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?