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With Metro Vancouver term ending, Delta mayor pulls out of Amsterdam trip

George Harvie says he does not ‘wish to be a distraction’ as travel expenses raise questions
Delta Mayor George Harvie speaking to the crowd at the City of Delta’s sixth annual raising of the Progress Pride flag to mark the start of Pride Month on Monday, May 27, 2024. On Tuesday, May 28, Harvie announced that, with his term as Metro Vancouver board chair ending July 1, he would no longer be participating in an upcoming trip to the Netherlands to attend the International Conference on Urban Drainage and study tour on green infrastructure, saying he did not “wish to be a distraction to the ongoing work at Metro Vancouver.” (James Smith/North Delta Reporter photo)

Delta Mayor George Harvie says he will no longer be travelling to Amsterdam in June to attend a conference as chair of of Metro Vancouver’s board.

On Tuesday afternoon (May 28), Harvie released a statement through Metro Vancouver saying that, with his term as board chair coming to an end, he had decided not to participate in the trip.

“I have come to the difficult decision to forego this learning opportunity,” Harvie said. “I do not wish to be a distraction to the ongoing work at Metro Vancouver.”

In recent weeks, Harvie has increasingly come under fire for the planned trip and his claimed expenses at Metro Vancouver. Airfare alone for the trip to the Netherlands reportedly comes in at about $5,300.

This after Delta council voted unanimously on May 6 to rescind Harvie’s appointment to the board of Metro Vancouver, effective July 1.

A pair of statements signed by four of six councillors cited “council’s loss of confidence in the mayor’s ability to effectively represent the city’s interests at Metro Vancouver,” alluding to a “series of regrettable actions” and failures of leadership by Harvie.

Council initially wanted to end the mayor’s time on the board immediately, but were persuaded by Harvie to give him more time in order to fulfil his obligations as board chair and “leave the office there in good stead.” The trip to Amsterdam was among those obligations.

READ MORE: Mayor says ousting from Metro board politically motivated as move divides Delta council

Harvie was set to visit the Netherlands to attend the International Conference on Urban Drainage and a study tour on green infrastructure from June 7 to 16.

The trip includes meetings with the City of Rotterdam and the City of Amsterdam and provide “opportunities to learn from experts about innovative solutions to urban drainage and flooding,” according to Harvie’s statement.

“Lessons learned on this trip align with Metro Vancouver’s work to develop and update the Liquid Waste Management Plan and Drinking Water Management Plan, long-term plans that will help Metro Vancouver ensure ongoing effective delivery of these core services for decades to come.”

In addition to his role as board chair, Harvie also serves as chair of both Metro Vancouver’s financial plan task force and North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant program task force.

Those roles will also end when his time on the board concludes July 1, however Harvie will remain a member of Metro Vancouver’s Mayors Committee.

Taking over Harvie’s seat on the board will be Coun. Rod Binder, with Coun. Jennifer Johal serving as alternate.

Coun. Dylan Kruger retains his seat on the board, with Coun. Daniel Boisvert still serving as alternate.

SEE ALSO: Pattullo Bridge replacement delayed again, now projected to open in 2025

James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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