estate developers in the spring of 2002. Vancouver had been shortlisted for the Games, but it would be more than a year until the winning city was chosen.
The outcome of the race to win the Games didn't seem to matter to Poole, who headed the 2010 Vancouver Bid Corporation. Western Investor editor Frank O'Brien sat in on the talk and later editorialized that, according to Poole, "the real purpose of the 2010 Olympic bid is to seduce the provincial and federal governments and long-suffering taxpayers into footing a billion-dollar bill to pave the path for future real estate sales."
Indeed this was Poole's opinion. "If the Olympic bid wasn't happening," he told the developers, "we would have to invent something." Long-time developer Poole had it right. The Olympics are about real estate.
To make his case, Poole could point to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. A Sports Illustrated exposé of these Games described how a blizzard of federal money–$1.5 billion–enriched already wealthy developers and ski-resort owners.
B.C. premier Gordon Campbell knows well how taxpayers subsidize developers. As executive assistant to Vancouver mayor Art Phillips in the 1970s, he was involved in the lengthy negotiations between the city and real-estate giant Marathon Realty regarding the fate of the company's massive land holdings on the north side of False Creek.
The Phillips-led council rezoned the land from industrial to comprehensive development, boosting its value enormously.
Campbell left City Hall to become a development officer for Marathon Realty. Campbell and Marathon decided not to proceed with the development because the economy was tanking. The Bill Bennett government conveniently came forward with plans for a stadium. Campbell was all smiles when he announced that Marathon would be glad to sell the land to the province at a good price. It was still worth three times as much as its value before the city rezoning.
Campbell moved on once again. This time he started his own development company and bought several properties across the street from the stadium location. He boasted that he got the property at a rock-bottom price before others became aware of what the stadium would do to land values. He built a hotel that was completed at about the same time as the stadium.
Twenty years later, Campbell holds the Olympic purse strings, and as Poole pointed out, it's payday for developers.
Some developers benefited handsomely from taxpayer investment in the $2-billion Canada Line and the $800-million Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre expansion. But the main vehicle for creating developer wealth is the $2-billion (including future debt-servicing costs) investment for traffic improvements between Vancouver and Whistler. True, some of this money would be spent on the Sea-to-Sky Highway even if there were no Olympics. But this work was fast-tracked, meaning that projects in other B.C. regions were shelved.
In urban land economics, they say that the purpose of transportation is to connect land uses and make them more accessible and valuable. Think of the boom in real-estate values in Vancouver's Main-Cambie corridor after the taxpayer-financed Cambie Street Bridge went in.
During 2002, as Poole and the bid corporation prepared their final proposal, the provincial government was studying various options for improving the link between Vancouver and Squamish. As well as looking at major upgrades to the existing highway, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Highways reviewed possible routes through the Capilano, Seymour, and Indian river valleys. These alternatives would cost more–from 50 percent to 100 percent more–but the result would be a safer, faster ride.
But these alternative routes went largely over Crown land. How could they help future real-estate sales?
The ministry evaluated all aspects of the routes. One factor leapt off the page: "developable land accessed". Upgrading 99 North was ranked five out of five for this factor, with five being the best, or the most. The other options received a score of one out of five.
One area with great "developable land" potential was Britannia Beach, but its ownership was in limbo. West Vancouver investors purchased the Britannia Mine site and 4,000 surrounding hectares in 1989. They struggled from one failed attempt to another to find a way to clean up the site and turn a profit.
Then along came the Olympics, and Britannia Beach's fortunes changed overnight. Vancouver developer Rob Macdonald came out the big winner. He's a strong Gordon Campbell supporter, having donated nearly $100,000 to the Liberals since they won the 2001 election. Macdonald purchased the offshore company that held a mortgage on the property and pushed for a speedy resolution of the ownership situation. A month after Vancouver was awarded the Games and the Campbell government chose the Sea-to-Sky Highway route, the B.C. Supreme Court turned the property over to Macdonald for an undisclosed amount.
If the Vancouver-Squamish connection had gone inland, Macdonald's newly acquired property would be worthless. Instead, the highway would go right by his front door.
Macdonald donated more than 90 percent of the land to the province. This was steep slopes that were useless for development and contained "some of the most contaminated land in North America", according to then–Sierra Legal Defence researcher Mitch Anderson. Let the taxpayers assume responsibility for the cleanup. Macdonald also agreed to contribute a levy of $1.75 million toward remedial work.
Macdonald kept 202 hectares of high-value land for residential and commercial development. He would get further assistance from taxpayers in the form of $27 million for a plant to treat polluted water from the mine, another $99 million for the province to clean up contamination of the lands it got from Macdonald, and millions more from Natural Resources Canada for a visitor centre and mining museum, boosting the value of Macdonald's commercial property.
The Squamish First Nation was another big winner in the Jack Poole sweepstakes. In a complicated land swap in 2000, the First Nation ended up with an option to buy land from BC Rail at Porteau Cove in order to create a new reserve and build houses for band members. This had nothing to do with Olympics or highway improvements.
Porteau Cove is one of the very few developable sites between Vancouver and Squamish, a 500-hectare strip on the shores of Howe Sound running south from Porteau Cove Provincial Park to Deek's Creek.
Developers eyed this land for decades, but it was owned by BC Rail and not for sale. Then along came the Olympics with their highway upgrade, and the land skyrocketed in value. It was now too valuable for band housing. In 2004, the band exercised its option to purchase the land for a reported $12 million. It then signed a deal with Concord Pacific Developments to develop 1,400 homes. Interestingly, two former chairs of Concord Pacific were among the developers on the board of the 2010 bid corporation, along with Poole.
The lots are marketed as being just 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver via the new Sea-to-Sky Highway. If the venture earns just $50,000 for each lot, after putting in roads, sewers, water lines, and public amenities, that's still a profit of about $58 million to be split between the band and the developer. For its part, the band says it plans to invest the profits in housing and job creation for band members–elsewhere, of course. In Concord Pacific's case, some of the profits will likely flow back to its Hong Kong owners.
Meanwhile, up in Squamish, former UBC president David Strangway's dream for Canada's first privately owned secular university would likely still be languishing on the drawing board without the Olympics and the Sea-to-Sky Highway improvements.
When the decision to award the Games to Vancouver was announced, university project leader Peter Ufford said it "will help us in marketing the location of the university", adding that "it will help us with our real-estate sales." Because the university's business plan depends on selling 960 units of market housing, this was good news indeed. To some extent, Ufford could thank his own efforts. He was yet one more marketer on the board of the 2010 bid corporation. He was also a governor of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
In less than a year, Ufford sold the first 19-hectare parcel to a local developer to build and sell 200 housing units. With building lots listing for $290,000 and houses ranging in price from $430,000 to $1.2 million in the immediate vicinity, that's a big boost to the university's fortunes.
Strangway says the university is being built without public money. If he means no public money has been invested directly in the construction of the university, he's probably right. But, like that of Macdonald at Britannia Beach and the Squamish First Nation and Concord Pacific at Porteau Cove, his land would be worth a lot less without the support of B.C.'s long-suffering taxpayers.
Your link didn't work properly for me but by accessing only the introductory Turtle Island segment I believe that the discussion is focused entirely on Residential Schools and the many issues arising from that.
Nice-looking format and good discussion ... but for us at The Legislature Raids (a HUGE topic in itself) it would mean branching off down a side-road and, right now, we desperately need to stay focused on the upcoming trial.
I hope you'll stay with us as we get this particular sorry piece of B.C. history figured out.
Posted: Sat Apr 24, 2004 3:10 am Post subject: UBCIC Critical of Proposed merger of BC Rail with CN Rail
Commissioner of Competition
Competition Bureau, Industry Canada
21st Floor, 50 Victoria Street
Hull, Quebec K1A 0C9
Facsimile: (819) 953-5013
April 23, 2004
Attention: Sheridan Scott, Commissioner of Competition
Dear Commissioner Scott:
Re: Proposed merger of BC Rail with CN Rail
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is concerned that the province
of B.C. may have willfully mislead or withheld information from the
Competition Bureau regarding the proposed merger of BC Rail and CN Rail.
Instead of meaningfully addressing its fiduciary legal obligations to
Indigenous Peoples, the government of B.C. has engaged in fraud and
deceit: details of the deal between B.C. and CN Rail (the
“Revitalization Agreement”) were kept secret, while the province gave
assurances that no Aboriginal Title or Rights would be impacted by the
Agreement. These assurances are blatant lies. Recently leaked portions
of the Revitalization Agreement indicate that the Agreement is for up to
a period of 900 years, and that B.C. may transfer Crown Lands (where
Aboriginal Title continues to exist and has not been ceded or otherwise
addressed) to CN Rail for $1.00 (one dollar).
We wish to draw your urgent attention to information that the
Competition Bureau is bound to consider in rendering a decision on
whether or not to approve the proposed merger (de facto sale) of BC Rail
and CN Rail:
a) Aboriginal Title and Rights exist along the BC Rail corridor, and are
constitutionally protected under s. 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982;
b) The BC Rail line and other operations run directly through the
reserve lands of twenty-five Indigenous communities in British Columbia;
c) The province of B.C. has legal fiduciary obligations to meaningfully
consult with Aboriginal Peoples prior to undertaking or authorizing land
transactions that will impact Aboriginal Title and Rights;
d) Indigenous Peoples and communities along the BC Rail corridor will be
severely and negatively impacted by this transaction;
e) The province of B.C. has not meaningfully consulted with Aboriginal
Peoples about the proposed merger (sale) of BC Rail to CN Rail, and
instead has engaged in fraud and deceit with the aim of withholding the
details of the agreement, and its full impact, from Indigenous Peoples;
f) The province of B.C. is not in a legal position to enter or complete
this transaction without engaging in good faith consultations with
Below, we set out further information regarding governments’ legal
obligations to Indigenous Peoples, and why we believe the Competition
Bureau must consider these facts prior to rendering a decision.
A. Aboriginal Title and Rights and Lack of Meaningful Consultation
The BC Rail corridor and rail bed are on Aboriginal Title Lands, and
it’s operations impact Aboriginal Rights. Both Canada and the province
of B.C. have fiduciary obligations to Indigenous Peoples regarding
Aboriginal Title and Rights in the BC Rail corridor which have not been
The province alleges that there are no Aboriginal Title or Rights issues
raised by this transaction, and therefore no duty to consult with, nor
to meaningfully address and accommodate Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
The province argues that there is no need to consult about the BCR/CNR
transfer because there is no “new” interest being created, merely the
continuation of an existing use. This is not a legally correct position.
The long-term lease (for a period of up to 900 years) transfers
effective ownership and control of the rail bed and rail line from B.C.
to CN Rail, and a transfer of this magnitude triggers a legal obligation
to consult. Any purported transfer of Aboriginal Title lands requires
the consent of Indigenous Peoples.
Indigenous communities who live alongside the BC Rail line have their
rights impacted daily, the building and on-going operation of the rail
line continue to impact upon Aboriginal Title and Rights and the use
that Indigenous Peoples can make of Aboriginal Title lands. A transfer
of effective ownership and operation of BC Rail from the provincial
Crown to a private corporation engages issues relating to fiduciary
obligations over the ongoing operation. Indigenous communities along the
BC Rail corridor adamantly oppose the transfer on their assessment that
this transfer will result in the violation of their Aboriginal Title and
Rights. This Indigenous opposition has been ignored, at the same time
that the Aboriginal Title and Rights impacts of this transfer have been
The Supreme Court of Canada has interpreted the constitutional
protection afforded to Indigenous Peoples rights under s. 35(1) of the
Constitution Act, 1982 and has said that meaningful and good faith
consultation is required where governments take actions that will impact
upon Aboriginal Title and Rights: Delgamuukw v. B.C. The
Supreme Court has also said that Aboriginal Title includes the right to
choose to what uses these lands can be put. Where a transaction will
significantly impact the Aboriginal Title of Indigenous Peoples, as this
transaction will do, the consent of Indigenous Peoples is required.
In Haida Nation v. Weyerhaeuser, the Haida Nation challenged the transfer and renewal of an existing Tree Farm Licence. The B.C.
Court of Appeal held that there was an enforceable consultation duty on
transfers or renewals of existing interests if they might impact upon
Aboriginal Title or Rights. The Haida and Taku River Tlingit v.
Ringstad cases clearly found a consultation duty on government prior to the proof of Aboriginal Title and Rights in court. Subsequent to the Haida and Taku decisions, the issue of whether government can approve transfers of corporations, without consultation, where Aboriginal Title and Rights will be impacted was considered in Gitksan and other First Nations v. B.C. (Minister of Forests), where the B.C. Supreme Court ordered government to engage in good faith consultations with the aim of seeking “workable accommodations” of the Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
There has been no consultation with Indigenous Peoples. Instead, the
province has acted in bad faith by keeping the details of this Agreement
secret from Indigenous Peoples.
B. Interests in Reserve Lands
Where BC Rail operates on rights-of-way running through reserve lands
there are significant questions regarding the legality of B.C.’s
proposed transfer or long-term lease of these rights-of-way. The wording
of the right-of-way grants may prevent this transfer of effective
control and usage. The federal government must approve these transfers
as they hold reserve lands in trust for Indigenous Peoples, and the
consent of Indigenous Peoples is required.
As the full contents of the Revitalization Agreement have been kept
secret we cannot comment on the full impact, but it is likely that
conditions of the grants creating the province’s rights-of-way may
prevent a transfer of the nature contemplated by the Revitalization
Agreement. This issue affects interests in reserve lands, directly
engages federal fiduciary obligations, and must be addressed prior to
approval by the Competition Bureau.
C. Competition Bureau’s Legal Obligation to Consider government’s
failure to consult:
The UBCIC is concerned that the province of B.C. may have mislead the
Competition Bureau by claiming an exclusive right to transfer its
interests in BC Rail without first addressing the constitutionally
protected rights of Indigenous Peoples. In making the decision of
whether or not to approve the merger (transfer) of BC Rail to CN Rail
the Competition Bureau is under an obligation to inquire into the full
extent of governments’ consultations with Indigenous Peoples.
The Supreme Court of Canada has found that federally-created tribunals
must consider whether or not government has fulfilled their fiduciary
legal obligations to Indigenous Peoples in rendering their decisions. In
Quebec (A.G.) and Grand Council of the Crees v. Canada (N.E.B.)
<#_ftn5> the Supreme Court said that the National Energy Board “must
exercise its decision-making function, including the interpretation and
application of its governing legislation, in accordance with the
dictates of the Constitution, including s. 35(1) of the Constitution
The constitutional rights of Indigenous Peoples must be addressed. In
the absence of evidence of consultation this transaction cannot be
approved. There has been no consultation; Instead, the province of B.C.
willfully mislead and lied to Indigenous Peoples about this transaction.
The Competition Bureau must be mindful of existing constitutional rights
and consider the privatization deal from the perspective of the impact
that it will have on Aboriginal Title and Rights. Absent proof of
government’s fulfillment of its legal obligations to Indigenous Peoples,
this merger (transfer) cannot be approved.
The UBCIC recommends that:
1) The Competition Bureau require both the federal and provincial
governments to show evidence that they fully and meaningfully consulted
with Indigenous Peoples about the impact of this Agreement on Aboriginal
Title, Rights and interests in reserve lands including a full and complete disclosure of the details of the transactions, so that Indigenous Peoples can fully assess its impact;
2) The Competition Bureau advise the province that it considers the
application incomplete absent evidence of full, meaningful, and good
faith consultations with Indigenous Peoples, including a full disclosure
of all details of the agreement; and
3) That the Competition Bureau undertake a full public inquiry about
this matter, or request that the Competition Tribunal do so. Hearings
should be held in the Indigenous communities along the BC Rail corridor
whose Aboriginal Title, Rights and interests in reserves lands will be
directly and significantly affected.
The Competition Bureau is under a legal duty to refuse to approve this
transaction absent evidence that the federal and provincial governments
have fulfilled their fiduciary obligation to consult with Indigenous
Peoples. That consultation has not occurred. We urge the Competition
Bureau to hold the federal and provincial governments to account for
their failure to address the Aboriginal Title and Rights impacted by the
BC Rail/CN Rail deal.
We look forward to hearing from you how the Competition Bureau is
considering and addressing the constitutional rights of Indigenous
Peoples in its assessment of the BC Rail/CN Rail transaction. We would
be pleased to provide you with further information if this would be of
Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs
[Original signed by Chief Stewart Phillip]
Chief Stewart Phillip
C.C.: Union of BC Indian Chiefs’ Chiefs Council
First Nations Summit, Task Group
Vice-Chief Shawn Atleo, Assembly of First Nations, BC Region
National Chief Phil Fontaine, Assembly of First Nations, Ottawa
Honourable Lucienne Robillard
Minister of Industry
11th Floor, CD Howe Building
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5 Facsimile: (613) 992-0302
Thomas D’Arcy McGee Building
90 Sparks Street, Suite 600
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5B4 Facsimile: (613) 957-3170
Rereading the detail,I ended up 'boggled' thinking/questioning all the 'dots':
hmmmm . . . the named "players" took on new meaning with all we are learning in the BC Raid on the Leg/BC Rail scandal and in the slew of conflict of interests, apparently involved in the Callaghan Valley/Powder Mtn. ski resort 'derailment'; certainly all in context with the Anonymous comments surrounding insider dealings and WHO is connected to WHOM in the BC Govt. and VANOC - sick!
- a former AG lawyer linked to the proponent's case? . . . what was his involvement in the Ministry of Lands then & now?
- several highly placed BC Govt. land bureaucrats/former ski coordinator named? - what were their roles back when the proponent won the rights to the ski resort now directly involved with the Callaghan Valley?
- the private Nordic ski operator, Brad Sills? How & WHO in Govt. allowed this private interest into the Callaghan V. in the midst of all the litigation, as he cheered on the Nordic Venue . . . in a position to directly benefit from Millions of taxpayers $$$$$$ funneled into the Nordic Venue in the Callaghan along with all of the taxpayer funded Legacy trails????? Was there ever a proposal call for Nordic skiing in the Callaghan????? This was stunning info!!! Games indeed!
- and none other than former Premier VanderZalm Dep. Minister, David Emerson, the Fed. Minister responsible for the Olympics who worked closely with VANOC, up until a few days ago until he was named in the Kinsella (chief Campbell strategist - huh!) ongoing lobbyist scandal????. . . what was his role in this scandal?
Oh man, what 'powder keg' of information do the RCMP sit on?!!
What is the real story here? What do the Powder Mountain Resorts proponents know to persist this long????? Oh to be in their minds . . .
. . . and once again, where is the MSM . . . oh yes, they are now sponsors of VANOC'S! lol.
Business in Vancouver August 14-20, 2007; Issue 929
Powder Mountain ski resort controversy exhumed in lead-up to 2010 Olympics - West Vancouver mother/daughter duo hoping RCMP investigation will get to bottom of Callaghan Valley dispute
2010 Gold Rush
130 weeks until opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics
An Expo 86-era scandal may live again on the road to 2010.
The RCMP is reviewing new evidence surrounding the aborted Powder Mountain ski resort in the Callaghan Valley near Whistler.
Proponents Nan and Dianne Hartwick, a mother-daughter West Vancouver duo, hope RCMP will investigate how and why the Callaghan is becoming a $120 million, taxpayer-funded Nordic sports venue for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
RCMP Commercial Crimes Insp. Kevin deBruyckere confirmed that a review is underway to determine whether to launch an investigation.
“We’re going to the wall on this,” said Dianne Hartwick, “because we know that project was stolen from us.”
Hartwick-owned Powder Mountain Resorts won a 1985 public call for proposals and gained approval in principle from government. Forests and Lands Minister Jack Kempf claimed Premier Bill Vander Zalm told him in 1987 to “cease and desist” with the Hartwicks and favour Callaghan Resorts Inc., which was backed by ex-Social Credit attorney general Les Peterson.
The B.C. Court of Appeal refused to overturn the B.C. Supreme Court’s 1999 dismissal of the Hartwicks’ breach of contract and abuse of office lawsuit. A special prosecutor’s criminal investigation was halted in 2003, just three weeks before Vancouver was elected 2010 host at the International Olympic Committee session in Prague. Because of insufficient evidence, no charges were laid.
The Hartwicks had visions of the Callaghan Valley becoming the sequel to Whistler. It’s remained an under-promoted playground for cross-country skiers and snowmobilers. Brad Sills’ Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventures opened a Nordic lodge there in 1998, just in time for the Canadian Olympic Committee’s selection of the Vancouver-Whistler bid over proposals from Calgary and Quebec City. Sills was an early campaigner for Olympic ski jumping, cross-country skiing, biathlon and Nordic combined to be held in the Callaghan.
Critics said West Vancouver’s Cypress Bowl could’ve been 2010’s temporary Nordic site for much less. The Callaghan won’t displace Calgary as the national training centre, but it could someday be what Cypress can’t be: a four-season destination resort with all the amenities enjoyed up the road in Whistler. The Hartwicks haven’t given up their dream. They claim backing from 75 private investors. Former Olympic downhill skier Todd Brooker is their vice-president of resort development. “We’re not against the Olympics; we’re against what has happened,” Dianne Hartwick said.
Where are they now
Who were the players in the Powder Mountain saga in the 1980s and where are they now?
Nan and Dianne Hartwick: Then: mother and daughter duo active in real estate with Social Credit party connections. Had provincial government approval to turn Powder Mountain in the Callaghan Valley into a ski resort until Premier Bill Vander Zalm intervened on behalf of a former attorney general. Now: still trying.
Bill Vander Zalm: Then: Social Credit B.C. premier from 1986 to 1991. Resigned after Fantasy Gardens conflict of interest affair. Now: retired.
Jack Kempf: Then: maverick Social Credit MLA for Omineca. Appointed lands minister by then-premier Bill Bennett in 1986 and assumed the same role in Vander Zalm’s cabinet until he was fired in 1987 over a travel expenses scandal. Died July 1, 2003.
David Emerson: Then: Vander Zalm’s deputy minister. Now: federal Conservative minister responsible for the 2010 Games.
Colin McIver: Then: attorney general’s ministry lawyer. Now: partner with Fraser Milner Casgrain. Represented VANOC in Callaghan Valley Nordic venue development.
Jack Hall: Then: Burnaby regional land office director. Later became vice-president of development and marketing for Land and Water B.C., the lead agency providing Crown land and water resources to VANOC. Now: director of Property Assessment Appeal Board and Real Estate Foundation of B.C.
George McKay: Then: was alpine ski development project manager for LWBC predecessor B.C. Assets and Lands Corporation in 1990s. Became director of the Callaghan Valley Master Plan during 2010 bid stage. Now: VANOC's director of environmental approvals. Also listed in B.C. Government Directory as tourism ministry's manager of special projects.
WOWser ... !
Anonymous 12:22, thank you for your patience, thank you for your contribution!
Holy jumpin' ... now what do we do?? First off, I'm going to put your contribution up on the main page so that nobody misses seeing it.
And thanks, thanks again!
RCMP reviewing Callaghan Valley dispute, again
Powder Mountain Resorts hopes investigation will uncover past conflicts of interest, revive ski resort plans By Andrew Mitchell
The proponents of Powder Mountain Resorts got a boost last week with confirmation that the RCMP is reviewing the facts of their case with an eye toward reopening an investigation into how their resort proposal was quashed 20 years ago.
Several other recreation tenures in the Callaghan Valley — site of the Nordic Centre for 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games — have since been awarded.
Business in Vancouver magazine reported the newest developments last week, and according to Nan Hartwick — who co-owns Powder Mountain Resorts with daughter Dianne — the possibility of a new investigation was welcome news.
"This is the third time that the RCMP have taken up this investigation, but this time, because of all the terrible conflicts of interest everywhere, we think this is something that should move ahead," she said. "We went through three different public proposal calls until we won the third one clearly. Now our lawyer is joining us for a meeting with the new provincial ombudsman to give him our information, and all the proven details. We haven't spent 20-some-odd years for nothing."
At the heart of the Hartwicks' complaint is the province's decision to award development rights to Callaghan Resorts in 1987, two years after Powder Mountain Resorts was the sole company to answer a request for proposal process to develop the area. According to Nan Hartwick the Forest Minister was about to approve their application when it was quashed by cabinet.
The province said they quashed the Powder Mountain proposal over doubts that the Hartwicks had sufficient financial backing, which Hartwick says was not the case. At the time they had more than 75 investors behind them, all of which continue to back Powder Mountain to this day.
Instead, the Hartwicks allege that cronyism was at play, and that then-Premier Bill Vander Zalm intervened on behalf of a friend who was involved in Callaghan Resorts.
What has followed is more than 20 years of legal wrangling, lawsuits and appeals that have so far been unsuccessful. During that period the province has issued several land use tenures in the Callaghan Valley — including Callaghan Country, Powder Mountain Catskiing and Canadian Snowmobile Adventures — and aided in the establishment of the Whistler Nordic Centre as a venue for the 2010 Games. All of it is illegal, according to Nan Hartwick, who asserts that Powder Mountain had an agreement in principle with the province.
"It's very important to repeat that we are not against the Olympics," she said. "We do think it's important for taxpayers to know that we never did ask for any government money, and we could have saved millions of dollars that were spent illegally in the Lower Callaghan Valley. We had the rights from the government, in documentation, to develop the entire valley, and still hold those rights."
Hartwick believes that her resort could have hosted some of the Nordic events on privately funded facilities, or that the events could have been hosted far more easily at Cypress Mountain.
She says the review will reveal that some of the same people who were involved in quashing her proposal in the 1980s are currently involved in the development of the Callaghan. If they can prove that conflict of interest as well as allegations of cronyism, Hartwick believes it will be a short leap to have the Powder Mountain Resorts' proposal for the area reinstated.
"We don't need another lawsuit, it's the commercial crime group of the RCMP that's working on this investigation," said Hartwick. "They're going over everything, the entire history and everything that has happened. We're counting on them to be able to prove what we know and have known for many, many years."
A previous criminal investigation by the RCMP was closed in 2000, shortly after the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed a lawsuit for $5 million against Callaghan Resorts and others the Hartwicks allege were behind the decision to quash their resort proposal. Following the lost appeal, they applied to have their case heard at the Supreme Court of Canada — a process that is still ongoing.
Hartwick said the RCMP's decision to re-open the case is based on new evidence of conflict of interest.
July / August 2004 Issue
“It’s just the old tired attitude that if you believe in labour or social democracy, you have to be against capital and profits. We can use pension income to create jobs, union jobs, that pay a fair rate and get a fair return. We can make a profit … but … without exploiting people.” Canadian Labour Congress President (and Concert Properties Director) Ken Georgetti, quoted in “The Hard-Hat Capitalists”, Vancouver Sun, May 14, 1988.
What is Concert Properties?
Concert Properties is a big business. Between 1989 and 1999 it built 80 per cent of the rental housing constructed in Vancouver. With an asset base of $450 million in 2000, it’s now the largest developer of rental housing in Western Canada. Not bad for an enterprise completely controlled by the labour movement. Concert, and its companion enterprise Concert Real Estate Inc., constitute one of the more visible examples of “worker capitalism”, a phenomenon that had its inception in the 1980s and is now flourishing across Canada.
Concert Properties was created in the late 1980s largely at the instigation of the then-president of the Telecommunication Workers’ Union, Bill Clark. Clark spearheaded a process that led to twenty union pension plans pooling $30 million of their own funds to provide the initial capitalization to get the company up and running.
Throughout its existence, Concert has been completely controlled by the trade union bureaucracy and its current board of directors continues that tradition. Of 17 directors, 12 are current or retired union full-timers: Ken Georgetti (President, Canadian Labour Congress); Jack Allard (retired Secretary-Treasurer, United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1518); Nancy Curley (Alternate Business Agent, TWU); Gerry Forcier (Trustee, Pipefitters Local 170 Pension Plan); Dave Haggard (President, IWA-Canada); Leif Hansen (retired Vice-President and Director of Operations, UFCW Local 247); ·Rod Hiebert (President, TWU); Don McGill (Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 213); Charles Peck (Chair, Health and Welfare Pension Plan, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 213); David Schaub (National Representative, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union); Randy Smith (President, Carpenters Union Local 1995); Anthony Tennessy (retired President, Operating Engineers Local 115); and Bryan Wall (Consultant, UFCW Pension Plan).
As this list makes obvious, the labour bureaucracy has voting control over Concert Properties, which leads to two very uncomfortable questions: Why is Concert Properties a member of Canada’s largest and most powerful P3 lobby groups, the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships? Why did Concert Properties donate more than $16,000 to the Liberal Party of British Columbia last year?Public-Private Partnerships
A visit to the web site of the Canadian Council on Public-Private Partnerships is a real journey of discovery. Virtually every major privatizer is there. Its executive is stuffed with Richmond-Airport-Vancouver rapid transit line (RAV) bidders, including Bombardier, SNC Lavalin and the Macquarie Group (which produced a key report arguing in favour of RAV). Its annual conferences bring together all the biggest corporate and political players in the rush to privatize public services. All one has to do to appreciate the political weight the CCPPP has to throw around in regard to privatization is to look at the politicians who have addressed its conferences over the years: Federal cabinet ministers like David Dingwall, Donald MacDonald, Doug Young, David Collenette and Lucienne Robillard. Provincial Premiers like Gordon Campbell, Ralph Klein, Brian Tobin, Frank McKenna, Roy Romanow (twice), Bob Rae (twice), and more provincial cabinet ministers than can comfortably fit here.
Concert Properties pays $600 yearly in membership fees to be a corporate member of CCPPP, joining the ranks of some of the largest and most notorious privateers in the world, including Aramark, Sodexho and the Compass Group, all of which have been central to BC Premier Gordon Campbell’s firing of thousands of Hospital Employees Union members and contracting out their jobs at minimum-wage levels. Not only is Concert a corporate member, but it also enjoys a more direct connection in the person of former Operating Engineer leader Tony Tennessy, who has served both on the Board of Concert and on the Board of the CCPPP as well.
The Liberal Connection
Concert’s directors are no strangers to Liberal politics. In 2000 Concert President David Podmore donated $1,000 to the B.C. Liberal Party. In 2001, he donated a further $6,711. IWA President Dave Haggard was just appointed Liberal candidate for New Westminster-Coquitlam for the coming federal election by none other than the Prime Minister himself. Concert’s director Tony Tennessy, formerly of the Operating Engineers Union, was a supporter of Sheila Copps’ campaign against Paul Martin for the federal Liberal leadership (at around the same time that Copps appointed him a director of the 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee).
But giving $16,665 to Gordon Campbell, the arch enemy of the B.C. labour movement? Well, that’s in a class by itself. Concert’s donation has made the $833 donation that Langley IWA local president Sonny Ghag gave the Liberals seem like a real pittance and, in comparison, it is.
How to explain it? To start, Jack Poole, the Chairman of the Board of Concert Properties, has a long history with Gordon Campbell. In 2000 Poole donated $2,000 to the B.C. Liberal Party. Journalist Russ Francis (”Pooling The Funds”, Monday Magazine, October 2, 2002) has referred to Campbell’s role in the deal that gave Concert its beginnings:
“I’m speaking of the 1989 deal then-Vancouver-mayor Campbell made to turn over a small fortune in public land to VLC Properties Ltd., a new company headed by Poole that was created out of thin air with the able assistance of Campbell and such worthies as Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti. In exchange for access to $48 million worth of public land, VLC promised to build up to 2,000 units of ‘affordable housing’ each year. But they only ever built 1,143 units, total. And not one of the units was ‘affordable,’ according to any meaning of the word that I’m aware of. In a report to shareholders, VLC boasted that the rent for all of the units was higher than that in nearby buildings.”
VLC Properties later changed its name to Greystone Properties and subsequently morphed into Concert Properties.
Writing in the Georgia Straight ten years ago (February 1994), Rafe Mair observed the following:
The Vancouver Land Corporation — VLC for short — set up by former Mayor Gordon Campbell to build low-cost housing on city land given them for a song, now sees itself in the casino game and is the major local player. One of the main players in the VLC is Ken Georgetti, head of the B.C. Federation of Labour. He’s there because much of the funding for the VLC comes from union pension funds. One need not point out that Mr Georgetti, under a NDP government is a very powerful voice and, indeed, Mr Georgetti has already talked his NDP buddies into taking, with taxpayer dollars, 16% of the action. The VLC has a main mover — land developer Jack Poole. Ah, you ask, is that the same Jack Poole who, a few years back, nearly ran for the B.C. Liberal leadership? The same Jack Poole who is a crony and long-time backer of former Vancouver Mayor, now Opposition Leader Gordon Campbell? You’ve got it! Same guy. Ken Georgetti later went on to join the Board of the Molson Indy, which was also founded by Poole.
Canada’s Biggest P3
The P3 and Liberal convergences don’t end there. Jack Poole, David Podmore, Ken Georgetti and Tony Tennessy were all members of the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Olympic Bid Committee. Poole and Podmore actually headed the committee. In November, 2003, Premier Gordon Campbell gave the keynote speech to the annual conference of the Canadian Council on Public-Private Partnerships. During that speech he made his Olympic vision clear for the whole world to see: “I couldn’t leave today without telling you how proud we are that British Columbia is home to probably the largest single public-private partnership initiative going in Canada right now: the 2010 Olympic Games. We sometimes forget when we talk about the Olympics that that is an enormous public-private partnership. For our investment, about $600 million in infrastructure, we will get $2-to-$3 billion of private-sector investments through broadcast rights, through royalty rights, through development of small business opportunities, and through tourism opportunities that are developed — all as a result of that public-private partnership.”
One can’t help wonder if the name “Concert” wasn’t chosen to symbolize teamwork, mutual aid, cooperation and a vision of labour and capital working together in harmony to pursue mutually beneficial goals. Certainly the odd groupings present on the board of directors suggest teamwork that, to be quite frank, smacks of class collaboration, and the board of the 2010 Bid Committee is only one example of many: Dave Haggard just joined the board of Concert this year, replacing the IWA’s retiring 2nd vice-president, Harvey Arcand. As directors of the company, both of them are or have been at the same table as retired Canfor vice-president A. Gordon Armstrong. (In 2001 Armstrong donated $750 to the B.C. Liberal Party.) TWU President Rod Hiebert and Business Agent Nancy Curley sit across from Telus vice-president Robert Beynon.
But the prize for the worst, the most egregious example of where this collaboration leads has to go to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Three UFCW representatives sit on Concert’s board: Leif Hansen, just retired from his position as Vice-President of UFCW Local 247, Jack Allard, retired Secretary Treasurer of UFCW Local 1518 and Bryan Wall, who is listed as a consultant to the UFCW pension plan and has served as a plan trustee. In the summer of 1997, representing UFCW Local 1518, Jack Allard signed a concession agreement with Overwaitea Foods that brought in the infamous two-tier agreement, which allows Overwaitea to pay new hires half what is being paid to employees who have the same seniority but were hired before 1997. For example, as of April 2002 a “clerk cashier / meat deli seafood clerk / meat wrapper” with over 4,680 hours’ seniority hired before the contract was ratified earned $22.21, but a junior clerk hired after ratification with the same seniority and doing the same duties, earned $10.75. Two years later, Leif Hansen signed a similar agreement with Overwaitea on behalf of UFCW Local 2000 (now Local 247).
Bryan Wall signed both of these contracts, but not on behalf of UFCW. He was taking part in the negotiations for management. Wall was, at the time, Overwaitea’s Vice-president of Human Resources. It’s a comfy little club, this “workers’ capitalism”. “Workers’ Capitalism” = Corporate Unionism This cosy relationship between bosses and bureaucrats is nothing new. We saw it before, last December, during the ferry workers’ strike. Working Opportunity Fund runs in the same league as Concert. It’s huge. With assets of nearly half a billion dollars it’s the largest venture capital corporation in Western Canada. It’s also a key player in the field of “workers’ capitalism”.
Working Opportunities’ board is also controlled by the trade union bureaucracy — of 15 directors 8 are current or retired union officials: Colleen Jordan, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE, BC Division; Marian Meagher, retired Regional Vice President, Public Service Alliance of Canada; Ken Neumann, Director of Steel-workers District 3; Jerri New, President, Office and Professional Employees International Union, Local 378; Angela Schira, Sec-retary-Treasurer, BC Federation of Labour; Diane Wood, Sec-retary-Treasurer, BC Government and Service Employees Union; Cindy Stewart, President, Health Sciences Association of BC; and Nick Worhaug, Canadian Director, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union.
But there are others as well. Graeme McFarlane is one. He’s a lawyer at Ogilvy Renault, who on at least two occasions has represented the Health Employers Association of British Columbia in opposing BC Nurses’ Union cases at the Labour Relations Board. Dean Drysdale is another. He’s a business professor at Kwantlen College who ran in the Vaudreuil-Solanges by-election in Québec in 2000 as a candidate of Stephen Harper’s Canadian Alliance. But perhaps the most unforgivable is Peter Armstrong, the President of Great Canadian Railtour and — last December — a director of the BC Ferry Authority board during its unsuccessful attempt to break the ferry workers’ strike. (For historical accuracy it should be noted that the Chair of the Ferry Authority throughout the strike, David Emerson, was a member of the Working Opportunity Fund Investment Advisory Committee in the late 1990s, during the same time period that Ken Georgetti was chair of WOF’s board of directors.) Emerson has since left the Ferry Authority to become a federal Liberal candidate alongside brother Haggard.
Who knows what other stories exist out there? Concert and Working Opportunities are only two examples. To get a realistic picture, we’ll have to look at the whole phenomenon of “worker capitalism” in all its many forms: Crocus Investment Fund, Mortgage One Corporation, Fonds Solidarité, Working Ventures, Real Assets, First Ontario Fund, Workers’ Investment Fund, Social Investment Organization, Growthworks, Vengrowth Investment Fund, Trillium Growth Capital, Inc., Retrocomm Growth Fund, Capital Alliance Ventures, Working Enterprises Group of Companies, Working Enterprises Insurance Services, Working Enterprises Insurance Brokers, Working Enterprises Travel Services, Working Enterprises National, Ltd…. and dozens more. Labour activists are going to have to start examining all of this. The P3 files may be a tangled rat’s nest of interlocking directorships and tacit agreements, of personal advancement and career path and co-optation but, like the X-files, the truth is out there. Bringing it to light will be a grass-roots affair.
The Face Of The New Workers’ Capitalism
Workers’ capitalism may have started with the best of intentions: the preservation of union members’ pension funds. One might even make a case that its roots go back as far as the campaigns conducted in the early 1980s by a number of unions to force their members’ pension funds to divest holdings in the corporations doing business with the apartheid regime in South Africa. There certainly seems to be a strong continuity linking much of the ethical investing movement to the institutions of the new workers’ capitalism. Whatever criticisms need to be made it should, in fairness, be noted that the phenomenon is not without its positive aspects — for example, Concert’s record in condo construction seems to prove conclusively that it’s possible to build a condominium that doesn’t leak (no small accomplishment these days).
But the outlines of workers’ capitalism look, more than anything else, like capitalism.
It’s a specific form of capitalism whereby, using the savings of the members whom they’re supposed to represent, a group of trade union leaders have parlayed these savings into a complex and huge corporate empire, run on the same rules, and with the same goal — the accumulation of profit.
It’s a form of capitalism where the same cloak of business secrecy prevails. Concert’s Expression Of Interest in the RAV line wasn’t posted on their web site, any more than was Bombardier’s or SNC Lavalin’s. And just try to find out what Concert Properties (and Concert Real Estate Inc.) pay their directors. You’ll quickly find out that there isn’t much in the way of transparency here. It’s a form of capitalism that, in some respects, seems to resemble a medieval fiefdom: A director can have his hands on the lever of capital through the union pension fund, at the same time as controlling (directly or indirectly) the source of labour through the union hiring hall and the cost of labour through the collective agreement.
It’s a system where the lines between labour and capital have blurred to the point of being indistinguishable — where labour and capital have merged into one vast endeavour, working together in harmony, moving together happily side by side into the future.
There are only a few catches.
First, labour militancy has to go. It just doesn’t fit into the plan.
And neither does democracy.
In the world of realistic unionism (or “intelligent militancy” as Brother Georgetti likes to put it), you still need to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Unfortunately, it’s just not possible to satisfy everyone. So if you’re a cleaner or kitchen worker or security guard in the B.C. hospital system, you’ll simply have to come to grips with reality and accept that brothers Georgetti and Haggard and Neumann are working hard for our mutual gain and that tearing this team apart by insisting the Canadian Labour Congress expel the International Woodworkers of America for its raid on the Hospital Employees Union simply doesn’t make business sense.
You’ll have to agree that the 2002 BC Fed resolution calling for action “up to and including a general strike” to defeat Premier Campbell’s destruction of public services and union rights was an unfortunate bit of overstatement, although a necessary one in order to avoid the unpleasantness of the Fed convention actually having a debate on organizing a general strike. And the end of the HEU strike? The ramrodded return to work? The refusal to allow HEU members the right to vote on whether to comply with Campbell’s union-busting? Just the cost of doing business.
Worth looking into.. Check out the finance statements for Covenant House Vancouver.. and now the government is giving thim a large amount of money.
The amount of money they spend on wages compared to helping out the kids is an issue for me.
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