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[溫哥華本地新聞] City of Vancouver spending on designer furniture 'gross' says CTF

City of Vancouver spending on designer furniture 'gross' says CTF            

by Sonia Aslam and Hana Mae Nassar

   

Posted Sep 17, 2020 10:50 am PDT

   

Last Updated Sep 17, 2020 at 10:53 am PDT

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[url=]Share to Facebook[/url][url=]Share to Reddit[/url][url=]Share to Email[/url]                                                                                                                                                                                                 FILE - Vancouver City Hall (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)
                                 
                                
                           
                                                                                            
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The CTF is calling the City of Vancouver out its spending of hundreds of thousands of dollars on designer furniture


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Canadian Taxpayers Federation calls the spending 'gross', 'tone deaf'


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The money to buy the furniture was approved before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold here


               
            
                                                   
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The mayor of Vancouver is literally in the hot seat after it was revealed the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive office furniture during this COVID-19 pandemic.
The move came despite the mayor asking for a government handout. Earlier in the year, Kennedy Stewart made a public, desperate plea for federal funding, claiming the city’s coffers were bare.
“It’s gross. It’s tone deaf,” says Kris Sims with the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who believes the mayor could have done a better job at reading the room.
“It’s a failure to understand the reality for many hard-working people in Vancouver, and to turn around and spend this kind of money. We’re in a pretty bad time right now. We’re in the middle of this COVID economic mess. Many people have no idea how they’re going to be able to make rent.”
Sims adds it’s “incredible insensitive” and “wrong” for the city to be spending like this right now, and is calling on the mayor to find the receipts, return the furniture, and put that money to better use.
It was revealed in a Global BC exclusive that the city had spent more than $300,000 on fancy office chairs for city hall — that money approved pre-pandemic.
“Use the chair that you already have. How many Vancouverites are working from home right now from their kitchen tables? Using whatever chair happens to be there? I know plenty of people who have been doing that for months,” Sims says.
The Herman Miller designer officer chairs retail for about $1,500 apiece, according to the report. A scan of the Herman Miller website shows prices in the hundreds of dollars for other office chairs, and some plastic chairs priced at upwards of $2,000.
In a statement to Global BC, Stewart’s office noted that council had approved the Capital Projects Budget last winter. That budge included money “to maintain the City Hall building and other City assets.”
“To have the mayor crying wolf and asking all of taxpayers across Canada for money just to keep the city afloat during COVID and the economic mess that it’s caused, and then to turn around and have more than $300,000 of deluxe, luxury office furniture delivered to city hall? It’s a slap in the face,” Sims says.
This is not the first time the City of Vancouver has been called out for frivolous spending this summer. It was just months ago, in May, that the city faced backlash for budgeting $95,000 for a social media coordinator when nearly 2,000 employees had been temporarily laid off amid the pandemic.
Stewart defended the controversial changes to the city’s spending, saying the job hadn’t been filled yet and that the one position in question was “one position out of the ten thousand that we hire here has not been hired.”
The mayor added, “you’re talking about a potential hiring of $95,000 dollars. I can understand how, in these circumstances, you may want to focus on a small part of the budget, but I have to look at the entire economy. In this city, communicating with good citizens is very, very important, especially when all of us are physically distancing.”
The city’s communications department has more than 40 staff.

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