Preaching from the chamber choir

On April 30, the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce used paid space in the North Shore Outlook to promote $225 million in recent local infrastructure investments. The advertisement specifically thanked provincial Liberal legislators Katherine Whittred, Joan McIntyre, Ralph Sultan and Daniel Jarvis for working with "senior levels of government" to secure that funding. And it featured a quote from chamber president Naomi Yamamoto, who had earlier taken a leave of absence to run for the Liberals in North Vancouver-Lonsdale. But chamber chair Stephen Joyce told Public Eye the content of that advertisement has nothing to do with the election.

In an interview earlier this afternoon, Mr. Joyce explained the chamber runs an update in the North Shore Outlook each month "on either advocacy projects we've worked on on behalf of the community or things that are happening around the chamber as far as events go." And, in this case, the chamber provided an update on the infrastructure investments it had lobbied for.

But doesn't it look like the chamber is supporting Ms. Yamamoto and the Liberals by running this content during the election? "I didn't even think about it when it came out that that's what would happen. I could see, if your kind of looking for that the timing may seem odd. But the timing is the timing. It's just when we always do our newsletter and do our monthly announcement," responded Mr. Joyce.

"That said, as the chamber chair, I've remained very, very neutral and impartial to anything that's going on in the election," he continued. "I'm not involved with Naomi, I'm not involved with Janice Harris or any of the local politics that's happening because - and the board made this decision as well - we don't want to be perceived as being biased toward Naomi, being the former president. We're very cognoscente of that. So at no time are we interested at all in making any kind of endorsement of her or any other candidate."

Earlier, we reported the North Shore Credit Union, whose board of directors includes Ms. Yamamoto, gave a $7,500 donation to the Liberals late last year. The credit union's president Chris Catliff told Public Eye that contribution had nothing to do with her bid to keep North Vancouver-Lonsdale in the party's hands.

The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned advertisement.

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North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce

Executive Message

$225 Million invested in five infrastructure projects on the North Shore

The North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce applauds the partnership between the governments of Canada and the Province of BC, Port Metro Vancouver, Translink, our local municipalities, and the private sector for the commitment to invest $225 million in five infrastructure improvement projects on the North Shore. These projects will enhance rail and port operations and accommodate growth in rail and road traffic while contributing to quality of life and environmental benefits.

The five infrastructure projects include:

Brooksbank Avenue Underpass
(approx. $25.5 million)

Neptune/Cargill Grade Separation
(approx. $48.3 million)

Low Level Road Re-Alignment
(approx. $59.2 million)

Pemberton Avenue Grade Separation
(approx. $42.7 million)

Western Lower Level Route Extension to Marine Drive
($50 million committed, approx. $86.8 million cost)

The North Shore Economic Summit was organized by the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce in January of this year in response to Premier Gordon Campbell's announcement of 10 measures to improve the province's economic competitiveness and reduce costs for families and business during the anticipated global economic downturn.

"The North Shore Economic Summit was our response to the Premier's call for action," said Mike Watson, co-chair of the Summit. "This is a great example where the North Shore community came together and with one voice presented infrastructure projects to senior levels of government with a recommendation for financial support," added Watson.

The worldwide financial decline has lead to a deterioration of the Canadian economy felt in many sectors of our North Shore community. "Senior levels of government and the private sector have sought to mitigate this negative impact by investing in projects that will set the North Shore up to be very competitive post recession" stated Naomi Yamamoto, President of the North Vancouver Chamber. "The business communities of North and West Vancouver applaud these initiatives," she added.

"Special thanks to our North Shore MLAs Katherine Whittred, Joan McIntyre, Ralph Sultan and Daniel Jarvis who never lost sight of the opportunities of our North Shore ports. They worked with senior levels of government to bring these recommendations to reality," said Wayne Hunter, North Shore Economic Summit co-chair.

Contact the North Vancouver Chamber for further information.

(604) 987-4488 or visit www.nvchamber.ca

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