21 September 2009

Good old-fashioned Garden City rant.

To quote the Joker in Tim Burton's Batman, "This town needs an enema!"

Yeah, it's been said before but in trying to do our civic duty tonight -- just getting to the open house that City Hall was hosting on the ridiculously costly infrastructure project to replace the Johnson Street Bridge -- it took us about 4 minutes to get close to City Hall and 20 minutes to find a place to park. Even the nearby parkades were packed because of an event at the McPherson Theatre -- in fact one parkade was the biggest part of the delay as idiots blocked the road for no fewer than 5 traffic light signals trying to enter. We finally got around that mess and found a spot that was barely big enough to pull into but Hubby managed it.

The meeting itself was a mix of boosters, detractors, and people who wandered in off the street to get free coffee. Local media was there as were a few councillors (no sign of Mayor Fortin though. Too bad -- I'd have told him how hard it was to park on a Monday) watching a powerpoint presentation and looking at the same drawings that have been circulated for months -- all of which were drawn up by a UK based architect (what -- Victoria, BC, and even Canada didn't have an architecht available???). Council will vote this Thursday. I'd be tempted to go but they rammed through the funding issue at nearly midnight last time and frankly I don't have much faith in this council to do what its citizens want.

There has been NO consideration of repairs to the existing bridge, only talk of the $63 million (some of which may be a Federal Funding carrot) to build a new bridge (that may still be subject to a toll). We took Kiddo to put in her vote because she will likely still be paying for it when she is our age if she stays in the city.

After the open house, we decided to detour to Serious Coffee -- generally a great place to get a quick coffee. Unfortunately, it seems that their management does not pay staff long enough to allow them to properly clean up so they shut down the espresso machines and stop brewing coffee long before closing time -- tonight nearly 20 minutes before closing. To make matters worse, we had ordered a "child's hot chocolate" -- most places will steam this at a lower temperature or add cold milk to temper it. Instead it was scalding hot and Kiddo was brought to tears burning her tongue. At least when Hubby asked, they brought her some ice water. (She was still crying when she went to bed.)

On the way out there were four people headed in for coffee. Hubby told them, "They've already shut down" and they turned and left. While they might have put up with what the dregs left from the day's brew, we didn't think it was fair that anyone pay for that.

Further up the street, three bewildered tourists were trying to figure out where to eat. They were standing on Broad Street outside the fish and chips place that had closed for the night sometime between 7:30 when we walked past the first time and 7:50 when we returned. We directed them to the Irish Times Pub after explaining that the city kinda rolls up its sidewalks weeknights.

It comes down to this: if you can't find many businesses open and you still can't find a place to park in the city, something's broken and a new bridge is not going to fix it.


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