Park Board Says “YES” to Wasting Public Funds

Stop the madness! Stop the waste!

It’s amazing how Vancouver’s elected officials keep raising taxes/fees/charges … claiming they MUST,  just to maintain essential  public services.

There’s no money for improved public transit, there’s no money for more busses, there’s no money to maintain even existing levels of service …without an added sales tax.

Yet,  at a snap of their well-callused spending fingers, they have no problem approving all kinds of  NEW spending that caters … not to the majority of taxpayers … but to their own increasingly-demanding political base.

No problem finding ANOTHER $30 MILLION to try to cure the dangerous mess Council created for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists still brave enough to try navigating the Burrard Bridge these days;  and, no need for public restraint in an economy heading into a recession,  when many long-time city residents already are having trouble keeping up with ever-rising taxes and fees : the politicians have decided EVERY city employee will be guaranteed a minimum $20.68 an hour “living wage”. That equals more than $43,000 a year MINIMUM starting wage ( 40-hour week)  …  approved by Council, even though officials confessed they have no idea what the total extra cost to the city will be … for one year, five or ten.

And now,  not to be ignored in spending public money where it certainly is NOT needed, the Vancouver Park Board had added a whole new dimension to its TOTAL WASTE OF PUBLIC FUNDS repertoire …  deciding to create  a huge piece of ugly visual pollution that NO ONE will welcome in their neighborhood: a “sweetheart” rusting padlock love memorial!

No kidding!

It’s not even an original idea … it’s a cliché stolen from Paris, where by the way,  after years of watching theirs grow, rust away and destroy the bridge where it was located, officials recently ordered theirs DISMANTLED, CARTED AWAY and NEVER TO BE REBUILT.

So did the Vancouver Park Board learn from Paris’ experience and costly mess?

Mais non!

In a city blessed with natural beauty and tourist-beckoning scenic backgrounds  …  the Vancouver Park Board has decided we need a REAL attraction to draw visitors:  a huge,  elongated,  and no doubt an ever-growing mass of rusting padlocks (it really does rain here … sometimes for months at a time) , for people to commemorate their romantic attachments.

Nor will it will have to be just people who are married.  This is Canada: check the Charter of Rights! Your love for a favorite tyrant (Attila the Hun, Adolf, Benito, Mao, Fidel ) or even your beloved dog, cat or sheep  will soon have have a taxpayer-funded canvas … thanks to the Vancouver Park Board’s waste of YOUR money.


They’re still trying to decide: In Stanley Park?  Along the seawall?  On the beach at English Bay?   In Queen Elizabeth Park … where the Park Board this summer has already allowed construction of a zip line …turning the tranquil refuge of floral beauty, ducks and perfectly manicured landscapes into Playland South … with all the hooting and hollering that goes with each 90-second thrill ride.


In France, the lovelocks phenomenon started slowly, then expanded over the years until they became a problem.

In Vancouver, in this the age of Facebook postings, the love-lock fence or sculpture  … probably costing a million dollars to design, build and maintain over the years … will likely be FULL within a few weeks or months.

And then what?

Why of course, the Park Board will have to make it longer and bigger … while offering absolutely no protection for the taxpayer.

How does that fit into Vancouver’s “GREEN” agenda?  How much energy, heat, water, steel will go into producing this wire monstrosity and all the locks attached to it …. none of them used for the purposes that they were intended when the tons of  ore to produce them were pulled out of the ground. ?  A totally bad, ugly polluting idea … so much for having a GREEN agenda …. just another waste of public money to absolutely NO good end.

The Park Board should stop this madness!

Unless, of course, they agree to place it in the ONLY suitable location where it will NOT harm Vancouver’s natural beauty and scenic sightlines:  Point Grey Road …the portion west of Macdonald,  near the Mayor’s home … that was closed to traffic last year, also for no good reason and another costly waste of public money.

Put it there … and I’ll temper my objections.

In fact,  I’d probably even show up …. with my own great big lock to affix … maybe even two or three …  just to watch them drip, drip, drip rusty water and create an ever-expanding stain on the private enclave portion of Point Grey Road!

Now THAT would be an attraction worth photographing and posting on Facebook!

Harv Oberfeld

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31 Responses to Park Board Says “YES” to Wasting Public Funds

  1. Hawgwash says:

    A home run Harvey.
    A Bruce Allen moment if ever I read one.

    This silliness brings to mind all the molting memorials along various highways that only mean something to the two people who stuck it there.

    However, if it is erected (hmm, can I use “erect” in this context?) I will travel back from the Island just to look for “BMCQ (heart} LB.

    (Response: After I wrote the blog piece … I thought of a much more pressing and urgent need for Vancouver; a mile long high wire down the centre of Granville …so we can all throw our old runners over the line! I’ve seen a lot more of those dangling from power and telephone lines than I’ve seen love locks … and runners above are clearly dangerous to pedestrians, traffic, hydro, CYCLISTS (maybe now the Park Board will act!) and much more critical ..MY cable/internet service! And certainly Vancouver’s used runners are in much more need of a safe, recycling “artful” location …than our padlocks! h.o)

  2. Gordie says:

    I agree, Harvey. When I first heard about this, I had to look up love locks on the internet to find out what it was all about. After I educated myself, I had trouble believing that Vancouver city council would even consider getting involved in something like this…what a colossal waste of money.

    By the way, I went ziplining once and the initial few runs were fun, but after that it got kind of boring. But I’m in my late 50’s and maybe I’ve been around the sun too many times to get excited about much anymore. Even sex isn’t as much fun as it used to be!

    (Response: Interesting in how little the MSM have covered this issue …just tidbits, except for The Province and The Courier. I would have been right down at the Park Board office with a camera going after park board officials on this waste of money and environmental impact , on English Bay etc and especially on Point Grey Road asking about it as a location … day after day …REAL news that WILL impact this city … more than the local pablum we are now fed almost every day. h.o)

  3. diverdarren says:

    Harvey, I tend to agree. The idea of another art installation that’s a Europe rip-0ff is a bit disappointing. Why is it that Vancouverites can’t be a little imaginative?

    ie: Girl in a Wetsuit= Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid
    Painted Killer Whales= painted Brussels Cows
    Now we’re ripping off Paris Love Locks.

    However, art happens.

    A few weeks ago I was walking across the Burrard Street Bridge and noticed a “love lock” attached to an ancient bit of chain link fence on the bridge. Right beneath was the boats at the marina. I figured the weight of a few hundred locks would be more than enough to send that “art” tumbling down on the yachts.

    The Parks Board realizes that Vancouverites will be unimaginative and “love lock” something, so the City would act to direct the copy-cat nature of the people toward somewhere where the “art” wont crush the people below.

    All-in-all, the Board’s ounce of prevention will be equal a pound of cure, that will surely come in the form of lawsuits for the damage of “art” falling onto people and property.

    (Response: The Park Board plan will CREATE a problem where none really exists …and hasn’t for a hundred years. What makes them think that all of a sudden, the problem is about to befall us? If suddenly, hordes of them started appearing on any bridge, a good bold cutter will end that practice within a day or two. Problem solved ..without polluting and rusting away on an ever-growing mess in someone’s neighborhood …no doubt NOT in that of any park board member. h.o)

  4. r says:

    maybe get translink to run park board.

    remenber suggestion of orange pylons up granville then stanley park as a bike buffer?

    (Response: Wow! That’s a job that would get me to come out of retirement!! I know nothing about running transit or coming up with weird ways to waste public funds …I’d be perfect: of course, I’d be FIRED after six months by the “experts” in throwing money away ..but they’d give me a year or two of full severance!! Then I could spend it on something I really do know something about: ocean cruises! 🙂 h.o)

  5. e.a.f. says:

    Are they crazy???????
    “lovelocks” WTF. Obviously the park’s board doesn’t have enough to do. Perhaps a tour cleaning park bathrooms might do them some good. These people are so out of touch.
    This isn’t art. This doesn’t enhance the beauty of a park. This might cause a few law suits, but that is about it.

    I don’t have a problem with paying people a “living wage”. Now it might have been nice if council could have informed taxpayers what it would cost. Might have been the responsible thing to do and all that. of course the last time I checked the employees of city hall were unionized, so how does this work for the collective agreement. You just don’t re-open collective agreements. There is a process for that it and it is best to adhere to it.

    Bike lanes. what a mess. The ought to not to have put them on major roads. Moving them one block over would have worked just as well. They could have had bike lanes in some areas through lane ways. Bike lanes on Burrard St. bridge was just to keep a particular portion of the population happy and had nothing to do with a decent transportation system.

    What these politicians lack is common sense and originality. Just deciding something might be a good idea doesn’t make it so. Oh, well they are doing about a good a job as the b.c. lieberals, so perhaps they could all take a nice vacation together some where, for a very long time.

  6. Gene the Bean says:

    Harvey, I was half way through your story when I was thinking that they should put it on Point Grey Rd…then read you say the same thing. Too funny.

    My disappointment with todays society grows daily.

    Blame the ignorant, lazy, uninformed voter?

    Or blame the nefarious, morally bankrupt selfish lowlifes that seem to be the only ones running for public office?

    It is a conundrum……

    On a happier note, imagine completely divesting yourself of your Canadian possessions and converting all your wealth to living in some beautiful, remote tropical paradise, watching every sunrise and sunset while not ever thinking of the things we write and comment about here……just makes you feel better thinking about it doesn’t it?

    Happy Hour may start earlier today……

    (Response: I disagree with elected and appointed officials quite often, but it’s totally unfair to describe any of them as “morally bankrupt selfish lowlifes”. They do have a definite ideology and/or constituency and represent a segment of the population … and you can’t deny the results.. they DID get elected. I believe the problem is with the majority …who don’t vote, don’t pay attention and thus let the dedicated, motivated minority dictate their agenda. But this decision is in TOTAL contradiction to anything they say about Vancouver being a GREEN city … I’m hoping sense will prevail and after getting cost estimate/design plans ..they shelve the idea. h.o)

  7. Crankypants says:

    A couple of things come to mind about this story.

    Why is Vancouver the only municipal entity in Canada that elects a stand alone park board? I know it is part of the city charter but I’m sure public pressure could force the charter to be opened and altered.

    The other is the fact that the NPA has control of the park board. Aren’t they the ones that stump for votes by professing to treat taxpayers’ monies as if it were their own, or some such blather?

    (Response: I think an elected park board …as opposed to being just another committee of Council …was supposed to allow for greater citizen participation and influence over such an important aspect of Vancouver government. However, the truth is most voters have absolutely no idea of the work or voting/volunteering/working record of MOST park board members or candidates …and just vote on party lines, sometimes for people they wouldn’t recognize if they passed them on the street. But alas, same applies to Council, MLAs, MPs in many cases. The answer lies in encouraging greater citizen attention …through increasing news coverage of issues … instead of the crud on a platter …. police, fire and ambulance chasing stories … we get in excruciating detail, day after day after day. h.o)

  8. John's Aghast says:

    $43,000/yr MINIMUM living wage? That means a couple cohabiting can pull in $86,ooo per year? That’s not too shabby. I think I’ll go find a cohabitant and apply at City ‘Haul’.
    Wonder what a real job pays?

    (Response: With that kind of spending largess by Council …on top of so MANY other high spending decisions… it will certainly not help keep taxes down for young working families, singles, other privately employed people who don’t make that kind of money. They TALK about affordable housing, but their actions like this WILL make city/services more expensive: certainly shows they don’t really care much about keeping tax costs down for working people in the private sector …just making this a more and more costly city …for the rich and well-employed civil servants h.o)

  9. Gene the Bean says:

    Thanks for ‘keeping it real’ and yes, I was a little over the top in my previous comment, not fair to paint any one group with such a wide brush.

    That being said, I have no issue whatsoever in calling people like Christy Clark and Gordon Campbell “nefarious, morally bankrupt selfish lowlifes”.

    (Response: Hmm …politicians… I guess that’s “fair and reasonable” expression of free speech. Oh, Geez, there goes any hope of you or I EVER getting the Order of BC! h.o)

  10. RS says:

    This Love Locks proposal by the Park Board is as ill-conceived and inane as Christy Clark’s “Om the Bridge” fiasco, and should, if there’s an iota of sense & sensibility remaining within the Park Board, die the same humiliating and abrupt demise.

    H.O.! H.O.! HO.!H.O.! H.O.! HO.!

    (Response: I’m retired !! BUT ..if there’s a GREAT SEVERANCE package after doing a lousy job or almost nothing at all ..sign me up!! h.o)

  11. RS says:

    Hawgwash #1
    You’re killin’ me over here! <3 it!

  12. e.a.f. says:

    O.K. Harvey if you don’t want the job< i'll come out of retirement and do it. I'll sleep through the meetings, with sunglasses on, put a vodka martini in my water glass. can you check on how much severance I get?

    Harvey I'm sure you can do it. Just think of the ocean cruises you can get. You don't need to know anything about parks. You might even have a leg up on some of the other candidates. I hear you can read and write. You could campaign on having parks which actually serve the public, you know kids and such and no more "ART" FOR the parks.

    (Response: I would certainly CHARGE the taxpayers for my cruises …because it would be part if my exploration of alternative transportation systems. But I can promise you … I would NOT pay $26 for a glass of orange juice! ( Because unlimited juices are included in the cruise fare). h.o)

  13. Jay Jones says:

    There is clearly a severe shortage of political leadership bar-raisers throughout Canada.

    Over to you, Canada’s educational system.

    Hello? Hello!? Hello!!!??? Hey, is this thing even on!!!???

  14. 13 says:

    Harvey, on the lovely locks, no not Justins doo but the master yale wiser variety. I can save the city a pile and I have the perfect location.

    At the corner of Vernon Drive and Grant St. under the Terminal Ave Viaduct is a buisness called Davis Trading. They deal in scrap metal. They have tons of grates , fencing, every sort of scrap crap that the cliche riddled doofus Vancouverites could stick their padlocks to. If you take the time to bring your lock along with some used rims off of your moms Pinto you will even get paid for your locket of scrap crap.

    As for government sector workers getting a guaranteed wage of $43,000 per year I have to ask how does Gregor expect his workers to take a pay cut.

    (Response: I wonder if once you affix a lock, does the scrap metal become art? Maybe sell it to the National Art Gallery for enough money to improve transit? h.o)

  15. morry says:

    a bridge in Cologne has such a “sweetheart” lock thingy. it did’t cost a dime. people just started putting locks because the structure was built in such a way that this lock thingy took off. it wasn’t a bureaucratic wet dream.

  16. G. Barry Stewart says:

    My wife and I drove in from Chilliwack for a Canadians baseball game yesterday.

    As I was driving, I couldn’t appreciate all the new sites that had changed since our last visit — but I think it was on West 4th, near False Creek, where there’s a 3 or 4-floor condo wrapped in vertical steel slats. It’s untreated, so the steel is dripping rust onto the siding and sidewalks.

    I suppose it’s an architect’s statement on the “impermanence of man,” or something.

    THAT would be the ideal place for this love lock fence.

    (Response: And as more and more locks are added, the whole thing could collapse into a huge pile. Clearly art! h.o)

  17. Noneck says:

    First off, I’m not from the Lower Mainland so I don’t feel your pain. That being said, I’m trying to look at the other side of the issue. Could this have any economic benefit (i.e. tourism dollars)? I was recently in your fair city and I witnessed a number of tourists who were willing to spend countless $$$ on absolute junk. Couldn’t you pitch this plan to be a replacement Paris? You know, come plant your lock, propose to your sweetie, and make arrangements to come back every 5+ years to reaffirm the vows? Little chapels could pop up everywhere… and no, I’m trying not to be facetious. I know people who went to Paris simply because they wanted to put a lock on the bridge.

    Also, I know you guys are really sensitive about the bike lanes, but as a visitor, I didn’t see a problem. As a pedestrian, I enjoyed the buffer that the bike lane provided. Additionally, I drove my car in the downtown core several times and it didn’t seem any different than any other Vancouver visit of yesteryear. And this visit coincided with a major event (the Women’s World Cup). If you want complaints, I can offer the Chilliwack-Abbottsford-Port Mann corridor as a the number #1 issue I have with the Lower Mainland.

    I dunno. Just trying to spin a positive….

    (Response: I have met MANY, MANY tourists over the years … and no doubt, it’s our beauty, cleanliness, friendliness and food that attract. None of them have asked me where’s the love-lock place. And if we want to copy Paris…I’d much rather see an Eifel tower! h.o)

  18. BMCQ says:

    There must be something in “The Drinking or perhaps even The Bath Water” that Municipal Politicians in Cities like Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco New York, and many Cities ingest.

    Cities such as those I have just mentioned IN MY OPINION seem to be more likely to be involved in The Social Engineering Experiments and quite simply “Silly” Legislation and Ideas.

    Social Engineering is bad enough but there seems to be a need for too many Cities in North America to travel down The Same Path as Cities and Countries in The EU.

    For the Life of Me I cannot see or understand just what the attraction is to a City that runs like Copenhagen.

    I believe Mayors like Gregor, that disgusting excuse for a Human Being (Whoops) NYC Mayor De Blasio, SFO Mayor Lee, whose Cities along with another 200 or so World Wide are Members of The ICLEI and they have taken their Cities deep down that “ICLEI Rabbit Hole” and have created such a mess that once they eventually are tossed out it could still take at least a generation for the incoming Elected Officials to repair the damage done!

    What is it that motivates these Municipal Politicians?

    Unsustainable :Living Wages, Unsustainable Wages and Benefits, and a sickening appetite for Social Engineering.

    Once you get some of the Social Engineering,Unsustainable Salaries, Wages, and Pensions entrenched it is almost impossible to fix. Just ask Detroit.

    Biggest problem since Marty Zlotnik went away the NPA has turned into “Vision Lite”!!

    Because of that we in Vancouver really have no alternative to the “Horror Show” that is Mayor Gregor, his Brain Meggs and Ballem, and the rest of the “Vision Minions!! Therefore the majority of “The Great Unwashed” do not even bother to drag themselves to the Polling Station!

    We have Peter Ladner to thank for that.

    Perhaps we could take all of the so called “Love Locks” attach them to the Belts of some unnamed Council and Parks Board Commissioners Belts and throw them off of the Bridge.

    Hawgwash – 1

    Thank you for the suggestion but rather than Larry I would prefer have my “Love Lock” dedicated to myself and Bobbie Brown of “Cherry Pie” Fame!

    Sorry could not help myself!

    Sorry DBW did not get a chance to Proof this.

  19. larry Bennett says:

    This subject, I thought too stupid to comment on, as anything to do with Mayor Moonbeam is necessarily so. However, with Hawgwash’s comment, it is obvious of his envy, though I am not sure if it is of you or I, BMCQ, so just let me say “Amore scusami” but it is said whom the gods would destroy they first make mad – stark, raving, mad!

  20. e.a.f. says:

    O.K. so someone thought we ought to do the “love lock” thing. I would suggest the guy who said he had the perfect place: the metal recycler. Liked that one. The other one which might work for me, roundup the city councillors and parks board members and “lock” them into City Hall for a couple of weeks. No help. No staff, no leaving. Just leave them in there with some water and food they will have to learn to cook. Lets see what they have to say after that. Its like giving them a reality check.

    Its almost as good as the new seating idea they are trying to patent. The one where you side in some sort of circle instead of rows. I used to hear little boys call it a ……….
    I think some of those politicians are still at it.

  21. Hawgwash says:

    Somebody up the way said it would be cool to promote and lovers could return Aniversarily. I say it would more likely be Adversarily as most of them would have already swapped out partners several times over before the first year was up.
    Nope. A dumb idea. Sorta like the sailor with the Maggie tattoo.
    Now try and find the key when new honey wants it gone.

  22. larry Bennett says:

    This attempt at ‘art’ seems pretty peevish – I mean the kind that entails graffito on everything, runners hanging from power lines, lovelocks, tattoos and etc. when you consider the destruction of the priceless and irreplaceable antiquities of Iraq and Syria and other ancient cities, by the likes of ISIS/ISIL or whatever. One can only imagine the havoc they would reek on the art, cathedrals, galleries of ancient Athens, Rome, and a hundred other cities of Eurasia and the west in general!

  23. D. M. Johnston says:

    Sad to say, this sort of nonsense is at all levels of government and bureaucracy. Thrift is just NOT in the lexicon of bureaucrats and politicians in Victoria, City Hall, or even your local community group.

    To quote my late father (who had seen more waste and SNAFU’s while serving in the RCN in WW2); “when you have idiots in charge, don’t be surprised at the results”.

    (Response: I don’t think they’re idiots: I just think since it’s not THEIR money they’re spending, and there’s little or no accountability to the bosses (that’s us) as there is in private industry, they tend to spend at a much faster rate and waste a lot on questionable projects etc. without thinking of the long term costs/implications… unless the public stands up, as we do occasionally, and says “NO”. h.o)

  24. Laura says:

    The level of “caring” here for people who aren’t earning a wage they can live on is quite something to behold.

    Yes, best not to raise anyone’s taxes so working people can actually survive here.

    You guys take the cake when it comes to empathy and compassion alright.

  25. 13 says:

    Laura, I wonder how many Vancouver City employees make less than $21 per hour. I know that the union has allowed the city to hire SCAB part time cops/parking enforcement types. They work for less than the unionized meter maids but Ill bet even the scabs get more than $21 per hour. I believe that this living wage is a ploy cooked up by the city to create more scab positions at a much lower than scale rate. Funny how the union has allowed the scabs to get a foot in the civic door. It seems that govenment unions only look good because elected offcials will give the union almost anything in return for the union being less than effective when needed by the rank and file. Just look at the BCGEU. The 8 fired health researchers were fired without any evidence without cause and apparently without union protection. I heard some woman spokesperson for the BCGEU telling NW that the union fought the good fight. REALLY???

    So a living wage is a sound bite that doesnt mean much in the context of a public sector worker, unionized or scab they make well in excess of $21

  26. 13 says:

    Oh, by the way . When the dust settles and someone has to wear the wrongful dismisal and suicide I hope the BCGEU steps up to the plate and takes its share of the blame

  27. Laura says:

    13, I’m sure most workers at the city already make over $21 an hour, but will this also apply to contracted workers? If so, good.

    If the BCGEU failed then that would come out in a public inquiry, but we’re not going to get that so we’ll never know.

    I’ve only worked at one union job (for a couple of years) and it was common knowledge that union or not, if they want to get rid of you, they will.

  28. 13 says:

    Laura ,Ive worked in a unionized enviroment all my life. From local president , shop steward, and rank file member. One of the most devisive attitudes that hurts a unions ability to protect and bargain are members with your view. Unions have lost much of their power due to lazy over paid executives. Members like you with the “common knowledge” theory are hard to deal with.
    Having said that,once upon a time the quote was ‘an injury to one is an injury to all”. Even the weakest union should have risen to the fight to save 8 members.
    I am not a huge union supporter but Ill stack my 40 years of dues paying , meeting attendance, picket line duty, against your 2 years . Your attitude would have made the employer very happy.

  29. 13 says:

    I forgot to mention , of the members that I was involved with over the years that were fired I can only remember one that didnt get his job back after being fired. Even in that case the union managed to allow the member to resign rather than get fired with cause.

  30. larry Bennett says:

    13 – I would be more agreeable with what you said had you put “scabs” in quotation marks. It is a dispicable label, and the union uses it for its own nefarious reasons. Nobody who works for a living should be called a “scab”, and I thnk it rather scabrous of people to denigrate those willing to work (and I mean, actually work) for less than what some others consider their God given right. The best way to defend your superiority of work is to produce a better, more timely, and more excellent product at an affordable rate. After all, competition is the name of the game. It is true too, that the patience of the brick-layer is assumed in the dream of the architect – be they unionized or no.

  31. Laura says:

    Well 13, I saw lots of people fired even though we were in a union. We were janitors if that perhaps makes a difference as to why we weren’t strong enough to prevent those firings.

    As for me, I probably was an employer’s dream, just out of high school, naive, willing to work any shift, do more than expected etc. But after a couple of years I had had enough and quit.

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