Is this transparency and accountability?
In an in-camera meeting that was closed to the public, Vancouver School Board trustees decided this summer to proceed with the deal to sell the land under Lord Roberts Annex Elementary School to BC Hydro for 48 million dollars. The utility was the sole buyer, the public had not been consulted, nobody but VSB and BC Hydro knew the terms of the sale.
VSB minutes record a motion had been passed on June 25 Vancouver School Board meeting to decide to sell the facility. The meeting was live-tweeted by Georgia Strait K12 Education Patti Bacchus live-tweeted.
”BC Hydro Proposal Motion 1
Moved by A. Wong, seconded by F. Ballantyne, that the Board of Education enter into an agreement to sell a subsurface portion of the land owned by the Board at the Lord Roberts Annex site to British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority ("BC Hydro") for the construction of an underground electrical power substation (the "Substation") for financial and other compensation to the Board, subject to conditions that include Board bylaw approval and approval by the British Columbia Minister of Education. ……CARRIED
For: J. Alexander, A. Wong, F. Ballantyne, L. Dominato, J. Fraser, E. Gonzalez
Against: C. Bercic, K. Clement
Did you know that BC Hydro had two other active offers at that time, both above 80 million dollars? I'm told that one of the bids at 1500 Pendrell was held up by a one last condo owner who was considering selling but hadn't quite made up his mind. When he made up his mind, it was too late because VSB had blinked and sold for nearly 40 million dollars less than was on offer to the condo association.
40 million dollars is a lot of money. It buys a secondary school. Missing out on such a windfall seema a bad idea. Doing it in secret seems to even worse.
Telling Vancouver voters we'd run out of power if VSB didn't sell is - well... a lie.
I'm not sure how you feel about this. I suspect you feel the same way I do.
I am troubled.
That's why I wrote each trustee and asked them for a copy of the contract. They deferred to the Chair.
I think *somebody* should read it in the public interest. The response was unsurprising: "get an FOI".
When you vote for school trustee, please choose someone you can trust will do the job they promised.
It's time for an Independent School Board free of outside influence or any 3rd party interference that you can trust to vote with the best interests of students in mind.
Elected officials are not supposed to hide things from the public and make secret deals with businesses trying to make a quick buck off the taxpayers.
Sadly, we'll never know how the trustees voted because they chose to do so in secret. We only know most of the trustees wanted it.
Sadly, we'll never know how the trustees voted because when the price was set they chose to do so in secret. We only know most of the trustees wanted it. We’ll also never know when the price was decided or if they knew it in June and decided not to tell the public.
All we know that VSB had several of opportunities to tell us the price and they did not choose to. Party politics is like that, sometimes.
That's one reason I chose to remain independent in local politics.
Who was in the room?
Secrecy is a tool sadly used by politicians to let people down without leaving their own footprints in the snow.
Here is the list of the trustees on the Vancouver School Board, a board that is keeping secrets from you.
- Janet FRASER - Vancouver Greens
- Judy ZAICHOWSKI - Vancouver Greens
- Estrellita GONZALES - Vancouver Greens
- Joy ALEXANDER - Not running, Vision Vancouver
- Allan WONG - Vision Vancouver
- Lisa DOMINATO - Not running, NPA Vancouver
- Fraser BALLANTYNE - NPA
- Carrie BERCIC - One City
- Ken CLEMENS - on leave and not running, Vision Vancouver
I invite the trustees to explain themselves. Ask them what's going on.
My "Get An FOI" letter from Chris Allen, Manager of Risk & Privacy Compliance - VSB
03 October 2018
Dear Ms. Oger,
Your request for access to a copy of the agreement between the Vancouver School Board and BC Hydro has been referred to me for response. The agreement that you requested is not a document that has been released publicly. If you wish to receive a copy, you are entitled to make a request for it under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. However, please note that the Act provides 30 business days in which to process such requests, and we cannot provide any guarantees that the report or any portions of it will be available for disclosure within the 10 day period indicated in your email. Please let me know if you would like to proceed with a formal request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Chris Allen, MBA
Manager of Risk & Privacy Compliance
Secretary Treasurers Office
Vancouver Board of Education
1580 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V6J 5K8