Contradictions abound in Mayor's response to snow

Post by Mike Klassen in

10 comments

Spin Cycle

Are the good citizens of Vancouver getting a snow job from their new Mayor? It's time to enter the De-Spin Zone again.

Now that His Worship Mayor Robertson is back from his holiday in the sun (and thankfully taking back the Snowmageddon file after Councillor Raymond Louie's less than impressive handling of it), he has been making the rounds on the talk radio circuit. CityCaucus.com thought it was worth us de-constructing some of the spin coming out of the Happy Planet satellite offices at 12th and Cambie. So here goes:

Was that 10 or 35 ploughs I saw clearing my street?

The Mayor tells CKNW that there are 47 ploughs in the fleet but only 10-15 of them were out on the roads of Vancouver at any given time. He gives no hint as to why so few ploughs are deployed.

Today, Murray Wightman from the City of Vancouver engineering department was on CKNW radio and he claims that up to 35 ploughs were on the street during Snowmageddon. Whose numbers are right?

Vancouver is doing everything it can to keep the streets clear

The Mayor told the media that everything "humanly possible" was being done to clear Vancouver's streets in order to ensure the elderly, frail and disabled are be able to get out of their homes as soon as possible. This is after an inexcusable 9-day communications blackout.

Murray Wightman (the same guy in charge of clearing Vancouver streets) told CKNW that the reason they couldn't put all 47 ploughs on the road is they couldn't convince enough public service staff to come back from holidays. So who's got it right, and why didn't the Mayor mention this?

(FYI: there are now calls for the privatization of snow removal coming from some folks in Surrey. We wonder if Vancouverites would welcome that suggestion today.)

This is a "once-in-a-lifetime" storm

The Mayor has looked into his Happy Planet crystal ball and is forecasting that this is a "once-in-a-lifetime storm." If so, then why has the Mayor's Office been so unresponsive to Snowmageddon? Comparisons to the Bush response to Hurricane Katrina come to mind. We just need some cots in BC Place.

Wasn't it Vision Vancouver who railed against the previous Council for not doing enough to prepare the City for global climate change? If Vancouver is beginning to experience the impacts of climate change, wouldn't the Mayor be expecting a few more winters like this one?

We've blown through our budget for snow removal

Reporter Frances Bula asks Councillor Raymond Louie what all this snow removal is costing the City. He tells her it is just under $1 million dollars. He says this was about $200K over the planned budget for snow removal.

2 days later Mayor Robertson arrives back from his holiday and says the City has now spent well over $2 million, or double what was spent a year earlier. Who's got it right?

We don't have the money

Councillor Louie tells Frances Bula that the City simply can't afford to put snow route signs in the City as it would cost the exorbitant amount of $300K and the City just doesn't have the cash.

Wasn't it Councillor Louie that just signed off on a $700K severance package to former City Manager Judy Rogers?

Gregor & Raymond disagree on a review

Just on Friday Raymond Louie claimed that he'd had only 4 emails in response to the lack of snow removal and scoffed at suggestions that Council review the City's poor response.

Now after calls by Councillor Suzanne Anton for a review of the City's failed effort, Mayor Robertson is supporting that call for a review. We have to point to what Seattle's Mayor Nickels did - his first council meeting back and he's already hearing from public delegations about his city's snow response.

We don't expect anything similar from this bunch here in Vancouver given their arrogance on this file to date. They'll call for a staff report whose recommendations will get lost, when instead they should be hearing from the public now.

In just one day back Mayor Robertson has contradicted staff and fellow council members over and over again. When will they level with Vancouver's taxpayers?

10 Comments

I'd say comrade Gregor has already shown himself to be a lightweight in the leadership department. He simply doesn't know what's going on. Memo to mayor: Before the next photo-op, you'd best run to the front of the parade.

Perhaps the newly minted city manager knows what went wrong with snow removal? Or does she not talk to the media....

Penny Ballem has spoken to the media once as City Manager, on CBC radio, to praise her new boss Gregor. Quite unprecedented, actually.

Ok.This blog's not what I thought it might be. I'm a civic moderate and I was hoping for some insight from a centre-right perspective. However it's become way too partisan, way too quickly. Too bad.

Sorry you're disappointed. Maybe you haven't been driving today?

I find it ridiculous that while the city's side streets remain unplowed, the city still finds the staff to ticket vehicles abandoned on the side of the road due to undriveable roads.

I agree, vehicles parked in a way that are a hazard should be ticketed and removed, but I personally witnessed tickets being issued to cars parked that in were no way blocking others. The real kick in the head is that tickets can only be disputed in person between 830 to 330. So, an average working stiff has to take a day off and lose a days wages to dispute this. The city's got all the angles covered.

If the mayor had a pair, he'd at least be in the province, instead of M.I.A. and being so aloof about the whole affair. The ticket people should've been handed shovels and buckets of salt and been sent clearing city sidewalks. An absolute disgrace/disaster, and someone should be fired for this. Way to go Gregor!! That being said, the bleeding heart, uber hippie, sheeple residents of this city voted these clowns into office, and the people deserve what comes from this leadership.

your right this blog is not what it could be...way to one sided..with only certain facts to bolster your own views...(michael moore style!!)
over 1 metre of snow in a few weeks..its going to be a problem no matter what (west coast) city you live in....they should consider buying / leasing some smaller machines for back alleys.. consider contracting out to some companies with bobcats / plows also may help...

The irony is that the city workers who would't come back from holidays would cry bloody murder if snow removal was privatized. Translation: "we won't do it, but don't you dare lets some scab do it!"

I'm with Scott and Jamie - this blog is obviously a mouthpiece for the NPA. Not an unbiased reporting mechanism on city government as I had hoped. Tuning out now for good.

Going back to fabula's place who introduced me to your place originally. Along with her excellent writing syle, she also has credibility . . . .

this is hilarious, the City Of Vancouver is looking to hire SNOW PLOW OPERATORS, this was posted WED JAN 07/2009 in CRAIGSLIST VANCOUVER

Transport jobs:

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/trp/983924747.html

Actually, it doesn't say City of Vancouver, just that it is in "Metro Vancouver". Odd that they wouldn't say what part of the region the ploughs are needed. It's not clear that a government posted this ad.

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