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Vancouver mayor ‘disappointed’ at purchase of high-end furniture for city hall, asks for review

Click to play video 'Vancouver mayor orders review of city’s purchase of expensive office furniture' Vancouver mayor orders review of city’s purchase of expensive office furniture
Vancouver mayor orders review of city's purchase of expensive office furniture

The mayor of Vancouver said he has called for a review of the purchase of new high-end office furniture for city hall.

Kennedy Stewart said Thursday he asked the city manager to look at more than $300,000 spent on furniture, including desk chairs that can retail for $1,500 each, and plastic guest chairs that can sell for up to $650 each.

Stewart’s office said Wednesday that council approved a Capital Projects Budget last December, “which included funds to maintain the City Hall building and other City assets.”

Click to play video 'City of Vancouver receives pricey furniture delivery, despite COVID-19 cash crunch' City of Vancouver receives pricey furniture delivery, despite COVID-19 cash crunch
City of Vancouver receives pricey furniture delivery, despite COVID-19 cash crunch

On Thursday, Stewart added that council doesn’t vote specifically on furniture.

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Read more: City of Vancouver loads up on new, high-end furniture amid COVID-19 cash crunch

“I was disappointed, like others yesterday, to see that this purchase had been made when we were in really quite tough financial times,” he said.

“I can assure folks that going forward… our focus will be square on making sure that all necessary funds are spent on tackling COVID and getting us all back on track.”

Click to play video 'Vancouver mayor responds to criticism on designer furniture purchase for city hall' Vancouver mayor responds to criticism on designer furniture purchase for city hall
Vancouver mayor responds to criticism on designer furniture purchase for city hall

Global BC cameras were present last week as a batch of designer-brand Herman Miller furniture was delivered to the building.

The equipment was part of a $2.6-million renovation for city hall’s second floor, the City of Vancouver confirmed Wednesday.

READ MORE: Vancouver mayor says 25% of city may be unable to pay property taxes due to COVID-19

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Under the contract, the city will not pay retail price for the furniture, according to the statement. The desk chairs were chosen for their ergonomic features for different body types, it said.

“A good quality desk chair has a lifespan of 20 years,” it added.

Global News has confirmed that furniture was being ordered as late as May 2020 — a month after Vancouver Mayor Stewart warned the city was facing a financial crisis, and pleaded for a bailout from senior levels of government.