Image of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, Vancouver, from the hotel's e-brochure.
SUMMERSIDE – City councillors will be making their own travel arrangements after finding themselves booked into a high-priced hotel for last May’s Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual meeting in Vancouver.
Coun. Peter Holman was one of four city councillors and the mayor whose trip was financed by the taxpayers. Deputy mayor Bruce MacDougall also made the trip but, as president of the P.E.I. Federation of Municipalities, that group covered his costs.
The mayor, Holman, and councillors Jim Steele and Ron Fowling were booked into the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, while Coun. Frank Costa, made his own arrangements and stayed at a Delta Hotel. MacDougall was booked at the host hotel, the Pan Pacific.
“The way it was chosen was, first of all, we tried to get into the host hotel, the Pan Pacific and it was full,” Holman said. “Then, we tried at the Fairmount, which is across the street from the Pan Pacific, and it was full. We went by the list that FCM had provided as to the appropriate hotels, and the next one on the list was the Pacific Rim. So that’s how we ended up getting booked there. It was the third hotel that we had tried.”
Holman didn’t know whether the city employee who booked the rooms knew of the costs per night in the hotel.
“We don’t do our own booking, or hadn’t for that particular function,” he said. “We will be from now on, but up to that point we hadn’t.”
Holman said the reason why the Pacific Rim was picked was because of its close proximity to the host hotel.
“It was less than a block away,” he said.
Holman plans to have the FCM put a policy in place to deal with travel. The Summerside councillor was recently elected to the FCM’s board of directors and will be bringing the issue of travel up at the board level.
“What I will try to bring to FCM is to organize a plan which is very similar to the federal government’s,” he said. “They have a list of what they call acceptable hotels right across the country. They have a white paper list and a green paper list.”
Holman said the white paper list consists of various hotels in a variety of cities that are reasonably priced for government employees to stay in. The green list is hotels within the same cities that are higher priced.
“If for some reason they can’t get into the white paper hotels, they need to get approval to stay in a green list hotel and they have to have a justifiable reason as to why they want to stay there,” he said.
Holman will also ask the FCM to arrange a corporate rate for municipalities across Canada.