Care for a glass of champagne?
Maybe some canapés?
Perhaps a skewer of fruit?
Trust me, I was tempted last Thursday morning to sample the fare but I just ate breakfast and, well, ethically I didn’t think it was a good idea to accept free grub from the pleasant folks catering the “groundbreaking” for an Audi dealership at Second and Burrard.
What the heck was I doing at a sod-turning event for a luxury car outfit?
Well, Mayor Gregor Robertson happened to be there and made a short speech about the dealership and welcomed Audi to the strip of high-end car sellers.
The appearance by the mayor, who was supposed to be joined by Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr and NPA Coun. George Affleck, seemed odd to me since the only time I’ve seen him turn sod is for a social housing project.
Furthermore, what’s a bike-riding, greenhouse-gas-fighting mayor doing pumping up a car dealership?
I asked him about it.
“There haven’t been car dealerships opening in downtown Vancouver for many years and this is really bucking the trend,” Robertson said. “It’s a significant investment showing that there’s confidence in our city’s economy and we’ve got to support business as it grows here in Vancouver.”
Added Robertson: “It’s important that we are creating jobs and prosperity in Vancouver alongside building social housing and making those investments.”
The company behind the $25 million project is the Dilawri Group of Companies which bills itself as Canada’s largest automotive group. Dilawri owns MCL Motors, Bentley Vancouver, Aston Martin Vancouver, Land Rover, Jaguar and the soon-to-be-opened Porsche Centre on Terminal Avenue.
If you attended last week’s council meeting where councillor upon councillor expressed their outrage at the federal government’s decision to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard base, you obviously heard from Vision Coun. Kerry Jang.
He was clearly fired up.
But I wanted to replay a quote for you that Jang uttered near the end of the debate when he looked up in the balcony of the council chambers and said this:
“We actually had, sitting up there—if my memory serves me correctly—the deputy commissioner for the Coast Guard, who left quickly. So that was Ms. Poruks, I believe. She sat there, shook her head and left. She didn’t bother staying for the whole thing. This is why I’m not hopeful [the government will reconsider the closure] and this is why I’m very disappointed in the federal government.”
OK, I thought, I’ll get in touch with Vija Poruks, assistant commissioner for the Coast Guard’s Pacific region, and get her thoughts on the meeting. I called her direct line, got no reply.
I emailed her and got a reply.
“I have been inaccurately reported as being present at this meeting—I was not there,” said Poruks in her email and referred further questions to the agency’s communications department.
I have it on good authority that Jang later called Poruks and apologized for his mistake. So the question remains… who then was that woman who shook her head and left?
Poruks apparently has a doppelganger interested in Coast Guard issues. Jang, meanwhile, might want to give his optometrist a call.