Let the stupid bee metaphors begin

Bee Beard
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Vancouver City Hall’s comedy of errors continues with the news that during this year of budget crunching and layoffs that in order to be the Greenest City in the World™ beehives will be installed on the roof of City Hall’s East Wing. Yes, you heard that correctly, and here’s the email circulated to all staff to prove it.

From: COV Broadcast Server
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 4:32 PM
To: All Staff (COV) – DL
Subject: COV Broadcast: Demonstration Bee Hives – East Wing Rooftop

In support of making Vancouver the Greenest City in the World, we will be creating a demonstration beehive project on the roof of the East Wing. This will initially involve the installation of 2 hives on the south section of the roof area. While we do not anticipate any significant concentration of bees around City Hall, persons with allergies to bee sting should take the appropriate precautions. If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to Garrick Bradshaw, Director, Facilities Design and Management.

I had to check my calendar, thinking that April Fool’s Day had snuck up on me. I’m not sure what is going to be more unbearable for Vancouver taxpayers –

  1. The ridiculous self-serving waste of precious dollars to plump up an ill-considered, meandering policy document about being "green" at the same time as not reducing the city’s carbon footprint by one square centimetre – note the title case on the Greenest City.
  2. The seeming disregard for staff, who are already gobsmacked by the threats of job cuts, and now they’re being asked to "take appropriate precautions" if they have bee allergies. Never mind that the north lawn where Gregor’s Expensive Garden is where many of them like to spend lunch and coffee breaks in pleasant weather. Watch where you sit, ladies.
  3. The obnoxious bee metaphors that I’m sure Heather Deal is already writing the script for. If she says anything about the buzz at City Hall or the beehive of activity or anything about stings in council chambers, she should have a month’s pay docked.

Now there are some who might think this is a great idea (the Courier publishes him now and again – you know, the guy who writes pro-Vision fluff). Bees are threatened, right? Tell that to my east Vancouver garden, which has already seen the earliest visits by bumble bees and honey bees in memory.

Since Vancouver is now in the business of beekeeping, have they considered the potential liability? Staff are being advised if they get stung by a city bee it might qualify for a Workman’s Compensation Board claim. Then there is the City’s Risk Management fund, used to keep angry residents from suing. What if some guy living across Yukon street gets stung? What will be the bill?

Don’t get me wrong – I love the little buggers in my garden. I plant lots of lavender and sage to attract more of them. But should Vancouver City Hall be the host for hives?

We’ll dig deeper on this story to see who has landed the contract to maintain the hives, which we presume is a year-round activity. We’ll also find out what it cost to prepare the roof for the arrival of the hives, both in terms of materials, maintenance and staff time.

Meanwhile, are we getting any greener as a result of Gregor’s big ideas? Not a bit.

+++

UPDATE, 10:30pm. It has been confirmed that Vancouver Courier City Hall columnist Allen Garr has been hired by the City of Vancouver to maintain the beehives.

The Vancouver Courier’s publisher Emily Jubb and editor Barry Link have a decision on their hands regarding their marquee political columnist. It’s all well and fine to have a political bias, as Allen Garr does clearly have in favour of Vision Vancouver. But now with the knowledge that Mr. Garr is both seeking a position as a director for VanCity – a billion dollar organization with wide-ranging business interests throughout Metro Vancouver – as well as becoming Vancouver City Hall’s beekeeper, the Courier is forced to choose whether they can continue to have Garr write political opinion for their paper.

It strains credibility to think that Allen Garr can continue writing about Vancouver City Hall when he is working for City Hall receiving a pay cheque from them. Even more concerning is that Garr’s work will be in support of a political intiative out of the Vancouver Mayor’s office. It’s an embarrassing predicament for the Courier, who will have a tough time explaining how their columnist can maintain double-duty as critic and servant of City Hall.

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  • A far better and greener use of the area would be the installation of a thirty or forty story wind-power generator.One uniquely constructed overlaid with solar-panels mosaiced to have portraits of his holiness with his new glasses.Just imagine the PR kick Vision could get out of that one.

  • Deirdre

    Un- bee-leivable. I hope that this information does not cross any borders – we will be the laughing stock of the nation.

  • Susan

    Now let me see here, if I have a medical emergency, because I am extremely “ALLERGIC” to bee stings, will the City of Vancouver, and Garrick Bradshaw, Director, Facilities Design and Management assist me with “emergency on the spot medical care”?
    Why you might ask? Because of course there will be a concentration of BEES. BEES are attracted to BEE HIVES.
    And so I ask: Why is it my responsibility to “take appropriate precautions” when the work environment is being “infested” with bees?
    Do I now have check for any/or significant “BEE Concentration or a concentration of BEES?” before I visit City Hall?
    Is there a City Hotline for this in place?
    If this were an April Fools prank I would be laughing my head off!
    But looks to me like it is a done deal and now this is serious, at least for me and who knows how many other people who have “serious allergic reactions to bee stings!”
    Am I missing something here????

  • robert

    Can Vision be any more stupid? I thought the garden idea was dumb, but this is dumber. Do we really have to wait until next year to kick their sorry a$$ out of City Hall? I am so enraged I can’t even speak about this. These guys are truly a joke.

  • St. Vincent

    This is a green initiative? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. No wonder climate change keeps getting worse. Another big waste of money from Robertson and his social change crew. They’re exposing their flakiness more each day. That’s a good thing, cause maybe the voters will see who they “really” are.

  • Michael

    I bet that the mayor can’t wait to put on that white bee suit and smile for the camera. The only thing he’s good for is when he’s cutting a ribbon or lighting up a sign in Chinatown.

  • GN

    Great bee idea, wrong place and wrong time. Chinatown signs? Simply stereotyped and darn UGLY. This is not the 80’s you know. 😉 Even a high school student can come up with some better designs for that sign. I’m starting to feel ironic about Vision Vancouver calling itself ‘Vision’ when they have no vision.

  • Jimmy Kwan

    You took the words right out of my mouth. Everything Gregor does is for the cameras, not to better this city. It’s all about me, me, me. How can I get my pretty face on camera for another photo op. There is NO substance to this man or his party. None. No Vision at all.

  • Sandra Chamberlain-Snider

    Dare I say, hive mentality? Or maybe, metaphors of the collective consciousness would be appropriate here?

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Day
    “To bee or not to bee.
    That’s not a question.
    That’s an exercise in futility.
    It’s the newest Vancouver state of mind”
    Those fools at City Hall! I’ll be “sorry” to see them go. They inspire me so much!
    The Working Bee and the Queen Fly
    I’ve got this note the other day
    From my good girlfriend Emily,
    She’s just below my rate of pay
    A Hive Hall normal working Bee!
    The Hive she’s in, I read, is terrible “in shape”,
    Crowded with lazy ass-needle friends of the new Queen,
    A Common Fly that walks around in a repulsive cape,
    Bee-haves like a baboon. She’s also very mean!
    Morale is at its lowest in the colony,
    There is no long-term honeycomb perspective,
    The Fly Queen’s new approach is… bee colonoscopy.
    Who’s not conforming, gets right on her invective.
    When ordering the working ranks she makes this buzz,
    Her voice is scary high, sounds like a Honky-Tonk,
    But through her angry cacophonic jazz,
    The only sound that permeates is “Oink!”
    At Hive Hall everyone pretends to pollinate,
    The Honey quality, has dropped,
    This unsound situation will not terminate
    Before the year’s whole harvest is flopped.
    That’s why when Working Bee did not exactly mind
    To speak up, she wanted to be her own self,
    “Hey,Queen Fly! That pretend needle you cart behind,
    Why don’t you go, and Sting yourself?”
    Useless to say, my little friend
    Is happier know, that she was slapped
    The Queen Fly, they say, will retire in the end,
    But trust me; most likely, she’ll be Zapped!
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • landlord

    Sounds like the old chicken joke :
    Man goes to the doctor. “Doctor, I’m worried about the Mayor. He thinks he’s a bee”. Doctor says “You should take him to a psychiatrist”. Man says “I would but we need the honey”.

  • Comeback Salmon

    back when they put in the veggie garden I thought to myself what’s next – sheep on the lawn at City Hall?
    Id like to know who nixed the sheep idea? Think of all the grass that no longer needs a lawnmower and the manure could be used for the garden – of course there is no shortage of manure material inside City Hall since VISION came on, but I want to see sheep – I mean why not make complete asses out of ourselves? How about a cow or a dairy goat? Geese and pigs?
    OR Why not move the petting zoo to City Haul(sic)? Two birds one stone type of thing.

  • The Angry Taxpayer

    Methinks they are cultivating grass in the City Hall garden, Comeback Salmon.
    Doo-bee-ies, shurely?

  • Mira

    Glissando,
    That was lovely!

  • Henster

    @comeback salmon-you may not get sheep but vision already approved chickens. So cluck, cluck. We have a garden, bee hives and chickens. This is looking more and more like cortez island by the day.

  • nOT A vISION sUPPORTER

    Gliss,
    you wouldn’ mind if i post your – The Working Bee and the Queen Fly – poem by my department water cooler on Monday when I return to work…at the City Hell would you!?
    Everybody’S guess whose water cooler!
    🙂

  • mark

    These bolshevik amateurs need to be BOOTED from office so some sanity can be restored.

  • Comeback Salmon

    Green City — this is not a word of a lie — my good friend is completing a major home reno in the city. His landscape plan called for a nice xeriscape on the tiny front lawn. The City planners told him to take out the gravel and put in grass – they claimed it was the ‘green’ policy of the City. I guess green is just a colour to City Hall.

  • Richard

    Another day, another trivial nontroversy. One of the local papers reported today that there will be no cost to the city.
    Next time, do a bit of research before making these type of posts.

  • GMJM

    you’re kidding! Alan Garr is going to be the bee-keeper? Really? does he get to keep the profits from the sale of the honey? (or will it be a loss?)

  • Eddie Kesler

    Only King Richard, the chief vision apologist, would see installing be hives at city as costing no money. You socialists truly are clueless. How many hours of staff time will this take? I guess public servants are paid nothing! Give me a break. Staff time should be used to solve homelessness not making honey. This is nothing but a blatant suckup to their vision pal Allan Garr. This has been well documented on this blog. Richard, I would stick to your cycling lobbying and leave the bees to the real experts.

  • SUV

    NAVS,make some more copies and leave them by the elevators, 2nd floor, East Building. I want one in my cubicle!
    Bees on my roof! Are you F…ing idiots?
    I swear I’ll bring miniature pigs in if this happens, so that the management could blend in.
    I had enough already with those freshly dug graves in the back yard. They are right in my field of Vision (sorry for the bad word)? Cretins.

  • Sadly, my friend Allen Garr has lost all journalistic credibility. I was willing to call the VanCity Savings issue a wash, but this is something else. He cannot claim to write anything balanced about this lot infesting City Hall.
    If the Courier doesn’t make a move, it will cost them their credibility too.

  • Ruben

    Wow, both the level of ‘journalism’ and ‘commentary’ are truly ‘top-notch’ here. I am going to keep watching for a post on climate change. The responses should be hilarious.