Robertson's Riot: The Review, Pt. 1 - council clueless on terms of reference

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Vision could be holidaying in Hollyhock with Joel Solomon while Penny reviews the riot

It’s been a little over a month now since the Vancouver Canucks choked and our downtown turned into a riot zone. For his part, Mayor Gregor has been all over the airwaves saying that the riot was a “learning experience” for City Hall. I suspect some of the employees trapped in the London Drugs for two hours as a bunch of drunken goons were trying to break into the place might be less patient with Robertson's on-the-job training.

There are now several reviews taking place to assess what went wrong and how we can prevent this from happening again in the future. The only “independent” review taking place was commissioned by Premier Christy Clark.

The other riot reviews are being drafted by Mayor Gregor’s hand-picked political appointee City Manager Penny Ballem. Needless to say, the City reports will be considered a complete sham due to the manner in which they are being conducted.

My biggest concern is Robertson has not provided the public with any of the basic details regarding his internal reviews. Want to know what the reviews will cost taxpayers? Oops, you’re out of luck. That information is still under lock and key.

How about the terms of reference for the reviews? What are they and exactly who will be conducting the review? On both counts you are out of luck. The City has yet to provide the public with this information.

Do you want to be assured the reports will be independent and free from political interference? Too bad. As it stands, the only person we know that will sign off on the report is Ballem, the most political city manager we’ve seen at Vancouver City Hall in over a generation.

Are you wondering if the public will have a chance to weigh in with their observation regarding what the Mayor’s office could have done differently leading up to the riot? Once again, we still haven’t been provided with that basic bit of information.

City Hall is now in its summer recess. Despite a motion from NPA mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton requesting that more light be shed on the internal reviews, nothing was forthcoming before the politicians head out to Hollyhock for their tradition meditation & Kumbaya recitals.

As a result, the City Manager is busy working behind the scenes drafting her version of events. Rest assured it won’t be critical of her own actions nor those of the Mayor when it comes to the poor planning that planted the seeds for thousands to hold Vancouver's biggest ever house-wrecking party.

In part II of this post, I’ll be exploring what could have been done differently leading up to and during the Robertson’s Riot. And it won’t cost taxpayers a “Penny.”

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus. Or you can "like" us on Facebook at


I'd be curious to know the policing budget for the Riot vs. the policing budget for the fireworks.

there are a couple of phrases in this posting that cause me to ask...

Was the Olympic crowd experience the exception rather than the rule and therefore we must always plan for trouble. There was 14 days of activity before the gold medal hockey game that was held in cold weather, noon, and on a Sunday with the rest of the world watching as well. Civic peer pressure not to embarrass ourselves was significant. Was that enough - along with endless additional security to keep a lid on things?

I am thinking we must always assume there will be trouble when it comes to high stakes sporting events. The rest of the world seems to plan that way so why should we be different.

Daniel's reference to the house wrecking party. Of course that is exactly the same scenario. Mom and Dad go away, #1 mayor invites a few friends over, thinking he can keep it all under control because after all, 'his friends are different' and voila... friends prove him wrong.

The city administration must learn from this event to plan within their means. To me that means planning an event around available policing and available budget. If there was only money for 300 police that night the event should have been designed and promoted to that scale - nothing more. You don't rent a venue that seats 200 for a wedding and invite 750 guests and simply hope for the best. Not even the most naive host would do such a thing. In a public setting that means having the courage to shut down incoming buses and skytrain if necessary, spreading out events, having check-points with volunteers that have radio access to police...

none of it is rocket science - simple, basic event planning 101

This morning's headline was too long. "Council Clueless" would suffice.

@ Julia - “Was the Olympic crowd experience the exception rather than the rule and therefore we must always plan for trouble.”

I think it is probably an apples and oranges comparison as the Olympics were far better planned both in time developing the plan as well as the overall people management plan itself and they also attracted a different kind of crowd.

Vanoc spent years in the planning process and made sure the events were staggered throughout the City and Whistler so there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of people in one area. They also made sure they had more than enough security staff to act as a deterrent. Lastly, the crowds were more family originated and less intoxicated.

I think a better comparison would be Game 7 to the Fireworks. Although the Fireworks doesn’t have the same catalyzing event like a win or loss, you have a large number of people in a small area. The crowd make up again is more diverse than the hockey crowd. However, the police have always seemed more ever present at the fireworks so I don’t recall very many people getting out of hand.

So in answer to your main question – no, riots don’t have to always accompany a sporting event, however, you will require better planning and more police presence if you want to have it in a single location. You won’t be able to put it together in the same amount of time and effort as a house party.

It is interesting; on the night of the Fireworks, I was working. My twitter feed includes BC Scan.

Several stabbings in the downtown core, along with a teen being taken to hospital for excessive alcohol (alcohol poisioning) were reported, which never made into the news reports surrounding the Fireworks.

Paul, you are exactly right - the Olympics went well because of meticulous planning and preparation. Game 7 was a sloppy and quick planning job and we paid the price.

The Fireworks crowd can be a little scary too, and I know families that will find a safer and less prime spot to watch just to stay clear of trouble.

Max, I read in the Sun about several police interventions but would be curious how the stats measure up to a regular Friday night. Glad to see the police plan for trouble but not have any large scale serious incidents.

Is it just me, or does Hollyhock come across as a cult?


Hollyhock is a cult.

Just watch Joels expression as he's spewing the Hollyhock BS. He's appears to be laughing at the gullible believers.

Hollyhocks Social Change is about profiteering for a select few "at the expense of many". Its wacked out cult Pyramid sceme "give me money and i will bless you" while i fill my my many pyramids.

I didn't want to but when I saw Solomon's face at the beginning of the article I said to myself you have to say it, so I say it:
I hope you all get sent packing to Hollyhock where you belong and stay locked in there for good!

Check out!

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