- BC Games
UBCM hotel stays cost Township taxpayers $2,700
Three of the four Langley Township councillors who attended the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Vancouver opted to stay at the Pan Pacific hotel, a decision that cost $2,700.
Figures released by the Township show councillor Grant Ward stayed five days at a cost of $1,601.85, councillor Bob Long stayed two nights at a cost of $757.74 and councillor Bev Dornan stayed one night at a cost of $320.37.
Councillor Steve Ferguson opted to commute.
The Pan Pacific is located next to the Vancouver Convention Centre where the 2013 UBCM convention was held from Sept. 16 to Sept. 20.
Its website describes the 503-room Pan Pacific as “an unparalleled downtown luxury hotel destination, with sweeping views of the Coastal Mountains, Coal Harbour and Vancouver’s city skyline.”
It charges $275 a night plus taxes and a parking fee of $39 a night.
Councillor Ward made no apologies for staying at the hotel, saying it allowed him to attend valuable early morning pre-conference meetings that began at 7 a.m.
“I do them [the early meetings] all,” Ward said.
“Our municipality deserves to be there to represent our citizens.”
Councillor Bob Long managed to trim his expenses by staying with some friends for part of the convention.
“I’m always looking for these [kinds of savings]” said Long, who did the same thing when he attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference and Trade Show from May 31 to June 3 at the same Vancouver Convention Centre.
“I think our citizens, our taxpayers, expect us to represent them,” Long said.
Councillor Dornan decided to commute every day except the last one to keep her hotel bill as low as possible and discovered a lot gets done during the early morning hours while she was navigating rush-hour traffic into Vancouver.
“I missed half the convention,” Dornan said.
Councillor Steve Ferguson, who was making the same trip, said he would leave around 7 a.m. and arrive around 9 a.m.
“I was able to get some stuff done at home and in the community and have some good contributions to some of the things that were going on at the UBCM,” said Ferguson.
“I have no objections to my colleagues staying at hotels or not staying.” he added.
Ferguson said sending Township council representatives to the UBCM produces tangible benefits, such as the deal with CN last year that contributed $25,000 to the Derek Doubleday Arboretum.
Two members of Langley City council, acting mayor Ted Schaffer and Councillor Dave Hall, attended the UBCM convention, but opted to commute rather than stay at a hotel.