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Former Victoria mayor calls marina lobbying 'disgusting' and 'outrageous'

Using political insiders to build support among cabinet ministers for the proposed mega-yacht marina in Victoria is “disgusting”, said former Victoria mayor Peter Pollen.

“It's so politically fraudulent,” he said, noting there is a proper public procedure to follow to get the marina approved. “The promoters are working the members . . . behind the scenes. It's just outrageous.”

The Tyee reported last week that documents show Jeff Bray, a former Liberal MLA and executive director of the Liberal caucus, arranged a meeting in 2007 with then Economic Development minister Colin Hansen for marina proponent Robert Evans and project lawyer Bruce Hallsor.

Bray, who was working as a government relations consultant at the time, did not register as a lobbyist. Most of his work was providing advice to clients and he does not recall setting up a meeting for Evans, he said.

Nor did Hallsor register. He and Evans had previously met with the then Tourism, Sports and the Arts minister, the late Stan Hagen. Hallsor, who registered as a lobbyist federally for work related to the marina proposal, said he considered registering provincially, but decided not to after consulting with another lawyer at his firm who believed Hallsor's activities did not meet the province's definition of “lobbying”.

Hallsor is president of the provincial B.C. Liberal constituency association in Victoria-Beacon Hill.

At the time Evans was seeking letters of support from the provincial cabinet ministers. The company he represents, Community Marine Concepts Ltd., has since applied to occupy 2.63 hectares in Victoria's inner harbour.

Asked about Pollen's comments and why the lobbying effort was needed, Evans said, “I've read your stuff and I'm not interested in talking to you . . . I really believe anything I say to you will turn around and bite me.”

Pollen was mayor of Victoria from 1971 to 1975 and from 1981 to 1985 Pollen. “The world is full of saints and sinners," he said. "The less sinners you can get in politics the better.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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