The facts disagree with Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt

Evelina Halsey-Brandt denied the truth, so the truth must be told again.

First, let’s travel back in time to March 2010, soon after Richmond council voted to fund the purchase of the Garden City Lands. The Halsey-Brandt couple on council criticized the price.

In a letter in the Review, I referred to a December 2008 council meeting where “Coun. Greg Halsey-Brandt said a Richmond offer to buy the Garden City Lands should be based on the value of the Walmart property across Alderbridge Road.”

Thanks to the city clerk’s mp3 audio file, we can listen to that 2008 meeting in progress (click here). The voice is Harold Steves’: “We have already heard the Halsey-Brandt team suggesting that we pay the highest market value for the property based on what Walmart is paying next door.” He goes on to talk about the Halsey-Brandt team suggesting “millions of dollars an acre,” and Evelina interrupts with “We’re not the Halsey-Brandt team!”

The same recording gives us Greg Halsey-Brandt (click here): “As I understand it, there is or was an application by Walmart, right beside it, just north across the street, so in terms of evaluating the land values, I think sort of the standard is set in the community of what any negotiator would tell you what property values are worth.” (That street is Alderbridge.)

We also hear Evelina (click here) on what it would cost to acquire the lands: “It’s going to be based on how the land is properly assessed by the assessment authority, and which is with what would be adjacent uses, which is your Cambie area.” (The Walmart property is there.)

Travelling forward to March 2010 again, we read this in a letter from Evelina to the Richmond Review: “I was shocked by the false and misleading statements Jim Wright made. Wright and everyone who follows council meetings knows that at no time did I nor Coun. Greg Halsey-Brandt say that Richmond’s offer to buy the Garden City lands should be based on the value of the Walmart property across Alderbridge Road.”

In the words of the Review’s acting editor at the time, Evelina “pulled the audio tapes from that meeting to confirm her own account. She was quite clear on this.”

That told me that audio of the meeting in question might exist. I said it couldn’t possibly agree with the councillor, but I had no access to it until long afterward.

Ironically, the Evelina letter calls me defamatory, malicious and libelous.

The letter was harmful to the community. As unpaid community service, I’ve spent four years helping the people of Richmond to understand a complex issue, and my credibility that was trashed is needed for that.

The damage would also affect the Garden City Lands Coalition, the citizens who stopped what Evelina advocated—dense development on a large green area in the city centre. We need our credibility for the next stage, ensuring that the park there will meet local needs in a fitting way and inspire the world.

“Is she just a complete liar then?” That’s a citizen’s comment on this blog story about Evelina Halsey-Brandt.

My view: The essence of “lie” is intent to deceive, and Evelina’s intent is unclear. She seems to believe that whatever she says is true, no matter what the facts show. So “complete liar” goes too far.

But it’s wise not to trust what she says.

___________

Note re audio: For context, one can download the final third of the 2008-12-08 meeting. You will find the quoted material at approximately 23:53 (Greg Halsey-Brandt), 48:32 (Evelina Halsey-Brandt), and 52:32 (Harold Steves). Please let us know by email if you encounter any difficulty with that.

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2 Comments »

  1. 1
    Julian Hudson Says:

    Is she just a complete liar then? Because at the all-candidate’s answer session at the Senior’s Centre, she stood up and explicitly said that she and the rest of council were now absolutely opposed to development of the land! I wish I had recorded that statement. A statement was also made (I can’t remember from whom) that using the land in a “green” way may just be what is needed to avert the Musqueum’s lawsuit.
    I was going to vote for her, but it seems I have been duped by her charming demeanor!

    • 2
      kewljim Says:

      Yes, Evelina has apparently managed to give a misleading impression to a lot of people, judging from what we’ve heard by email. At the meeting you attended, Evelina mentioned “amenities” several times as uses for that lands. “Amenities” is a term that was used in the 2008 ALR-exclusion application to refer to a range of uses that went far beyond ALR uses. Of course, only a few very knowledgeable and alert individuals in the room would know that what she was including (by means of the word “amenities”)in what she said she intended to support for the lands. It could include non-ALR uses, and its unlikely that someone who knows the connotation of the term would use it without intending non-ALR uses. However, Evelina could advocate almost anything (perhaps arenas, community centres, or the new aqautic centre) and still be able to claim to just be doing what she said she intended to do.


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