NORTH PARK THREE

LISA HOPELESS – It looks like D-Day has finally arrived. Tonight we must decide the fate of the former site of St. Andrew’s School. Councillor Curmudgeon you’re up first.

COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – The Offensive Community Plan clearly states that it is our mission to turn Victoria into Vancouver over the next twenty years. So what better place to start than Vancouver Street itself?

LISA HOPELESS – Councillor Coalman, what’s your take on the matter?

COUNCILLOR COALMAN – Thank-you to everyone who turned out at the public meeting. This was a close call . . .

LISA HOPELESS – As per usual.

COUNCILLOR COALMAN – What finally swayed me was the developer’s commitment to put aside ten units to be priced at a rent ten dollars below the market rate. Some might scoff and say ten dollars a month is a drop in the bucket, but if my math is correct that’s two Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks each and every month. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

LISA HOPELESS – Thank-you once again for your random musings, Councillor Coalman. According to the scoreboard, that’s two for the development, zero against. What say you Councillor Bullshit?

COUNCILLOR BULLSHIT – The public hearing clearly showed that those opposed to the project are actually residents of North Park whereas those who seek to gentrify the area come from more affluent parts of the city. It’s a classic battle of the proletariat versus the bourgeoisie. Some say this neighbourhood needs a kick in the butt. I say maybe it’s Jimmy Pattison who needs the kick in the butt!

(Cheering from the audience.)

LISA HOPELESS (her head swiveling like Linda Blair in The Exorcist) – How many times do I have to spell it out to you North Park inbreds? This chamber is supposed to be a safe space. No clapping, no booing, no high spirits, absolutely no fun! The next person who speaks out of turn is going to be shot in the kneecaps.

COUNCILLOR MADDOG – I believe I’m up next. And since I already have a bad back, I certainly can’t afford anything to happen to my kneecaps.

LISA HOPELESS – This sure is one hell of a mess we’ve got ourselves into, Pam.

COUNCILLOR MADDOG – You can say that again, Lisa. In all my time on council, I’ve never seen a battle so divisive. If only the developer had been genuine in consulting the community from the outset, this story might have had a happy ending.

COUNCILLOR ALTERNATIVE REALITY – Nevertheless, the development does conform to the guidelines set out in the OCP.

COUNCILOR LUSCIOUS – She’s right.

COUNCILLOR LOVEFLAKE – You two bitches say that every time there’s a public hearing about a controversial development. How’s this for a fact: The number of residents who spoke against the project outnumbered the ones who spoke in favour of it by a margin of over two-to-one. I did good, Ben?

COUNCILLOR BULLSHIT – You did good, buddy.

LISA HOPELESS – Council Thornton, you have the floor.

COUNCILLOR JOE THORNTON – This has been a tough one . . .

LISA HOPELESS – Aren’t they all.

COUNCILLOR JOE THORNTON – I was in my backyard yesterday, quietly contemplating the upcoming vote, when a seagull flew overhead and took a crap on me. According to ancient Chinese superstition, I must vote yes to the proposed development.

COUNCILLOR COALMAN – Sounds as good a reason as anything else I’ve heard tonight, Joe.

COUNCILLOR CURMUDGEON – I guess that leaves you to cast the deciding vote, Madame Mayor.

LISA HOPELESS – Shit! I knew this would happen. Do you know this stupid vote has been making me physically ill? I’ve spent the entire weekend on my couch with a blanket over my head sipping chicken soup. How can I possibly justify siding with a big box store over a local farm? It goes against everything I supposedly stand for. I’ll be caught out as a charlatan, a fraud. I even bought my tomato plants from Farmer Vicky last spring.

COUNCILLOR ALTERNATIVE REALITY – And how long did it take before you saw your first ripe tomato?

LISA HOPELESS – I don’t know. A month or two.

COUNCILLOR ALTERNATIVE REALITY – Now what if you had simply gone to the Save-On-Foods produce section and bought yourself a couple of beefsteak tomatoes grown in Mexico.

LISA HOPELESS – They probably wouldn’t have tasted as good.

COUNCILLOR ALTERNATIVE REALITY – Nonetheless, think how much less fuss it would have been compared to growing the tomatoes yourself. No getting your hands dirty planting, no spending hours watering and fertilizing. You’d have had so much more time to spend with the chickens.

LISA HOPELESS – I hadn’t thought about it that way. Maybe you’re right, Marianne.

COUNCILLOR ALTERNATIVE REALITY – Welcome to the dark side, Lisa. There’s always a place for you at the table. Bah-ha-ha!

LISA HOPELESS – Even though I’m siding with big business over the little guy and possibly dealing a deathblow to my credibility in the process, I ask that everyone remain calm. And please—I beg of you—nobody trash my bike!