BURDETT

COUNCILLOR COALMAN – Jesus Christ Almighty! It looks like a standing room only crowd!

COUNCILLOR JOE THORNTON – And while it might not be Chinese New Year, there’s bound to be more than a few fireworks!

LISA HOPELESS – Welcome everybody. Our first speaker is Old Guy.

OLD GUY – I live in the apartment block next to the proposed development. Because of the height of the new building I will probably never see the sun again, which might be okay if I was Nosferatu or Gene Miller, but is definitely not okay for my vegetable garden.

LISA HOPELESS – Thank-you, Old Guy. Next up we have Young Guy.

YOUNG GUY – I’m a young professional who works downtown bagging groceries at The Market on Yates. While I estimate the rent of one of the new units would consume roughly eighty percent of my salary, at least I’d be able save on transportation costs by being able to walk to work.

LISA HOPELESS – Call me curious, but with the cost of housing taking up such a high percentage of your income, how can you afford to eat?

YOUNG GUY – I can’t. But if I’m really sneaky at work I can fulfill all of my dietary requirements. PRICE CHECK AISLE THREE.

LISA HOPELESS – Interesting. Next we have Old Gal.

OLD GAL (dressed like Amelia Earhart) – I may be retired but that doesn’t mean I’m not active. It’s beyond me how young people nowadays can live in these tiny boxes. Personally, I’d never be able to find the room to store all of my stuff. I mean where would I put my surfboard? In the bathtub? I just don’t see how it could possibly work.

LISA HOPELESS – Thank-you Old Gal. Next we have Young Gal.

YOUNG GAL – Victoria needs more people living and working downtown. While there’s no arguing the forty-four units in the proposed development are barely more than closets, a new yoga position I’ve been practicing should allow me to sleep on my ironing board.

LISA HOPELESS – It’s like I always say, creative thinking can overcome any obstacle! Just be careful when you’re turning over during the night, Young Gal.

YOUNG GAL – Believe me, I will.

LISA HOPELESS – Our final speaker tonight is Reasonable Guy.

REASONABLE GUY – After listening to all of the opinions expressed this evening, I can only conclude that the citizens of Victoria are seriously divided, not just about this proposal but about development in general. Young people have a right to affordable housing, just as old people have a right to maintain the character of their neighbourhoods. I do not envy the task council has ahead of them.

LISA HOPELESS – You can say that again. Councillors, seeing as tonight’s meeting is already running late, I’ve decided to alter the format from here on in.

COUNCILLOR LUSCIOUS – How’s that?

LISA HOPELESS – Rather than let you lot blather on, repeating the same points ad nauseam, I’m just going to guess how each of you will vote. Councillor Maddog, you’re up first. Given your opposition to anything new, I assume that you are against the proposal?

COUNCILLOR MADDOG – One for one, Lisa. I feel the transition from multi-family use to single-family residential is too abrupt.

LISA HOPELESS – Whatever. Councillor Alternative Reality, it goes without saying that you are in favour of the project.

COUNCILLOR ALTERNATIVE REALITY – I’m what developers call an easy lay.

LISA HOPELESS – Councillor Joe Thornton, against.

COUNCILLOR JOE THORNTON – Correct.

LISA HOPELESS – And Councillor Luscious, in favour.

COUNCILLOR LUSCIOUS – You’re batting a thousand so far, Lisa.

LISA HOPELESS – Councillor Coalman, I must confess, I never know which way you’re going to swing.

COUNCILLOR COALMAN – Just call me Tarzan!

LISA HOPELESS – But my best guess is that you are opposed to the project.

COUNCILLOR COALMAN – I’m impressed, Lisa. While I do find the design of the building somewhat pleasing, unfortunately, it feels like the developer is attempting to shoehorn too many units into not very much space.

LISA HOPELESS – Councillor Loveflake, I’m sure you side with the young people who spoke tonight begging council to increase the supply of affordable housing in the city. Am I right?

COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – Speaking not only as the youngest member of council but as a renter myself, I give the project two big thumbs up.

LISA HOPELESS – By the way, where’s Councillor Bullshit tonight?

COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – I believe he has a ukulele concert.

LISA HOPELESS – How convenient.

COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – My turn!

LISA HOPELESS – Having observed you in action over the last two terms, Councillor Curmudgeon, I’ve come to believe you take great pleasure in playing the contrarian. It’s like you’re Poirot summing up in the final chapter of an Agatha Christie mystery. You present convincing arguments for and against, such that anything seems possible, and then conclude by magically pulling a rabbit out of your hat.

COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – But the question is which rabbit am I going to pull out of my hat tonight?

LISA HOPELESS – Given the proximity of the development to your own doorstep, I would have to guess, in true NIMBY fashion, that you are against the proposal.

COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – Good work, Sherlock! But now comes the moment we’ve all been waiting for. How are you going to vote, Madame Mayor?

LISA HOPELESS – Fuck Ben! I think he intentionally skipped the meeting tonight so I’d be forced to cast the deciding vote. I’m so stressed out I’ll probably have to take an extra meditation class this week. As you well know, I believe the city needs to densify in order to serve the needs of young professionals. However, I also know full well millennials don’t vote. And if I piss off enough old people, they’ll have me out on my keister come next election. It’s definitely a no-win situation.

COUNCILLOR COALMAN – Maybe you should consider flipping a coin.

COUNCILLOR JOE THORNTON – It couldn’t hurt.

COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – I’ve got a loonie in my pocket. It’s a little sticky, but it should do the trick.

COUNCILLOR ALTERNATIVE REALITY – Go for it girl!

COUNCILLOR LUSCIOUS – What do you have to lose!

LISA HOPELESS – Given your considerable experience, Councillor Curmudgeon, what do you advise?

COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – This council meeting has already gone on for over five hours. Everybody’s tired and ready to go home. While flipping a coin may be unusual, I do not believe it to be unprecedented.

LISA HOPELESS – I don’t know . . . I’m just not sure.

COUNCILLORS – FLIP THE BLOODY COIN!