Cody Battershill @codyincalgary (external - login to view)
Why did #TidesUSA (external - login to view) Buy 150 acres right next door to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson?
With the U.S. in tough times, one would think that American charities would be doing all they can to help out at home. The last thing that I would have expected is that the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation ("Tides USA") would pay over a million dollars for a 150 acre park on Cortes Island, in British Columbia. But to my surprise, this is precisely what Tides USA recently announced (external - login to view). Tides USA initially purchased the land in 2007 (external - login to view) and held it in a numbered company in Vancouver, tax returns show (external - login to view) (see below). Locally, this 150 acre property is known as Hanks Beach.
In September of 2011, Tides USA announced (external - login to view) that it had purchased Hank's Beach along with Renewal Partners, and was donating it to the Strathcona Regional District, under the Ecological Gifts Program (external - login to view) of Environment Canada.
One of the larger projects of Tides USA is a "Tar Sands Campaign" against Alberta oil. In 2009 and 2010, Tides USA paid $10 million to 43 small, environmental groups (external - login to view) for their involvement in this campaign, tax returns show. Tides USA and Tides Canada also spend roughly $20 million annually on consultants, $15 million (external - login to view) and $5 million (external - login to view), respectively. Who they are and what they do is not made public.
In the run-up to the 2008 election, Vision Vancouver's biggest financial backer was the former chair of Tides USA, Joel Solomon. He's a central figure in a tightly knit web of organizations funded by Tides USA and Tides Canada. In a rather candid interview last year, Solomon told the Huffington Post (external - login to view), that the election of Mayor Robertson was the result of "nearly 20 years of moving in a purposeful direction."
Even before this new 150 acre ocean-front park, Cortes Island already had two large parks and vast tracts of crown land - and only 1,150 residents.
By way of comparison, Stanley Park, Vancouver's biggest park is about 1,000 acres. In terms of size, buying Hanks' Beach is equivalent to buying about 15 percent of Stanley Park. That's a lot of land.
more strange going-ons
Why did Tides USA Buy 150 acres on Cortes Island - right next door to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson? - Rethink Campaigns (external - login to view)