FORT STREET

LISA HOPELESS – Before any of you small business owners take the mic, I would like to remind you that I have a special dog whistle in my possession that can unleash bylaw enforcement pit bulls to your establishment at a moment’s notice. And don’t think I won’t hesitate to use it! Keeping that in mind, I call upon our first speaker, Jumbo Jones.

JUMBO JONES – Mayor, council. I own a restaurant on the five hundred block of Fort Street. Mine is but one of several restaurants that employ hundreds of people and generate millions of dollars in business each year.

COUNCILLOR BULLSHIT – A capitalist!

JUMBO JONES – If I might continue, there was little consultation with the business community before the adoption of the Fort Street bike corridor. It is a flawed plan. Bi-directional bike lanes were abandoned in Copenhagen a decade ago . . .

LISA HOPELESS – You’re saying you’re anti-bi?

JUMBO JONES – Not at all. It’s just that . . .

LISA HOPELESS – NEXT SPEAKER!

BISHOP CRINGE – The Yarrow Building is home to a number of medical services, including my pharmacy. Many of the patients using these services have mobility issues. The bike lanes will add one more challenge to an already challenging environment.

LISA HOPELESS – And that’s my problem?

BISHOP CRINGE – If I might quote Sherlock Holmes . . .

LISA HOPELESS – We’re here to talk about bike lanes, not detective fiction.

BISHOP CRINGE – If you will bear with me a moment, my point will hopefully become clear. Sherlock Holmes said it is a mistake to theorize before one has data.

COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – What’s that supposed to mean?

BISHOP CRINGE – You assume that building all of these bike lanes will encourage more people to bike to work, but the truth is it might not make any difference whatsoever.

COUNCILLOR BULLSHIT – Did I mention that I speak five languages, including Czech?

LISA HOPELESS – And how is that relevant, councillor?

COUNCILLOR BULLSHIT – Perhaps the Bishop is unaware of a recent study published by the University of Prague concerning a bike lane similar to the one proposed for Fort Street. The study clearly showed that the number of cyclists had doubled from one to two.

BISHOP CRINGE – You mean from one thousand to two thousand?

COUNCILLOR BULLSHIT – No. I mean from one to two.

LISA HOPELESS – Just the type of paradigm shift I was talking about. Our final speaker is Robert Service.

COUNCILLOR BULLSHIT – Weren’t you one of the candidates in the 2014 city election?

ROBERT SERVICE – I was.

COUNCILLOR BULLSHIT – Where did you end up?

ROBERT SERVICE – In the middle of the pack.

COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – See what happens when the Victoria Labour Council doesn’t endorse you. Na Na Na Na Na Na!

ROBERT SERVICE – Like the speakers before me, I too have a business on Fort Street.

LISA HOPELESS – What type of business?

ROBERT SERVICE – A flag shop.

LISA HOPELESS – You are aware of the new federal guidelines that state all flag shops shall have an oversized Pride Flag prominently displayed in the front window at all times.

ROBERT SERVICE – I am aware of the new law, Madame Mayor. But my concern tonight is the proposed bike lane on Fort Street. I am told construction will result in the loss of thirty parking spaces. This will severely impact businesses along the street. I bring to you a petition signed by 128 business owners begging you to reconsider your plans.

LISA HOPELESS – Mr. Coax, could you fetch me a lighter?

ROBERT SERVICE – Why do you need a lighter?

LISA HOPELESS – I’m burning the petition.

ROBERT SERVICE – And why in heaven’s name would you do that, Madame Mayor?

LISA HOPELESS – As a symbol that the needs of the small business community are the lowest priority of this council.

ROBERT SERVICE – Maybe we need a new council then!

LISA HOPELESS – Mr. Service, I assume your flag shop has a valid business licence?

ROBERT SERVICE – It does.

LISA HOPELESS – And only one sandwich board of the prescribed size?

ROBERT SERVICE – Completely according to regulations.

LISA HELPLESS – What about pets?

ROBERT SERVICE – Well . . .

LISA HOPELESS – Well, what?

ROBERT SERVICE – I have a dog, Mr. Magoo. He’s sort of a store mascot. A friendly old thing. The customers love him.

LISA HOPELESS – Mr. Coax, get animal control on the line. I do believe Mr. Magoo is about to take a little ride.