The announcement that Metro Vancouver is spending over $200 million on a building for their new headquarters came as a surprise. There appears to have been no prior public discussion on this matter. In a press release on Thursday, December 17th, 2015, Metro Vancouver formally announced that it would be purchasing the 29-storey Metrotower III building from Ivanhoé Cambridge for a price of $205 million. This tower was completed in 2014 on the south side of the Metrotown shopping centre.
Metro Vancouver headquarters are currently at 4330 Kingsway, in a location a few blocks west of the Metropolis at Metrotown mall.
The justification for the relocation is summarized in the title of the press release:
“Metro Vancouver Relocates to Metrotower III to Better Serve the Region”
Yes, the relocation is to apparently to serve us better in the region, at least according to Metro’s communications team. But could this $200 million serve the region better when put to other uses? Is this expenditure really justifiable?
Global News broke the story in an article on December 17, 2015: Metro Vancouver spending over $200 Million on New HQ (by Ted Field)
The official press release stated that the purchase was approved by the Metro Vancouver Board. The board went in-camera on Friday, December 11, 2015 and at that time likely approved the purchase. A portion of property taxes collected by the City of Vancouver is used to fund Metro Vancouver’s activities. There’s a brief overview on the composition of board on the main Metro Vancouver website (brief excerpt below):
Full board member list: http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/membership/board-members/Pages/default.aspx
The list of Directors from the City of Vancouver follow, coincidentally they all belong to Vision Vancouver:
The video feed of Metro Vancouver Board meetings are not archived. Here’s a screenshot of the live feed of the December 11, 2015 Inaugural Board meeting:
Within 10 minutes of the start of the 2016 Inaugural Metro Board meeting, the discussions went in-camera. Was one of the first decisions by this board to authorize spending $205 million of taxpayer’s money on a brand new building? Will anyone ever be held accountable for this decision? This is how much the public saw of the in-camera meeting: