Penny’s from heaven: How Ballem could spend her $556,000 severance pay

FILE PHOTO: Dr. Penny Ballem has been let go as Vancouver city manager.
FILE PHOTO: Dr. Penny Ballem has been let go as Vancouver city manager. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The City of Vancouver’s decision to part ways with their city manager Dr. Penny Ballem caused a little more than a minor stir yesterday. Especially since the city has to pay Ballem, who has been in the role since 2008, per her contract, a severance of $556,000.

What could Ballem spend that sizeable severance cheque on? Global News had a look at some of the items she could potentially buy with just over $500,000.

Medical Pursuits

A physician and clinical professor at the University of British Columbia Medical School in the hematology and bone marrow transplant department, perhaps she’ll consider investing in a few pieces of medical equipment?

If she wants to watch her pennies, Ballem can purchase two used Tesla Mobile MRI Units on eBay or splurge on one newer, high-end Toshiba Titan model. For her work in hematology, the former city manager can purchase 32 high-speed centrifuges or 5,673 petri dishes.

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A major backer of the Vancouver Olympics, if Ballem would like to catch the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she could get a business class ticket on Air Canada for $5,781 (with one stop in Calgary and one stop in Toronto) and the presidential suite at the newly-opened Rio Hilton for $599 a night. Full cost would be $10,183 to stay until the end of the Olympics. The remaining $545,817 could be used for tickets to various events, food and souvenirs.

Now if Ballem wanted to remain in the sports world on a more permanent basis and dabble in owning a professional sports team, she’d be more than a little shy on having enough BUT she would be able to buy 2,224 shares in the NFL team, the Green Bay Packers.

Real Estate

Turning to real estate in the Lower Mainland, if Ballem wanted to maximize her dollar she could buy a house in Chilliwack for $489,999 or if that’s too far from the action, a one-bedroom condo on Pacific Street in Yaletown.

Luxury Item

An item that may be frivolous but luxurious nonetheless, she could buy a 2015 Rolls Royce Phantom for $480,175.

Good eats

Living in Vancouver is synonymous with eating sushi. If Ballem wanted to have a feast at Tojo’s, one of Vancouver’s top sushi restaurants, she could treat herself and 10,109 of her closest friends to an assortment of sushi/nigiri.

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Ballem grew up in the Westmount area of Montreal and completed her undergraduate studies at McGill University. If she frequented Montreal, she could buy 29,700 smoked meat sandwiches from Schwartz’s Deli (at $9.35 each) or buy 25,300 poutines ($10.95 each) from La Banquise in Montreal, which was voted as having one of the best poutines in the city.





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