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Mayor to make annual address at Richmond Chamber of Commerce event

Tickets will cost $38 and participants will need to register with the Chamber ahead of the event.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie will be giving his annual address Tuesday at a special Richmond Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel.

Tickets will cost $38 and participants will need to register with the Chamber ahead of the event at 11:30 a.m.

Brodie will address city council's term goals since the last civic election in 2011 and outline the future progress of the city in this the final year of the current council.

According to a City of Richmond press release some highlights to be addressed include:
·         more than $2.7 billion in new building activity in Richmond since 2010;
·         Richmond’s $123.7 million Major Facilities Building Program, which will see construction and opening of  several; new facilities including an aquatic centre, older adults centre, main fire hall and City Centre Community Centre between 2015 and 2017;
·         more than 500 new units of affordable housing for Richmond; and
·         BC’s first urban fire hall/ambulance station joint facility.

For over a decade as mayor Brodie has traditionally given his speech at City Hall during a city council meeting in December.

Because of low attendance Brodie said he wanted to move it to a place with a "broad audience."

"Our traditional approach has been to have an annual address at the first council meeting in December and invariably, including the media and excluding the staff, there are a handful of people at best," said Brodie.

"So it seems to me that given the opportunity to present to a much larger audience — people who are very much involved in the affairs of Richmond — that this provided a good opportunity to do that," Brodie added.

When asked why he chose to address the Chamber and not another organization in the city he responded:

"Because the Chamber is an important partner of the city and we want to work with the Chamber and this is a good way to be mutually supportive."

Brodie noted that giving the annual address outside of city council has been done in Burnaby and Surrey. Last year Surrey's mayor Diane Watts gave her 'state of the city' address at a hotel as well.

When asked if he thinks the luncheon could exclude poor people from attending, Brodie responded: "Not at all. Not when we publish a more detailed version on the (city’s) website.”

He added, “The Chamber has frequent luncheons that are well attended. This would be the best way to get the message across to people who are very involved in civic affairs.”

Brodie said that holding the annual address elsewhere in a public setting still wouldn't meet the broad targeted audience of the Chamber.

And if there are any complaints about ticket costs, he noted that until now the event has been free, but people didn’t attend.

"When you're not going to take advantage of it when it is free, it's hard for me to accept the criticism for that," said Brodie.