Should Vancouver spend $7 million on another 'par-tay'?

Post by Mike Klassen in


Time for another party, Vancouver? Be prepared to spend - see video

Should Vancouver throw another costly party? We're not sure if citizens think that it's the best use of limited tax dollars and during a time of economic uncertainty. But Vision Vancouver thinks it's a great idea, and they're lucky that all the fun is happening in an election year!

A seven million dollar budget (or is it a slush fund?) has been set aside for the festivities of the city's 125th anniversary, with many of the grants going to non-profits throughout Vancouver. One quarter of the budget is from the federal government, but the rest is being picked up by city taxpayers.

When Vision Vancouver were in opposition they'd point fingers at big funds for parties and attack them as "NPA slush funds". Now that the shoe's on the other foot those accusations disappear. In fact, if you believe Heather Deal in GlobalTV's story above, Vancouverites need to have parties.

I wonder what part of that $7 million will be devoted to public relations for Gregor Robertson? It's a fair question given how much taxpayer dosh has been doled out to Robertson's image-makers like Vision-insiders FD Element.

We know that Don Millar's operation at FD Element has been provided almost $120,000 worth of contracts by this administration. We're going into an election year and Robertson is looking shaky in the polls, so now's the time to pull out the stops and spend.

(By the way, according to 24 Hours reporter Bob Mackin, Mayor Gregor explained away the $5000 contract to FD Element for Robertson's PR in NYC, saying that it was FD that got Robertson a meeting [read: photo op] with Mayor Bloomberg. When Sam Sullivan went to New York City in 2008, he didn't need costly help. His own staffers set up meetings with New York Times editors, and the MLS as part of the lobbying effort to secure a major league soccer franchise for Vancouver).

I love my city, and tip my hat to the old girl on her pending 125th birthday. But we just emptied our wallet this year and spent a lot of cash sprucing up the city, and partnering with businesses and other levels of government to showcase Vancouver to the world. Those of us who stuck around in February had a pretty good time.

So do we need to throw another expensive bash? As people on the street in the Global story suggest, there are bigger priorities for those scarce tax dollars than to throw another party. If Vision were wise they'd scale back the plans immediately.

Whether it's their mysterious Six Million Dollar Man, or their Seven Million Dollar Slush Fund, Vision Vancouver would do well to open up the sealed fortress known as Vancouver City Hall, and reign in the spending for the final year of their mandate.

– post by Mike


As the City spokesperson ( Specht) I think said " There will be lots of cake"
Let them eat cake come to mind

$20 million deficit, taxes going up and King Gregor 1 has plans to blow $7m on a party.

Let me guess . . . is there an election coming up?

Ummmm, isn't this the blog that was beating the Olympic drum? How much was that par-tay again?

I would prefer to see money put towards helping the parks board keep amenities open or restoring summer programs for kids.

I think the city should have a party, but the City Council should not have to give grants to non-profits to participate. They should be bringing presents, not receiving presents. The private sector should also be helping out, and individual citizens...just ask us!

And speaking of presents, a couple of years ago, I suggested that different neighbourhoods around the city might use the city's birthday as a catalyst for community projects...sort of giving a present to themselves (just as many places used Canada's Centennial as the occasion for a special project).

While the birthday will be here in four months, it's not too late to start planning something...maybe a community clean-up or small beautification project, etc. And this need not cost the city budget a penny....

I don't need to 'celebrate myself!'
I would enjoy life more if the washrooms remain open at the the 'free' parks.

Part of the 7 million is being offered as cultural grants. In response to Michael's comment, they are all a shared investment.

Unfortunately, from my perspective, the criteria is weighted in the cultural performance vein rather than community projects or street celebrations. The first $600,000 +/- was awarded in early December.

I find it frustrating when 7 million is 'nothing' when it comes to something like this but it is the end of the world when reducing the tax burden of the employers of our city or keeping our parks fully operational.

Madness, sheer madness. When will Vision's reckless spending stop?

I love that idea, Michael! Give back to your city for 125...

Some of the organizing will have a slight cost to it, but if a lot of this is run by volunteers we could have some great outcomes. You ask the right question worth pondering...why "receive" when we might want to give back ourselves?

Other debate and discussion should be to imagine the city in another 125 years, and involving youth and other experts on urban planning. It would be a way to excite interest and knowledge about our accomplishments, and where we might want to go.

These fora could be sponsored by the private sector.

Has anyone thought of approaching the Architect's Institute, Urban Development Institute (UDI), Urban Republic, or just the development community in general and floating the idea of a 'visioning' design competition?

After 1986, when Expo when things slowed architecturally, there was a fascinating planning 'ideas' competition held for envisioning Vancouver in the future. Perhaps it is time to do one again for the 125th? Urban Republic would be a good group to contact given their previous forays into fun revitalization projects

I respect some of the work Mike Geller does and believe his heart is genuine - most of the time. I'm beginning to doubt that now.
When his NPA buddies complain that he was attacked by the vicious Vision dog Jim Green over his comments of the Olympic Village, and then Mike chooses to 'hunt' again with the NPA chihuahuas and their heel-nipping anti-Vision antics- mostly through this provincial Liberal-funded blog site - don't, Mike, complain if you get bitten again. Not by Jim Green, but there are other dogs in the yard. So don't go crying to mummy.

I agree, having people from Vancouver imagine the city in the future is a great idea. And I like the idea of design competitions as well. The designs could be very simple things - sidewalks, trash collection, park maintenance ... a great way to apply design thinking. It would also be a great opportunity to apply scenario thinking. Something other cities have applied to great effect and something that Toronto is looking at doing. But 125 seems too far away to me. I would think that doing this for 10, 25 and 50 years would make a bit more sense. I think some of the people involved have to be able to imagine being alive during the scenario for this to work. With any kind of sponsorship, union, non-profit or private sector, you have to be careful about the sponsor skewing the outcome. We certainly see that a lot.

And here we have more non-constructive imput from a Vision junk-yard dog.

No wonder they are on a down-hill slide.

Ah, but is megalomania curable? And if public money is not for spending, what then is it for...?

125 weeks seems a more appropriate time frame.

Didn't you love the Olympics?

Actually Brenton, I did.

I had a fabulous time, as did hundreds of thousands of other people that came to BC to enjoy the Olympics, Vancouver, Whistler and our surrounding areas.

And not just 'locals', people traveled from all over.

Thanks for asking!

125 weeks has an interesting ring to it. 125 years, what will the next 125 weeks be like?

I think it is a bit short but it is worth trying.

Actually, how about 125 months. Just over ten years. If future visioning is kept too short in degenerates into forecasting, trend projection and partisan bs.

Mike and others,

Does no one see the hypocricy in celebrating the idea of thinking about what Vancouver will be like in 125 years while mocking and belittling the 500 year plan?

Aren't they flashing out all over the place that we're $20M in the hole next year??? This is ridiculous! As for Gregor, I know for a fact that I'm not voting for him next year. Time for him to get his sorry a** out of city hall! Mind you, that goes for a few of the council members...

If we must throw $7 million into a hole, there's one on SW Marine Drive that needs fillin'...just sayin'.

You mean, like actually use taxpayer money for the maintenance and management of city property!?

Wow! Quelle concept!

Great ideas Michaels! Not so sure about the 125 years though. That is a bit distant.

Mike, PLEASE NOTE that your clip here was NOT the version actually broadcast by Global Evening (6pm) News on Friday, 10 Dec; it has been sanitized considerably. Global TV site has the same altered version that you have. Reporter was Tanya Beja. In the broadcast version Deal says 3 or for times that "We'll all have cake" or words very close to that. Specht does the same twice. It came across sounding totally effing looney considering the "$20M gap" in Budget 2011, especially Deal letting us eat cake.

It IS looney and outrageous, but nary a whisper about it on TV, radio or newspapers since.

This is totally effing crazy.

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