Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

The Georgia Straight’s “Best of…” Edition

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Best double dipping

The premier’s former deputy minister, Ken Dobell, is a shoo-in. What can you say about a guy who contracts himself out as a provincial lobbyist (or “content consultant”, as he put it) for the City of Vancouver on housing issues at the same time he has a desk in the premier’s office as Gordon Campbell’s special adviser? Dobell, a former Vancouver city manager, managed to duck controversy for many years, despite playing a role in a couple of serious public-policy blunders. While he was CEO of TransLink, he was the real father of the Canada Line rapid-transit project, which has forced local businesses into bankruptcy and which could eventually do the same to TransLink. He has also been the premier’s point man on the ever-more-expensive expansion of the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre. It started out at $495 million but has since crossed the $800-million threshold (which is an overrun that is $55 million more than the $250-million fast-ferry overshoot that was seized upon by the B.C. Liberals to crush the NDP in the 2001 election). Back in the old days, he even recommended tearing down those lovely old houses in Mole Hill. Fortunately, he was overruled by the council of the day. But it was only when Dobell decided to get into the lobbying game that big media started questioning his activities. Not too seriously, mind you–just enough to ensure the public got a whiff of trouble.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 21, 2007 at 1:34 pm

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