The ubiquitous Mr. Meggs, the only Vision councillor who ever does media
What was supposed to be Vision's big political win has become yet another nightmare as the party and their leader continue their Fall from Grace™. Last night's feature story on GlobalTV was about the apparent sham public process ("political theatre" as Councillor Anton called it) that was Tuesday's marathon public meeting on the Hornby bike lane.
Other media have also pursued this story on whether the project was, as many critics call it, "a done deal". The most incriminating evidence was a construction noise variance permit referred to in the memo circulated to neighbours first thing Wednesday morning, just hours after council's vote. The letter makes mention of the 7am start time for crews on Sunday.
Noise by-laws are set in place to allow us to have quiet time on weekends and evenings. To override these by-laws you need a signature from one person – the Mayor of Vancouver. The variance permit process according to City staff is five days from start to finish. The construction noise variance for the Hornby bike lane project was signed by Mayor Gregor Robertson on September 23rd. All requests to have the City release a copy of this letter by CityCaucus.com have been met with "go FOI it".
In response to questions from the media, Coun. Meggs – the man who steps into the limelight continually as the Mayor hides under his desk – shrugged it all off as a "ridiculous kerfuffle". Meggs also defended Engineering for starting all the planning and preparations without the approval of city council.
Perhaps one of the most pointed attacks on Vision Vancouver came on Thursday afternoon on CKNW radio. Host John McComb of The World Today program opened up his broadcast to blast Gregor Robertson and his Vision gang for their "sham" process in getting the bike lane passed through council. Listen to McComb's words in his 4-minute radio rant here (mp3):
This week's horrible media for Vision Vancouver includes a painful admission from the Malek brothers from Millennium Development. According to a story by the Vancouver Sun's Jeff Lee, the City "got in the way" of the developer.
The brothers state:
“A certain number of buyers were associating us with the city, they were saying the city has made references that they are co-developers with us. What that meant was that the original milestones we planned were affected by those allegations.”
In Lee's report, City Manager Penny Ballem balks at the Malek's explanation, stating that the City are clearly not "co-developers" of the project.
However, as the old saying goes, "you break it, you buy it". And when Gregor Robertson starting calling the Athlete's Village "a train wreck" that citizens would be "on the hook" for the billion dollar cost...
Well, you get the picture. Gregor Robertson better start making some calls to his American financial backers to help him out of this jam.
UPDATE: The Province newspaper has now weighed in on the "sham" consultation regarding the bike lane. Here is an excerpt:
It's a wonder how long Vancouver voters will continue to endure Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Visionaries, given their appalling contempt for democracy and due process, on display again with their Hornby bike-lane project...
Vision's disdain for the many people who live, work and do business in Vancouver who hold differing views and its disinterest in considering alternative ideas that could lead to better, more popular policies is a terrible shame for Vancouver. From the HEAT homeless shelters, to the West End STIR fiasco, to the bike lanes, to the obsessive Green agenda, the mayor and his party have shown a disturbing inability to consider other views. It may haunt them come next election.
- post by Mike