Vancouver to step up advertising about Burrard Bridge lane closures
In Council today, Director of Communications Laurie Best responded to questions posed by Councillor Suzanne Anton regarding the proposed $250,000 being allocated for communications spin campaign regarding the Burrard Bridge lane closure.
Best helped to provide the public with a detailed breakdown of where these tax dollars will be used.
- $175,000 for an agency to develop feel good advertisements
- $50,000 to augment staff in the Communications Department (there goes that hiring freeze again)
- $25,000 to conduct research on whether the advertising campaign actually worked
When Anton continued to press Best regarding the necessity of spending a quarter million dollars on an ad campaign for a bike trial, City Manager Penny Ballem leapt to her feet to help justify the need for a big ad campaign. She told Anton:
"This is not an area we can really skimp and win"
There were only 21 speakers scheduled to speak with the staff presentation and questions from Councillors lasting about 2 hours. The Chamber is packed with about six cameras and a tonne of media interest.
It's clear that Deal has been provided with talking points where she has been encouraged to state this whole trial is about "safety" and not about the environment. Vision hopes that people will be less likely to oppose the $1.5 million trial based on safety issues. This morning on CKNW she cited there had been eight bike related accidents on the bridge in six months.
She also remarked that there was a "legal issue" with the bike traffic that she didn't want to get into in the radio interview "in detail," implying the public didn't understand any of the city's liability in accidents.
Clearly Vision can't say the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial is an environmental project, given Deal continues to encourage more people from Vancouver's Westside to drive a bit further over to Granville Bridge instead.
It will be interesting to see if COPE moves a motion to support the two lane closure, which after the sidewalk expansion option, is the preferred choice of staff.
The debate continues...