Former SODC CEO Paid $218 per hour

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Dec 28, 2013

A Freedom of Information request by the Squamish Reporter offers a partial glimpse into consultant costs that led to a bloated Oceanfront debt.

The FOI reveals SODC paid its CEO, Drew Stotesbury, at $218.75 per hour worked plus GST/HST to a daily maximum of $1750 plus GST/HST.

Drew-MAIN

Drew Stotesbury

Stotesbury was the CEO of SODC from March 2009 to July 2010.

His company, Ground Control Enterprises Limited, offered financial and operational advice to real estate, resort, and other sectors.

Ground Control also worked with SODC to develop the Oceanfront development.

The company was paid $621, 865.83 for its services.

Another company working for the Oceanfront, GroundEffects Development was paid $566,906.38.

David Greenfield, one of its executives, was paid $219/ hour Plus GST to a maximum per day of $1750/day Plus GST.

Another executive, Trevor Dunn, was paid $156/hour Plus GST to a maximum per day of $1250/day plus GST.

This is a mere sliver of information on consultant payouts, but the district and the SODC now seem willing to release more information on consultants and the nature of work done by them.

Beginning in late January, the SODC will present a greater level of financial detail to the community with regards to SODC’s financial statements.

Mayor Rob Kirkham said the financial statements will be expanded to include the list of consultants that have worked on the Oceanfront project.

The statements will also include the scope of the work that has been completed.

David Greenfield: $219/ hour Plus GST to a maximum per day of $1750/day Plus GST.

Trevor Dunn: $156/hour Plus GST to a maximum per day of $1250/day plus GST.

Considerable work is required to extract this level of detail from records dating back 10 years that exist in various formats, said Kirkham.

This work will get underway in late January following SODC’s annual audit in the New Year.

“The current financial statements provide the level of detail that’s legally required,” he said.

“We want to provide greater detail to the community and have asked the SODC to provide that.”

In the last two years, SODC has scuttled the flow of information by putting a heavy price tag on it. In 2012, SODC demanded $4514.39 to provide answers for questions related to pay-outs for its 120 consultants.

Recently, SODC also refused to say which companies set expression of interest for the Oceanfront project.

Meanwhile, the district said negotiations to finalize a land transaction for the Squamish Oceanfront Lands are underway and will continue into the New Year.

Mayor Rob Kirkham said large and multi-faceted development sites such as the Oceanfront lands present ‘exceptionally complex scenarios’ that represent significant cost and risk to a developer.

“The meetings have been very productive to date with both sides working hard to reach a positive outcome,” he said.

Comments

  1. Douglas R. Day says:

    The monies paid out to these three particular consultants is nothing short of scandelous!
    Millions of dollars within a year and a half to accomplish absolutely nothing.
    The incompetence of the SODC Board of Directors in overseeing the hiring and monitoring of these three consultants and in getting value for momey spent, has reached new highs for foolishness and stupidity.
    Perhaps these former Board Members and these consultants themselves, should be made to repay these squandered funds to the people Squamish, in much the same way the wayward Senators from Ottawa are being forced to repay bogus expense claims!

  2. Dave says:

    I would very much like to see someone put a spade into the ground before I die….or perhaps we need a need a new “Consultant” to show us where this should be!!! How much would that cost, I wonder?
    Thanks Douglas for “calling a spade, a spade”.

  3. Gailforce says:

    we the people of this community should sue for our tax money being wasted like this. it’s an unbelievable disgrace what is happening in this town.

    how can the board members of the sodc and the municipal council take advantage of their neighbors and friends like this? squandering tax money that people have to work so hard to get.

    we pay it to the municipality thinking that they have our best interests in mind, only to find that they don’t. it disgusts me and it should alarm every member of this community. how much can be stolen before we scream “STOP”.

    a municipality is no different than an individual or a family. you have to budget and live within your means. you don’t just spend whatever you feel like, because in your mind you can always go back to the pot of gold, raise the taxes and get more.

  4. Jim Lorman says:

    Lets see, you have to pay the big bucks to get the best people, right!! If these people were paid this ridiculous amount of money to accomplish very little, what would it cost to get someone who could be productive.?? Maybe our administration should put a performance clause in these contracts, and hold back a % util the job is done right. The shysters would back away and we would get someone who was worth their asking price for consulting work.

  5. Brad Hodge says:

    It is a bit frustrating that it requires an FOI to get information that should be in the public domain anyway, given that this corporation is owned and controlled by the District, which is answerable to us (in theory).

    Not to suggest anything actually nefarious is going on. I once sat on a board that had to make a call on a major expense lacking expertise in the particular field, and did its best to consult experts and determine the way forward. Turned out we could have done better, and we got chewed out for it, but there was never any intention to do anything but what we thought was right. I’d like to think that our Mayor and Council aren’t actually engaged in an active effort to rip us off. It could well be that they have done as the experts recommended, and now, hindsight being 20/20, regret it.

    That of course, is an advertisement for not getting into things you aren’t experts on to begin with though. In the case of our board, we didn’t have a choice, the decisions we had to make were part and parcel with our responsibilities of management. The District had a choice, and increasingly it seems like we might have made the wrong one. Hopefully we learn from it and don’t ever attempt to play developer again.

  6. Nelson Winterburn says:

    The company was paid $621, 865.83 for its services.
    Another company working for the Oceanfront, GroundEffects Development was paid $566,906.38.
    The above sentences refer to one and the same thing. These are not separate Payments!
    Doug Day has written many letters to the Squamish newspapers’ editors and in one out of ten writings, I might agree with his remarks. The above letter is not one of those with which I agree. Two issues are a problem to me: the first is his departure from the facts, and the second is the amount of his complaints lie totally out of context with reality.

    Happy New Year Doug!

  7. Douglas R. Day says:

    The Big Picture, Mr. Winterburn, is that over a period of some 9 years, with various SODC Board Members, and City Councillors with virtually none of them having a whit of real estate finance and development experience, some $10 Million Dollars has been pissed away on dozens of consultants none of whose work added a nickle of value to these lsnds.
    The good people of Squamish are now on the hook to repay these monies which could have been more wisely spent on much needed facilities for our town, such as a new ice rink, more all weather soccer fields and the like.
    My writings to the Squamish newspapers almost always involved me complaining about wasteful spending of our hard earned tax dollars.
    That will continue, and I stand by my earlier comments above, regards the wasteful and reckless spending of money to these three particular consultants, who charged us the most, and delivered the least, for their questionable services.

    • Jason Bechard says:

      Don’t worry Doug there are a few of us that actually read what you write and agree with you on many points. I too have been warning people about this farce with that little bit of polluted shifting land we just apparently spent a million or so dollars to have nothing accomplished on.

      The land should be sold by realtors for its current market value and the district should keep their noses out of anything like that in the future. There is nothing they can build on that land that isn’t going to sink into the ocean over time without extensive pilings around the whole area.

      The dreamers and the tree huggers need to keep their noses out of real estate unless they willing to put their own money into it.

  8. Dave says:

    This is copied from Susan Millar’s article on “To the Mayor and Council” (see left):

    WOW! No wonder this District is strapped for money to pay for essential services, infrastructure etc. So many times they rarely take any notice of the consultants anyway, going on to find new ones. Go back a few decades and work forward and you’ll see what I mean….I despair!
    I am very curious to see what kind of an education is required to be a “Consultant”….like how many mail order courses you have to take etc. I may have made a wrong set of choices in mine….ah well :-)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Does Doug Day even live in Squamish?

  10. Anonymous says:

    The District of Squamish should never get involved in Development.
    The district of Squamish has a long history of telling developers what to do and how to do it.
    And that is one of the reasons the rest of the lower mainland is growing while Squamish is suffering slow growth and a bad reputation.

  11. Don Patrick says:

    It is evident that many of the opponents have never had to hire consultants or advisories above and beyond their own levels of expertise… hell worked in the international aircraft industry 40 years ago and $150.00 + a hour was the going rate… now the results were usually more definite and controlled but then that can be the result of many unexpected and unforeseen actions. I would never accept less than $75.00 an hour during my working tenure… and really was a master of nothing… lets loosen up and get into the modern era. Every since they gave the people of Squamish a say in the SODC future the destiny became unknown and the ride was based on dreams., plus the fact that we seem to have a society of entitlement, with respect and dedication out the door. For the record a Consultant is someone who knows a little bit more about a subject at hand than you and offers that information for a price…you take it or leave it…. plus the consultant is considered obsolete on the subject matter after around five years absence, so buyer beware.

  12. Angus C Ramage says:

    Doug Day lives in Vancouver in a very nice high end neighborhood and I can assure u he only cares about himself and his pocket book. Remember he was more than willing to contribute his parcel of land ( garabaldi golf ) to the district in exchange for development rights. Does anyone who reads this think for one second that if the existing council said hey Doug let’s have a
    Closed door meeting and see what we can do for you , that he wouldn’t.

  13. Dave says:

    Ok Guys. I alerted Council about this discussion and at least two had no idea about it.
    SO, if you want input then DO NOT RELY JUST ON THESE FORUMS TO AIR YOUR VIEWS! Send a letter to all Council members and exercise your democratic rights OR DON’T COMPLAIN!

    • Eric Andersen says:

      On the subject of SODC lands I think it’s useless, Dave. A large part of the community have given up (pushed aside, concerns ignored) since years ago. It seems pretty much all members of Council have been won over by the dreamscape visions Don Patrick refers to.

  14. Douglas R. Day says:

    Actually, Douglas R. Day lives about 1/3 of his life in Squamish,, 1/3 in Vancouver and 1/3 at his 100 Acre Waterfront Estate property in Desolation Sound.
    In Squamish, he can usually be found in heavy work clothes, out tending to maintenance chores on his 145 Acre Garibaldi Springs Estate property.
    He regularly has lunch at either the Garibaldi Springs Maintenance Yard Staff trailer or at the Living Room Restaurant or the new Tim Hortons. ( his favourite)
    He is easy to find and welcome to open discussions on a wide range of topics.
    He is very much interested in the success and future of Squamish.
    He has no current re-development plans for his properties in Squamish and no development applications are outstanding or contemplated.
    He continues to build and sell homes and building lots on his University Heights and Ravens Plateau properties and has done so right through the very tough times that Squamish has recently experienced.
    There are no approvals required for University Heights or Ravens Plateau other than simple Building Permits conforming to all applicable Codes, Zoning etc.
    He is actually starting two more spec homes at University Heights in January.
    So some of you might try to somehow marginalize Doug Day if it gives you pleasure.
    It will not affect his life, his happiness, his warm relationships with his family, his friends and his business associates and Squamish Tradespeople or his desire to see Squamish succeed.
    His companies have employed mostly the same Squamish Trades people for over 10 years, and guess what? They get paid in full every 30 days and have done so for 10 years, through the good times and bad times.
    And his apologies to those from Squamish, who perhaps think he should not be entitled to live in a nice neighbourhood
    He thinks that after being self employed and struggling and working hard since he left public High School 49 years go, ( with barely a 60% grade average) that he just might be entitled to live in a nice neighbourhood
    He will not continue this debate online, but would be happy to do so at the local Tim Hortons any time

    • Jason Bechard says:

      FABULOUS! HAHAHAHAHA. Let’s do lunch sometime Doug.

    • Scott McQuade says:

      Excellent ! best thing I’ve read in years Doug. I might not agree with you on everything, but good on you for putting yourself out there and ,unfortunately , having to defend yourself online.

      The waste at DOS is nothing short of shameful. I don’t blame the consultants one bit though. They named their price, highlighted their services, and somebody approved it. If a consultant convinced me their services were worth $1750 per day I’d hold them accountable BEFORE I paid them, and after that I’d have nobody to blame but myself.

      Most of the accountability rests with the people who approved this, and let’s not forget to hold some accountability to those who tried to suppress the info.

      Scott McQuade
      Squamish

  15. Angus Ramage says:

    Council has been alerted and has no idea. That is the first correct thing I have heard so far. They have no idea Dave that’s what the problem is. One council member ( PH ) was on global news and asked about the LNG plant and she said the thinga magiggers they make over there and then proceeded to point out the negative impacts. WOW how embarrassing for the people of Squamish. Shame on all of us we elected them.

    • Jason Bechard says:

      No…you elected them. I didn’t vote for any of the asshats on council at this time. No thats the lie. I voted for the guy that ran his own IT company hoping he would get some the tech sector rolling here. But that failed as well.

  16. Jaime Duarte says:

    It makes my blood boil to have things like this happen to the Squamish tax payers. I can hardly afford to live here anymore because the taxes are so high, and to have the people that we elected and trusted to have our best interest,. just foolishly throw away money that all tax payers work so hard for,. It makes my blood boil. No consultation with the residents, before approving such outrageous wages. Some of us don’t make $200 per day,. How can anyone approve that kind of wage ? Maybe we should ask the ones that approved it to pay it back. Fire them all and no compensation at all, and never allow them to ever work for the district of Squamish.

  17. Dave Fenn says:

    I think if you were going to hire a CEO in a position like this, you hire someone at a salary of $200k annually who has proven experience to deliver. Not an hourly rate. It looks like this hourly method cost three times as much. It may be a position for someone in the twilight of their career who lives in the larger region, and wants to see a new quality development flourish on Howe Sound. Their interest probably should not be more than that. Let’s start having a quality dialogue on this development, and cut the personal attacks. The town deserves better.

  18. Susan Chapelle says:

    Much appreciate the comments here, dealing with history of bad spending is every council’s nightmare. I could not agree more, consultants fee’s were out of hand, and not money well spent for our community. I can say that the land is complicated, brownfield, and lacks infrastructure. It has taken a team, and a community, all well intentioned to develop a public sub area plan, that if built as the community requires will take millions upon millions (upon millions) to service. The fact we are in budget right now, and having looked back 20 years at previous budgets, I can tell you that Squamish enjoyed some hay day of little residential tax payments while industry picked up the bill up until recently, where we all enjoyed (not) 13-15% hikes. Not much was saved in the past, not anything was put into infrastructure nor planning, and since there was no planning, there was no infrastructure maintenance. Yes, tons spent on consultants, but some great plans with no money to implement. If we are not prepared financially to implement a plan, then it is not time to hire consultants.

    Hope everyone has a happy new year, and I hope you are all reviewing the district finances which can be found online at:
    http://www.squamish.ca/yourgovernment/budget-financial-statements-and-annual-reports/2014-budget/

    Please send any comments to council, or to staff, or to me. If anyone wants in person to yell at me, please get in touch. I can be found at slchapelle@me.com or schapelle@squamish.ca
    More than happy to meet in person.

    Sometimes a good hissy fit at a member of council feels great.

    I will add here that January 6th is the transit standing committee at 6pm council chambers, topics to include industry transportation, and highway safety/closures.

    Happy holidays!

    Susan Chapelle

  19. Larry McLennan says:

    First Re: Doug Day-I have had some issues with Dougie but Dougie , rightly or wrongly, calls them as he sees them and, in this case , I believe the vast majority of Squamish taxpayers concur with wee Dougie’s comments. Doug’s detractors regarding this scandal seem to be to “shoot the messenger” to deflect the actual message- that of a scandalous abuse of the taxpayers’ monies and an apparent attempt to obfuscate the facts pertaining to the monetary abuse.
    Regarding the current response to the now revealed situation re; the payouts; it appears that the mayor is bloviating about complexities with regard to the expenditures and the results of those expenditures. I believe that a quick and efficient way to categorize where the monies were spent is to produce detailed general ledgers for each year in question-approximate time required assuming the files have been saved-1 hour. Next- go through the details to find whatever devils lie within. Next provide the consultant reports to find what the results were and, to what degree, these reports were acted on or were productive in any way. Next, determine why these costs were accounted for as capital items as opposed to being expensed especially if they , the reports, were deemed to be obsolete or of little or no value to the SODC.
    Finally to the voters and taxpayers of Squamish-next election remember who these Councillors are and, if they are running for re-election, vote for someone else. I doubt if any of the current council are competent when it comes to financial management of the people’s finances. They want to spend $65,000 on , yes , a consultant to “brand”‘ Squamish and , at the same time are facing spending challenges on required services and infrastructure. If it wasn’t so ironically in sync with the situation at SODC ; it would be a joke. Unbelievable!

  20. bob says:

    And council complains about a firefighter making $37 per hour

  21. Douglas R. Day says:

    Thank you for your comments Larry.
    And just in case we all forget, it is our. “did he jump or was he pushed out” so called “retired” Banker, now reincarnated as our Mayor Kirkham, who, when Manager of Scotia Bank here, loaded up the SODC with $10 Million in debt, then forced the District of Squamish to issue an unconditional Guaranty of that debt, thereby forcing the D.O.S. to firesale these lands to a former Director of SODC,. All this after a so called “World Wide search” for an interested Buyer.
    This is right out of a B rated Movie script.
    The Mob couldn’t have set that up better.
    Now there’s a story for another DAY.

  22. G_h says:

    As Doug alludes to … the last piece of this ugly business that needs full disclosure is how the SODC was transformed from an entity clearly ring-fenced from the district (in other words: no liability to taxpayers) to being fully-guaranteed by the district. My suspicion is that a large part of the reason was face-saving by the crew that derailed the 2006 Qualex deal and who would otherwise have seen the SODC default on its debt under their watch.

  23. Richard Tripp says:

    Hopefully David and Trevor had enough ethics and moral sense to not bill the SODC for the work which was related to the gondola they eventually went on to build.

  24. Larry McLennan says:

    And, from an earlier Squamish reporter story regarding consultant reports , one gets the impression that some of these reports were more or even completely related to DOS interests rather than SODC interests yet they were charged to the SODC. As I queried then , I now again query= How much of these costs actually should be charged to SODC and how much or how many should not have been charged? It gives me the impression that DOS has been using the SODC credit lines as a source of funding improperly. If this is the case then Council should submit its resignations for every one involved in such impropriety. If this fiscal impropriety is true whoever authorized it should be exposed. I don’t believe that any vows of secrecy/confidentiality apply for such endeavors.

  25. Anonymous says:

    After a couple years of being a politician now I put little to no fault on the consultants here. Who the hell is driving the bus at city hall is the real question. We had a contract at The SLRD a few months ago come up for approval. Only myself and one other Director asked staff to go back and tell the consultant we had X amount of money and that’s it. You want the work or not? The remainder of the board voted in favour of the larger contract amount. Absolutely unbelievable. Having been in business for a number of years all pricing/rates are negotiable, regardless of what your selling or offering as a service. Now this property is saddle with debt and still no bus driver! Numerous experts have come and gone, numerous councillors have come and gone… Sure hope the DOS makes a pile of money off this sale as there have been a number of offers rejected throughout the years. We shall see.
    Maurice Freitag

    • Wolfgang W says:

      Thanks for coming forward with your name, Moe. I agree with your comment about the consultants. They may well have delivered what they were mandated to consult about and thus satisfied the dreamers, their dreams having taken shape at least on paper through this expensive exercise, but has the taxpayer of Squamish received value for money? Will the subarea plan this led to stand the vagaries of the market and the test of time? Not even then SODC brass are so sure about it, mumbling in a recent interview about likely changes during a 20-year-build-out.

      Let’s keep our fingers crossed during the ongoing negotiation and hope all will come to a satisfactory conclusion for attention at muni-hall at last to bet refocused on other urgent matters again.

  26. Wolfgang W says:

    Wow, an ‘anonymous’ politician, now that’s something new! Why the shyness as to identity?

  27. Larry McLennan says:

    The only piles you’ll see coming out of the SODC are of the bovine ilk. If and when that $ 65 K gets spent on branding Squamish will have the same result as a regular type of branding ie another hot poker up the butt for the community.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Wolfgang don’t ” ass ume” shyness, trust , I am not the shy politician in the corridor!

    Maurice Freitag

    • Wolfgang W says:

      Now we know and appreciated! Just a minor hiccup because of your pseudonym and initial omission of name :)

  29. LArry McLennan says:

    Hopefully Frietag will run for Squamish council next time up. If he has a few friends with a likemind attitude with respect to finances and common sense maybe they can run as a slate. Approving a proposal when the money isn’t there – unfortunately it seems that this isn’t a rare occurrance. Current Council for Squamish- $65 K for a slogan but no cash for essentials-Gong show on 99- how’s that for a slogan?