Developer donates $1 million to Vancouver Police Foundation
VANCOUVER -- A real estate developer known for building skyscrapers, including One Wall Centre which was once the tallest building in the city, has dug deep to make a donation to the Vancouver Police Foundation.
Peter Wall gave the registered charity, which is affiliated with the Vancouver Police Department, $1 million to be doled out over the next five years.
"There is nothing wrong with receiving corporate donations provided there are no strings attached to them,” said SFU criminologist Rob Gordon, who added that private donations to help fund police-led initiatives are not uncommon.
Wall’s donation will be funneled into two separate streams with $100,000 each year ear-marked to support community-based mental health and addiction issues, and another $100,000 annually going to five different community policing centres in and around the downtown core.
“It is important to clarify that these funds are not to be used for direct policing activities, and that the administration of these funds are the sole responsibility of the VPF, which operates independently from the VPD and without any direction from Mr. Wall,” Wall Financial Corporation said in a statement.
Community activist Sarah Blythe has spent years working on the Downtown Eastside, including with the Overdose Prevention Society.
She says if Wall wants to donate money to help deal with mental health and addiction issues, he has better options than the police foundation.
"I would suggest, if you've got a million dollars and you want to help with some of the issues down here, get people housing,” she said. “Get people doing stuff for each other in the community."
The Vancouver Police Foundation said the money will go towards things like women’s personal safety courses and after-school programming for at-risk youth.