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HomeBusinessExclusive: Fassbender plans to juggle steel sales and mayoral duties if Langley comeback succeeds

Exclusive: Fassbender plans to juggle steel sales and mayoral duties if Langley comeback succeeds

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Bob Mackin

If Peter Fassbender gets his old job back, he said he won’t quit his new job.

Fassbender is running in the Oct. 20 election to be mayor of Langley City. That is the position he held from 2005 until 2013, when he was elected the BC Liberal MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood.

Peter Fassbender in the mayor’s office, in 2011 (Facebook)

He was education minister and municipal affairs minister (with responsibility for TransLink) in the Christy Clark government until losing the seat in the 2017 provincial election to the NDP’s Jagrup Brar. In a post-election party meeting, Fassbender emphatically blamed Clark for the defeat.

Since then, he became a managing director of a company called Modusteel, which markets modular structural steel for houses, towers, warehouses, hotels, airports, stadiums and bridges. His Modusteel partners include Surrey developer Robert Dominick, lawyer David Siebenga and Stantec architect Jiang Zhu.

“It’s an organization that is looking at building more affordable housing and so it will be dealing with the private sector and social housing,” Fassbender said in an interview. “I don’t see any need for me to step away at all.”

Fassbender said, as mayor, he would recuse himself if a matter came to council that involved Modusteel, “but I think that’s way down the road.”

A brochure on Modusteel’s website lists a Surrey address, but the website includes a Richmond address. A source told theBreaker that Fassbender visited the office of Hong Guo, the immigration and real estate lawyer and Richmond mayoral candidate, on Sept. 19.

“I know Hong, but I’m not getting involved in it. I’ve got my own campaign to run,” Fassbender said.

Will Hong Guo remain in the race?

The NDP cancelled the BC Liberals’ plan to build a bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel last year. Guo is a proponent of the bridge, hence her campaign logo and change-themed campaign. Incumbent Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie is a BC Liberal who prefers a new tunnel rather than the 10-lane bridge concept.

“I’ve encouraged her,” Fassbender said. “I’ve talked to [Delta council candidate and outgoing mayor] Lois Jackson, I’ve talked to a lot of people for a long time that that should be one of the priorities, it’s one of the most-congested corridors in the Lower Mainland and we need to find a solution to that. Of course, I supported the bridge when I was in government and I still do.”

Guo, however, faces major obstacles to her election bid in the form of a professional misconduct citation by the Law Society of B.C. and a $13 million lawsuit, first reported by the Richmond News, from Chinese investors involved in a collapsed real estate deal. None of the allegations has been proven in court.

“I’m not going to comment on Hong’s situation with the Law Society, that’s for her to answer,” he said. “I’m going to leave that to her. I think that’s inappropriate for me because I don’t know any of the details whatsoever, I’m not going to comment at all.”

Earlier this year, Fassbender was co-chair of ex-Transportation Minister Todd Stone’s unsuccessful bid for the BC Liberal leadership. 

Fassbender’s opponents in Langley City are Coun. Val van den Broek, who is endorsed by outgoing mayor Ted Schaffer, and Serena Oh. Oh is a perennial candidate whose allegations of ballot improprieties in the 2016 by-election were rejected by B.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judges. The mayor of Langley City will be paid $99,533 next year, plus meeting fees for Metro Vancouver and the TransLink Mayors’ Council.

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