As if the bike lanes weren’t enough Vancouver’s West End residents now have another series of Big Brother intrusions to contend with this summer. How many fireworks do you have to watch to get sick of it? Vancouver’s Pride Parade is turning into a fenced-in zoo spectacle that gay residents should no longer be proud of. City of Vancouver is fast acquiring the reputation of the developed world’s most insensitive, undemocratic and abusive municipal government.
It started about 15 years ago as a novel idea to entertain visitors, a 4-day international fireworks competition spectacle. Over the years it has turned into a baah humbug money-making ritual for the city oligarchy, attracting a dwindling number of visitors every year. West End residents pay the price for this lame “entertainment” by having their constitutional rights suspended for 4 days. Roadblocks are set up starting at 7:30PM, virtually shutting out West End residents from their homes or imprisoning them until 11:30PM. Residents are supposed to line up at a couple of entry points to go home by producing picture identification. What’s worse, the roadblocks are manned by civilians that receive no training in police work or handling crowds. The first year of the event I was threatened by arrest in front of my home unless I went all the way back to the line-up and came through another corridor. A similar incident happened the other day in spite of my routing instructions from the police until a supervisor happened by and removed the roadblock.
Instead of innovating a new cultural event that all can rejoice in, the City’s barren entertainment barons have decided to further commercialise the fireworks, again at the expense of residents. An all-day advertising event has been set up for “entertainment” at Sunset Beach Park with live rock music that blasts through residents’ homes across the street until 10PM. Named the “Honda Celebration of Light” this year’s event hopes to attract crowds with a rock concert that one can hear across False Creek. While it has disrupted the lives of many residents some of whom are ailing senior citizens, the 1.5 million anticipated visitor volume has not materialised.
In a modus operandi reminiscent of Third World countries that Canada’s media loves to attack as undemocratic, it wasn’t possible to identify a responsible person or authority to reason with. The police said it’s a City event, so you have to take up your issue with the City. The City operator told me it’s an outside event that the City only issues a permit for, so you have to speak to the organisers. Rick Clark, the event coordinator at the City’s Entertainment Permits Department told me nothing can be done about the noise level since the event is supported by higher-ups, the City Council and the Mayor’s Office. His Worship didn’t return my call. With 26 lawyers in its legal department The City and its mayors have developed a rhino skin immunity to citizen complaints over the years.
Another cultural event that the City of Vancouver has adulterated is Vancouver’s Gay Pride Parade. What used to be a fun spectacle for Beach Avenue residents for decades was turned into a fenced-in zoo parade behind steel fences lining up Pacific Avenue, the new parade route for the past few years. Early in the morning residents of Pacific Avenue are boxed in behind steel wire, unable to drive out, until the fences are removed at 6PM. This spectacle in a cage is nothing to be proud of for a community that has been fighting for its dignity and fundamental human rights. The Pride event is scheduled for next Sunday, August 4th, with an entertainment fair on Davie Street and Sunset Beach Park.
My visitors from Europe have commented that every year they visit Vancouver it’s looking more and more like a Third World city.