Vancouver’s new HR director begged off work due to a sore throat
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 –
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.