The end of January did not work out well for Vancouver’s mayor who appears to believe that the City should be treated like a corporation with his Council simply acting as financial managers and accountants.
The Task Force had been specifically instructed by the Mayor to examine the City’s finances on a line-by-line basis. They did not do this. Instead, all their final report managed to do was offer broad ideas.
One such idea is that the City expand the areas in which advertisers would be welcome by offering to sell naming rights on City facilities.
Will our parks now be named after corporations? Will we see Tim Hortons Park? Burger King Park? Will our beaches be safe? Google Beach? Tesla Beach? Is it only a matter of time before we see the golden arches above City Hall?
Then there was the January 23rd devastating interview on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition with the Chair of the Park Board, Brennan Bastyovanszky. Bastyovanszky and five other ABC candidates were elected to the Park Board in October 2022, giving ABC six of the seven Park Board seats and a super-majority.
When the Mayor announced his unilateral decision to do away with the Park Board without seeking any input from his six Park Board Commissioners, three were opposed. The Mayor then simply expelled them from ABC, reducing ABCs seats on the Park Board from six to three and transforming their once mighty majority into a minority opposition.
During the interview, Bastyovanszky was absolutely devastating in his critique of the Mayor, stating, among other points, that:
- The Mayor and Council don’t understand how the Park Board works.
- The Mayor’s motion wasn’t done properly, and Park Board Commissioners are now considering legal action.
- Everyone should be terrified of the Mayor’s Budget Task Force. It’s not clear if their recommendation to sell off ‘non-core assets’ is even legal, and no clarification has been provided on what is considered a ‘core asset’. For example, the list of ‘core assets’ in their report doesn’t include community centres. Does that mean these could be privatized?
- The move to abolish the Park Board is just about centralization and is a land grab. The Park Board is important as it stands between the City and its ability to sell off or privatize Park’s assets and land.
- There are rumours that some ABC Councillors are now regretting Sim’s decision.
Listening to him, it was hard to believe that he and the Mayor used to be in the same party.
City Manager Paul Mochrie didn’t help the Mayor’s case that the Park Board needs to go because it doesn’t properly take care of its assets when Mochrie confirmed at a January 26th news conference that the assets are already owned by the City. If assets are falling apart, it’s the City’s responsibility.
Then there was the FOI that revealed that the Mayor and the Vancouver Police Department together had spent almost $500,000 of our money removing the homeless from encampments on East Hastings Street in the Downtown Eastside. It was reported that people losing their tents during the clearing out were handed lists of shelters with no guarantee that space was available. Many women have said they avoid shelters in any case because they do not feel safe there.
I am confident that the overwhelming majority of taxpayers are of the view that such a large sum of money could have been put to much better use.
2024 is off to a bad start for Vancouver’s Mayor.
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (February 4, 2024): 426.21ppm
One year ago (February 4, 2023): 420.03ppm
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