Opinion Column

Surprising lack of transparency in playoff plans


On April 11th, our beloved Vancouver Canucks will be heading back to the playoffs in the hope of winning the coveted Stanley Cup. As you can imagine, this means a few civic politicians and business owners are getting a tad nervous about the prospect of another "Robertson's Riot".

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Vancouver's Mayor called a news conference this week to lay out his "plan" to prevent another night of carnage in our downtown.

In what can only be considered an admission of failure on his part, the mayor indicated this year's celebrations would be absent of any big screen TVs and blocked off streets.

The Mayor's office is now planning a series of smaller, community oriented events that are meant to discourage drunken fans from coming into the city centre and causing trouble. They are also encouraging neighbouring cities to organize similar events in their own communities. It's hoped that by doing so, they can disperse the crowds and reduce the risk of another riot.

What is most concerning about the mayor's latest pronouncement is the fact it did not come to council by way of a thorough staff report. Instead, the media were summoned to a briefing whereby Robertson laid out his playoff plan as though it were a fait accompli.

When Vision Vancouver was in opposition, they often publicly accused the previous NPA regime of circumventing due process and making policy outside of the council chamber. However, now that they're in government, the mayor seems to have no problem with this approach.

At what point will Vancouver citizens have the opportunity to comment on the mayor's latest playoff party plan? More importantly, when will a thorough staff report, including a detailed budget, be brought before elected officials for proper debate and a vote? Considering what transpired last year, you'd think Robertson would have been a bit more inclusive in this whole process.

What is equally puzzling is how silent the opposition members have been on this issue. Given the gravity of what happened last June, one would have assumed they would have taken a cue from their Vision colleagues and started to raise a stink by now.

While the overall plan may have some merit, the fact the public was left out in the cold should result in Robertson getting at least two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.