Date : March 6, 2001
To : John Hummell
Subject : Cape Breton and Ferry #5
Good Morning Mr. Hummell,
I have read through all of the material you sent to me on March 3rd in connection with your research on the Cape Breton and Number 5 Ferry, and have the following comments:
1. You have clearly uncovered some interesting background information with respect to memberships in the various special interest groups associated either directly or indirectly with these two projects. I do hope that the local news media see fit to further investigate the situation.
2. For the record, the various newspaper articles referenced in your research consistently incorrectly report my so-called “involvement” in the refusal of a $275,000 millennium grant for the Cape Breton project. The facts are:
(a) I was never approached by anyone to advise me that a millennium grant was being applied for and that my support was being requested.
(b) Even if I had been approached in such a manner I would have asked for proof of widespread community support (of which there is still virtually none, even after all the public controversy), and I would have advised the group(s) that there is no evidence to suggest that any grant, in my entire 8 years as MP, has ever been approved or turned down on the basis of my input. My comments are, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant to a politically motivated money dispensing system controlled by the Liberal Government.
(c) Despite statements to the contrary by a representative of the Millennium Bureau, the Ridings of BC received almost identical amounts of money in total, and in the round of grants which would have included the Cape Breton request there was less than $70,000 IN TOTAL given to North Vancouver. In other words, the $275,000 request always was unrealistic and had no hope of approval. Keep in mind that Jay Straith is a well known Liberal in our community and even he seems to have been unable to persuade the Government to fund the Cape Breton project, assuming that he tried.
(d) The bottom line, based on all of the available evidence, is that I had absolutely no involvement in the grant application, or the decision-making process, with respect to the request to the Millennium Bureau for a grant for the Cape Breton project. I suppose I make a convenient target for the disappointed supporters of the scheme, but the public do not support their project and they are having trouble accepting that fact.
3. With respect to the Number 5 Ferry, there appears to be widespread community support for its restoration. I wrote a Letter to the Editor of the North Shore News on this subject on February 25th. A copy of that letter follows:
February 25, 2001
North Shore News
1139 Lonsdale Avenue
North Vancouver, BC
For almost two years now the North Vancouver City Council has been trying to drum up public support for its multimillion dollar “rear end of the Cape Breton” project. In all of that time, despite an almost complete lack of interest by its residents, the Council has continued to allocate hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to the disassembly of what is now just a rotting hulk with trees growing on its deck. Meanwhile, in complete contrast to the public disinterest in the Cape Bretton, support for the restoration of the old Number 5 Ferry has been growing at a remarkable pace.
The fact is, virtually everyone except Council has recognized the difference between the Cape Breton, which was little more than a passing blip on the pages of North Vancouver history, and the Number 5 Ferry, which has been part of the North Vancouver waterfront for decades. Literally thousands of North Shore residents remember riding the Number 5 during its time as part of the public transportation system, but even those of us who arrived well after its engines grew silent know it as a unique waterfront restaurant which has been visited by tourists from all over the world. No surprise then that so many North Shore residents have started to talk about saving Number 5 and have begun criticizing a Council which appears unwilling to see the obvious.
So Mr. Bell, and Mayor Sharp, it’s time to tell Mr. Inglis that the maritime museum/Cape Breton project he had planned for the Burrard site is far too expensive, unrealistic, and lacks the necessary public support. Then get behind the Number 5 Ferry restoration project and help make it a permanent feature of the North Vancouver waterfront where it can become an even bigger tourist attraction than it is today. You have the power to guarantee the Number 5 a place in the Burrard redevelopment, and you have plenty of funds you can reallocate by abandoning the Cape Breton mistake. Why not put it on the agenda for next Monday night’s Council meeting.