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HomeBusinessExclusive: Calendars show Robertson’s last months and Stewart’s first as mayor

Exclusive: Calendars show Robertson’s last months and Stewart’s first as mayor


Bob Mackin

For Gregor Robertson, his last official appointment as Mayor of Vancouver was spent in the city hall departments that benefitted most. 

Robertson’s calendar, released to theBreaker under freedom of information, shows a “Comms and Sustainability visit” at 2 p.m. on Nov. 2. 

During Vision Vancouver rule at 12th and Cambie, which began in December 2008, the communications and sustainability departments went from single digits to double digits in staff and they spent millions on crafting the thrice-elected mayor’s image as a champion of environmental causes. 

Gregor Robertson (right) and several ex-Vision politicians at the party’s Nov. 2 farewell. (Mackin)

That Nov. 2 calendar did not mention his nighttime engagement, Vision Vancouver’s invitation-only farewell gala at the Seaforth Armoury. 

Earlier that day, Robertson attended his last photo ops/news conferences: announcing an agreement for 650 non-market units to be built on Concord Pacific’s long vacant six False Creek sites and the FuturePLAY IT education partnership at the Lord Strathcona Elementary School library. The latter featured BroadBandTV CEO Shahrzad Rafati. Rafati was seen with Robertson at a voting station on Oct. 20, more than two months after Robertson proclaimed her birthday as Shahrzad Rafati day in Vancouver. 

Robertson’s last official interview was with Frances Bula of the Globe and Mail on Nov. 1, the day after a “thank-you tour” of 288 East Hastings. B.C. Housing paid $7.07 million for the land from Wall Financial in 2016 and loaned the Vision Vancouver and BC Liberal donor almost $36 million to develop 104 subsidized and 68 market rentals on the edge of Chinatown.

Robertson held a “VMO (Vancouver Mayor’s Office)” Vet Party on Oct. 30 and team photo after his last city council meeting. 

On Oct. 19, election eve, he met with cycling marketer Chris Bruntlett and hosted the “city manager’s performance review results” in the mayor’s office. 

I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that Bruntlett said “thank you for building so many bike lanes” (or words to that effect) and that Johnston passed his performance review. With flying colours.

Robertson met Telus CEO Darren Entwistle on Oct. 18 before attending a “Southeast False Creek and Olympic Village celebration,” hosted by Bob Rennie at the Tap and Barrel. Rennie, a former fundraiser for Vision and the BC Liberals, was the marketer for the Millennium Development project that went into receivership in November 2010. Two years earlier, leaked city council documents outlined the $100 million bailout for Millennium after Wall Street financier Fortress was shocked by the global credit crunch. The 2008 scandal paved the way for the  first Vision Vancouver majority. 

City hall’s real estate general manager Bill Aujla quit last summer to join the Aquilini Investment Group. Aujla’s Sept. 21 farewell party was hosted by Terra Breads in the Olympic Village, across the street from the remaining condo units scooped-up by the Aquilinis in 2014. 

Robertson also met Jim Pattison and his right-hand man, former B.C. Premier Glen Clark, on Oct. 15. The pro-Beijing mayor attended the Sept. 28 People’s Republic of China consulate’s national day reception at the Westin Bayshore. 

In with the new

After Stewart’s Nov. 5 swearing-in and inaugural council meeting, he joined council cohorts for more orientation sessions the next day and sat down for a formal meeting on Nov. 7 with Robertson-hired city manager Sadhu Johnston before dropping-in at the Chinatown Foundation’s Autumn Gala. 

Stewart flew to Victoria Nov. 8 to meet with B.C. NDP cabinet ministers Judy Darcy (mental health and addictions), Katrina Chen (childcare), Selina Robinson (municipal affairs and housing), Carole James (finance) and Claire Trevena (transportation). 

Back in Vancouver Nov. 9, an interview with RedFM, caucus meetings with NPA, Green and OneCity councillors and congratulatory calls to North Vancouver City Mayor Linda Buchanan and Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. 

Mayor Kennedy Stewart (Mackin)

Nov. 10 included social engagements: Telus Night of a Thousand Stars Gala at Parq casino and a Floata Restaurant gala celebrating Jenny Kwan’s 25 years in politics. Nov. 11 was Remembrance Day, with observations at the Victory Square cenotaph and Chinatown monument, as well as a tour of Royal Canadian Legions. 

Stewart had a Nov. 16 phone call with Desmond Cole, the Toronto activist who alleged racism when he was stopped and asked for identification by a Vancouver Police officer while smoking near Stanley Park.

Nov. 18 was the grand reopening of the fire damaged Ross Street Sikh temple, speaking engagement at the Housing Central Conference in the Wall Centre, phone call with Johnston and the ceremonial tipoff at the Vancouver Showcase NCAA basketball tournament. 

He lunched Nov. 19 with city councillors from 1986, which included ex-mayor Mike Harcourt and Libby Davies, met with Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow and attended a meeting about the Berkeley Towers renoviction. 

Stewart spoke to Unifor on Nov. 21 and the WE Day charity concert at Rogers Arena. Two days later, on Nov. 23, he met with Barrett-era NDP cabinet minister Bob Williams, Coromandel Properties’ Jerry Zhong and Ed May and Jameson Developments’ Anthony and Tom Pappajohn. 

Another day, another congratulations for a mayor of a neighbouring municipality. Nov. 28 was for North Vancouver District’s Mike Little. Stewart also met with Vancouver Board of Trade CEO Iain Black and stakeholder relations director David van Hemmen and, surprise, former Coun. Raymond Louie. 

Sources have told theBreaker that Louie was spotted several times at city hall and is acting as a transition advisor to the new mayor. 

Nov. 28 also included an interview and photo shoot for Monocle Magazine and a meeting with Bhalwinder S. Waraich, Carol Both and Don Munton of Sunset Community Association. 

Former Simon Fraser University professor Stewart met with his former boss, SFU president Andrew Petter and Joanne Curry, before a meeting with a familiar face from his days in Parliament, Liberal Transport minister Marc Garneau.

Stewart’s chief of staff, Neil Monckton, did not respond for comment. 

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