Most weeks, my job is to sift through headlines and press releases in order to snatch a grain of truth from the heaps of pointless information flowing through media and political circles here in the City of Gardens. This week, it looks like the pols responsible for dressing up the facts have decided to make my job a little easier.
Presumably trying to defend The Capital’s No Fun City title against long-time rival Vancouver, the VicPD recently issued a press release declaring “downtown sidewalks no place for skateboards, bikes,” and announcing a crackdown on anyone foolish enough to use alternative transport in the city’s core. The release goes on to explain that “the enforcement campaign comes in response to an elderly tourist couple being injured by a skateboarder on the sidewalk in early July,” proving once again that the tourist is king in our sleepy little town.
This announcement surely heralds another which will be of greater concern to the broader public. Victoria Police responded to 715 motor vehicle collisions in 2007, 368 of which resulted in injury. If a single collision between a skateboarder and a tourist is enough to outlaw human-powered transport entirely, residents should expect VicPD to issue a ban on motor vehicles any day now.
Continuing the trend toward radical honesty, the CRD has announced that its controversial compliance with provincial and federal sewage treatment requirements will forge ahead with the creation of a seven-member expert steering committee. In keeping with governments’ general distaste for public involvement in the business of governance, the committee will not include any elected representatives from the capital region.
Residents worried about handing over one of the largest infrastructure projects the CRD has ever seen to an unelected body can rest easy though. According to a recent statement by CRD member Denise Blackwell, the bylaw which will give birth to the expert panel will also include “explicit language to ensure financial accountability.” Not to worry, government bodies always follow their own rules.
Normally, I would decry the tendency of the political class to dress their otherwise obvious bias and callousness up as somehow serving the best interest of the public. While neither of these events is surprising, we have to wonder if the powers that be in The Capital aren’t getting a bit too comfortable out in the open. M