Vancouver’s 31st mayor (1967-72), Tom Campbell, was a pro-development, shoot-from-the-lip civic leader.
Campbell is best known to Vancouver heritage advocates and to the communities of Chinatown and Strathcona, as one of the most vocal proponents of the proposed downtown freeway system. Fortunately, community groups prevented Campbell (and others who favoured the freeway) from succeeding beyond the initial stage of that plan – the replacement of the old Georgia (McHarg) Viaduct with the Georgia/Dunsmuir Viaducts (which resulted in the near-total destruction of the predominantly black community of Hogan’s Alley).
In November 1967, a public meeting was called by City Council on the proposed freeway (evidently, Campbell wasn’t able to muster the votes necessary to prevent Council from taking that action).
Campbell responded publicly that the meeting would be “a public disgrace” and “a tempest in a Chinese teapot”.*
“The only purpose of the meeting is so that some politicians at city hall can appease people,”he said.
Campbell said, in response: “Do we have to hire a playhouse to put on a puppet show for objectors? All we’ll hear from are a few groups with vested interests who oppose the freeway.”
*All quotations in this post are taken from Vancouver Sun, November 6, 1967, p. 16.