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Multi-party opposition spreads to Vancouver’s budget cuts

December 1st, 2009 · 6 Comments

I’m continuing to hear complaints and suspicions grow about Vancouver’s draconian budget-cutting process, which started out with people feeling like “okay, it’s a recession, we need to bit the bullet” and is morphing into “why is it only Vancouver that seems to be going through a budget cataclysm while other municipalities are managing to pass budgets that don’t entail cutting significant programs.”

Emails coming from inside city hall and posts to this blog are questioning the Big Crisis and I hear increasing suggestions about things that could be looked at but aren’t.

ThinkCity, which some see as the policy arm of Vision but isn’t necessarily, is spearheading a campaign to get people out to oppose budget cuts. The Green’s Stuart Mackinnon at park board is doing the same. (His blog post on this here.) And now Suzanne Anton and the NPA are officially jumping on the bandwagon. (Their news release of a few moments ago attached below here.)

Cynical observers are wondering whether this groundswell will prompt Vision to do what they were planning all along — relent at the last moment and “save” a few key programs. Or whether they’ll go through with it all to prove to people outside their base that they have what it takes to be tough leaders in a budget crisis — something that could work for them down the line in another political arena, nudge nudge wink wink.

I have no idea. All I know is that it’s all feeling very strange to me, as though something is off kilter.

The NPA news release, as promised.

MAYOR & Council Ignore People & Options in Rush to Cut

Proposed budget cuts cavalier and short sighted

Vancouver, BC—Vancouver City Councillor Suzanne Anton says Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver Councillors are ignoring concerned citizens and creative solutions in their rush to cut $20 million from the City’s 2010 operating budget. Councillor Anton is calling for people to speak up on the proposed cuts today and at a public meeting on Thursday.

The Vision Vancouver dominated Council led by Mayor Robertson is planning to cut:

library hours,

graffiti management,

street banners,

Community Centre programs,

close the Bloedel Conservatory,

close the Stanley Park petting zoo.

Anton says the cuts come with almost no public notice. “These decisions were made in secret by the Mayor and his team. The public has had no real chance to respond,” says Anton. “The proposed cuts are cavalier and short sighted.”

Anton is particularly concerned about the Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park and the Stanley Park Petting Zoo. “The decisions to close these two Vancouver icons were made without any consideration of their importance to the community,” says Anton. “There have even been offers from concerned citizens to step in with funds—they were ignored.”

Vancouver City Council will hear a budget update from staff on Tuesday December 1 at 2:00 pm. Councillor Anton is urging citizens to call City Hall at 311 and tell the Mayor and Councillors what they think of the cuts. People should also ask to be put on the speakers list for the public meeting on the budget on Thursday, December 3 at 7:30 pm.

If they cannot make the public hearing, Anton says concerned citizens can leave a message for the Mayor and Councillors through 311 or email them at mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca .

Categories: Uncategorized

  • spartikus

    Just to repost something from earlier: “57% of Vancouverites would accept a 7% increase in property tax to maintain current service levels.” (PDF pg. 39). The numbers go significantly up the lower the increase is (I have no idea how reliable this particular poll is, but it’s a starting point).

  • David

    cutting the kid’s zoo in Stanley Park, the long planned a park at the NW False Creek Seawall and the conservatory at QE Park are things that will save some bucks but they are amenities that make a city. Once lost these won’t come back.

  • Local Resident

    Regan brought us Reganomics,
    Vision will bring us Visionomics, a Vancouver flavour of greenomics.

    We will encourage the green industry at a cost of only $50Million/year but thanks to stopping and reversing global warming we will save $1Million/year by being able to close icerinks and just play on frozen ponds for 6months of the year.

  • MB

    There is nothing wrong or weak about sober second thought.

  • I sympathize with council’s tough job, but at times of crisis, if indeed this is a crisis, a little consultation would go a long way and bring people together in pursuit of finding solutions. Unfortunately, faced with diktats, all people can do is oppose.

  • Bill Lee

    Hmm, maybe Visionistas are really kitten-eating alien lizards from another planet.

    Conspiracy theories. Or general incompetence of Visionistas from not having been embued with the City Hall ennui, not to forget the Works Yard or the District Health Units.
    Maybe we need an ex-employee or three on council making policy for the people not for the Municipality of Point Grey all over again.