Saturday, January 28, 2012

Two North Vans too many?

For as long as the iconic twin peaks of The Lions have towered over the North Shore, there’s been talk of “harmonizing” their stony redundancies and making do with just one. Well, almost.
In truth, the ongoing North Vancouver amalgamation debate — as perennial to the North Shore landscape as snow atop those granite peaks — officially got its start on Oct. 23, 1957.
That’s when, according to District of North Vancouver records, the first committee was set up to look for cost efficiencies in uniting the two North Vans. Studies were done and referenda were held throughout the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. But the idea — while polling well in the district — never held as much sway in the city.
That may be changing.


Don McBain said...

The debate for combining the two North Vancouvers may go one for a long time. As for the combining of West Vancouver also, I would think that would be a milenium...

Anonymous said...

Good article explaining the numbers how NVC folk pay more than DNV residents for municipal services.

DNV will discuss amalgamation but Musatto won't. His reason? Wait for it...until DNV has the same densification as CNV then he won't talk.

Well whoop dee do.

Meanwhile, back at the taxpayer;s wallets, things are pretty well the same as usual...

Anonymous said...

Then if the taxpayers do in fact want amalgamation, why let the mayors make the decision? They work for you, the taxpayer, put together enough signatures and petition for amalgamation. Whining about the politicians not doing anything is like waiting for paint to dry.

John Sharpe said...

This topic has been a little 'blogged to death' here, but I felt this article was more than just 'to amalgamate or not to amalgamate.'

N.V. taxpayers I talk to about this usually hold a very objective view and can't understand why the two N.V.'s are not combined. Perhaps it will take a different City Mayor to bring around this common sense change. Agree with anon 8:36 that our politicians work for us not the other way around. This is precisely why, as a community we need to pay much more attention to who we elect, as once we elect them we're stuck for three years. I feel the good of Amalgamation out weighs the bad for the taxpayers of North Vancouver.

Recently the 'A' word has come up again in Langley where a petition in favour of unification study was denied.

Anonymous said...

So which Mayor and Council will be willing to step down from political office? It already looks like CNV has its heels dug in for the long haul. Never the twain shall meet.

Anonymous said...

Pretty obvious for any logical change to the City it will have to be a different Mayor. Even refuses to discuss the amalgamation of fire services and I understand the District responds to 40% of the City's calls? Do they bill the City? 66 employees at the City's one firehall.

George Pringle said...

4 councilors can outvote any Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Doug MD is a former RCMP officer and as such is a bully. He is trying to bully the city into paying for his council's financial problems.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:45PM, you should be careful with your accusations. They might come back to haunt you. In case you've not been reading the news, the internet isn't truly anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Soo scared.

Anonymous said...

Mixed up folk. DMD is not former RCMP he was Vancouver City Police.

The article states that Mayor Walton is willing to discuss but Musatto is not.

Don't believe fire services is any greater savings that any other municipal division. Hell, start with accounting services or HR services and work up to the big ones.

John Sharpe said...

Clr. MacKay-Dunn a bully? Why, because he said,

“If you put a committee together for six months, they’ll come up with a report that’s compelling,” MacKay-Dunn says, “whether they find savings or not.

“To those who don’t even want to do that,” he adds, “I say, ‘Why?’”

And maybe because he said,

“There’s an urban myth out there saying that if we amalgamate, then city dwellers are going to pay more in taxes,” MacKay-Dunn says. “But really there’s only one taxpayer on the North Shore.

Sounds like common sense to me. Calling that bullying is a bit of a stretch.

Anonymous said...

Will amalgamation reduce the favoured hiring practice of nepotism often exhibited by the City of North Vancouver?

Anonymous said...

What favoured hiring practices are you speaking of? Examples, please.

Anonymous said...

Surprised to see George having the nerve to comment here after abandoning his apartment and thus his residence in North Van -- our would-be Mayor here, man of principle that he is, managed to blow the coop and run out of town after the Residential Tenancy Office ruled against him for not paying his rent. Come on George - I dare you to come out and challenge what I'm saying!

Anonymous said...


Why don't you post something about the longboarding issue?

Great editorial in today's Province newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that reports and was hired by the IT manager is allegedly a result of nepotism. Important to assemble a team that can offer protection and spin doctoring when questionable budget expenditures come under scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Where's your proof? Without proof, you're doing nothing but spreading gossip.

Anonymous said...

I would like to have George on the record with his version of events before I offer any proof. That gives me the opportunity to out him as a liar as well as a deadbeat. Things the public should know about a man who thinks he should be our Mayor. So...come on, George - get on the record. Is the previous allegation true, or not?

George said...

1. I was fired without any legally required written notice, probably because I said publicly the corporation that runs it does not provide disabled access and the City should do something against them.

2. I took the corporation to the RTA not the reverse.

3. I am suing them under the employment standards act for the about $18,000 not paid according to the law of BC. I am attempting to get a ruling not only for myself but all the employees of this Corporation that is not paying employees in accordance with the ESA. They own 20 other buildings in the lower mainland as well as large commercial interest in Vancouver. Until my legal case against them is done, I can't comment further as I don't want to hurt my suit against them.

4. Since an aging parent is going to the hospital for two operations, I took the opportunity to go home to help out rather than move to a basement suite, probably illegal as is the norm in the City.

Anonymous said...

Since when is written notice needed when firing a person?

Anonymous said...

Were they paying the minimum wage in this province? If they were, you don't have a case.

Anonymous said...

After reading some claims on this blog about the PC replacement and disposal of PC’s that may have been only 1, 2 or 3 years in age at the City some fun with numbers, age of PC’s aside.

$650,000.00 budget to replace all the PC’s at City Hall

Staff count per all departments according to 2011-2020 financial plan on city website is 382

Replacing 382 PC’s
Average cost/PC (DELL Website) = $900.00
382 X $900.00 = $343,800.00
$306,200.00 remains in budget.
$800.00/unit for I assume physical replacement and setup?

But wait will every staff member get a PC?

Let’s break it down a little more with the staff totals/department according to 2011-2020 financial plan on city website

Fire department 66 staff I am guessing 40 PC’s would suffice for 1 fire hall. 382-26 = 356
Police department I am guessing they look after their own computers. 356-77 = 279
Engineering parks and environment 111. Make it easy say 41 outside workers. 279 -41 = 238

Replacing a more realistic number of 238 PC’s
Average cost/PC (DELL Website) = $900.00
238 X $900.00 = $214,200.00
$435,800.00 remains in budget.

$1831.00/ unit for I assume physical replacement and setup?

Does it really cost one to two times the cost of the PC to physically replace and setup?

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back in action George:

It'll be interesting to see the census numbers this week

Anonymous said...

So George -- did you or did you not pay your rent?

Anonymous said...

You going to ask again before you leave work at City Hall?

Anonymous said...

And a good letter in the News today:

sue lakes cook said...

One of my friends said I had to take a look at the blog again as my arch enemy George Pringle has left town! I never thought I would hear myself typing this, but there are areas that I agree with George. The main one being the amalgamation of the City and District of North Vancouver.
I went before CNV council again for more details on the $200,00.00 they have blown on entertainment at the pier both last year and this.
I was given the same old "if it takes staff more then 3 hours to find that information then we will have to charge you"!
Hello -
#1 - why is City staff accepting contracts that may take them more then 3 hours to figure out?
#2 - why are we paying City Staff over $100,00.00 per year plus benefits if they are so incompetent it would take them more then 3 hours to figure a contract out?
I guarantee if they went to the main for profit agencies, (Siegel, Whitefoot, and Notable) the City would give the budget and every one of these agencies would be right on line or below budget.

It is time for the Keating, Mussatto and gang to hang up their hats and it is time for Richard Walton to be the Mayor of BOTH North Vancouvers. Oh, and Clark and Bookham can be the two additional council members for a North Vancouver Mayor and Council

Anonymous said...

Well, Hell has frozen over - I agree with Sue.

Couldn't care less about George.
Yes, Sue and anyone else should be charged for staff time over 3 hrs.


Festivals should be community organized and financed with public funding restricted to additional costs for policing and safety costs


Yes to wasteful duplication of administration through amalgamation.

Anonymous said...

Sue, if you're taking staff away from productive work, I sure as hell hope they charge you for their time. I'm not interested in my tax dollars being used to pay for your hunting expeditions.

Anonymous said...

Why should it require a hunting expedition? The facts should be straightforward in the first instance.
NS News today about fire services again - there is not unanimous agreement between the 3 - so Smith & Walton agree and once again the City Mayor is out of the loop.

Anonymous said...

Must every fact be made ready for easy access? Is that how you want to spend your tax dollars - on a team of people spending all of their time cataloguing, scanning, digitizing, converted to easily accessed web pages? Factor in the value of that when compared to the actual number of people who want access to that information and ask yourself if it's worth it? I highly doubt that it is. I have no problem with a person paying a user fee for accessing esoteric data. It's city hall, not the public library. The staff there have jobs to do. Stop demanding 'busy work' of them for free.

Anonymous said...

Two different subjects.

We have local "council watchers", who mainly have no background or training in civic managment, yet they see themselves as general experts on many aspects municipal administration. They waste an inordinate amount of staff time while they have staff hunt for facts that suit their foregone conclusions - often to no avail.

I think that 3 hours for free is generous. One hour free would be more appropriate so that staff can get back to their work.

Anyone wanting more time than that should pay.

The City's mayors since Jack Loucks have all done their best to frustrate open minded amalgamation consideration. Nothing has changed.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if the info had been available when they voted on the expenditure there would be no need for time. And your derogatory remarks about "council watchers" could do with some fact checking.

sue lakes cook said...

Oh please - Can you honestly tell me that in this day and age of accounting computer programs that the City staff need to take over 3 hours to figure out where public money is being spent?

Every company worth it's salt can easily locate budget issues, or they are completely inefficent.

This is just another way of making sure that the public never finds out where their dollars are being spent - and the excusses are getting boring.

In terms of the fire department, I went before council months ago with a copy of the Dugal Smith extremely detailed report and I find it extremely curious that the City of Fire Department did not go through this report with a fine tooth comb, since they are so costly to the taxpayers. Just how much have their wages gone up since this report was published on Feb. 28, 2011?

While we are at it, the Lionsview did a very intensive seniors survey in the Fall. I did find it questionable with our multi-cultural society that the only surveys where only printed in English and Farsi. I also wonder why the workshops where seniors can discuss this survey are only in Farsi in the City, and English speaking seniors who live in the City have to go to either the District or West Vancouver. Surely with the North Vancouver Neighborhood House, the Library and John Braithwaite they could have had one meeting for the 7%of Farsi speaking seniors and another location in the city for the 93% of us who responded in English

Anonymous said...

Fact checking? Really? OK.

Who are the gallery "council watchers" with senior level public administration education and experience such that they have the expertise to make informed comments? Which of those civic experts are persistently having staff run about looking up information for their interest?

Let's hear the facts.

sue lakes cook said...

I cannot believe that anyone truly believes it would take City staff over 3 hours to find finacial (or any other facts). This is just Tollstam speak for "get lost this is MY kingdom and I am not about to share with you surfs"
The City only serves one master at a time and this is the time for wealthy developers and every one else can just go and chew on their cud.

In terms of amalgamation, I believe the difference is in a local government who wants to serve the good of the people and a local government that is just interested in building its own power base for several "insider" individuals - such as City Staff and several of the council members.

Watch Mussatto during the TV coverage of council meetings and he looks like he is either falling asleep or not feeling well. Look at how the topics and discussions are being controlled by just 3 individuals.

There is no question that Mayor Walton and those on the District council are more professional, open, and equal (although I am sure there are issues behind the scenes)

Time for the amalgamation with Walton the Mayore over the whole North Vancouver.

George Pringle said...

Sue - I will be back, in the fall once my mother's operation in March goes well and a rehab program for my legs I've got from Veternan's Affairs is done.

Having put quite a few ATIs in for Ted, the secret is in what you ask for. Just ask for the contract itself, they are trying to convince you it will be expensive by implying there will be hours of hours of work. If time ask for any staff report but if delivered in-camera they will deny it.

As a general rule, the City is not using email as they can be obtained by ATI. When I asked during the question period about Metro having a veto over zoning decisions of a Council, the answer was given to by phone and they will avoid leaving material that can obtained by ATI.

Once you have the contract, someone else could ask for the emails between on this from the City Manager but I would bet anything good is in-camera and would be blacked out in emails.

As detailed in my blog post, they are limiting Real Player to hamper blog reporting of details of Council meetings.

The best way to end the control of Council by the Mayor and senior staffers is Councillors who stand against their ways.

George Pringle said...

I called for a referendum on amalgamation that defined the new Council be one Mayor elected by all and 4 Councillors elected by each old municipality for the first two elections. It is needed to assure voters in the City that this is not a District takeover.

One thing that can considered for the future is North Vancouver electing neighborhood councillors which would ignore old boundaries. Norgate and Pemberton could be combined with the Cap Mall area. Upper Lonsdale would be all Upper Lonsdale. A Grand Blvd area could include that east of Sutherland distant area that is in the middle of the City.

Voters in Lower Lonsdale would only vote between a couple of candidates. Areas in the City that don't get equal attention and respect would have their own Councillor.

It could be done without amalgamation, just an bylaw by Council.

Anonymous said...

George, proof-reading is your friend.

Anonymous said...

George- your rent at 125 W. Keith Road is still in arrears! Please settle this balance owing of $1,200.00 immediately!

Anonymous said...

Whoever is posting comments about George's private life, please contact him directly. This is nothing to do with this blog and you obviously have a score to settle.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, back at the blog topic.....

The District has done a study showing that the N. Shore taxpayers would save $millions with an amalagamated fire dept.

The City issues standard comments suspicious of the District...

Anonymous said...

Also save millions amalgamating the libraries...

Anonymous said...

...and engineering, and planning, and the clerk's offices, and finance, and h.r., and council, and the city manager's office...

Heeeyyyyy...wait a minute....where's this going??

sue lakes cook said...

So it is time to get the real facts and figures as to how much the taxpayers will save by amalgamation, not only in dollars but also in hot air.

Let's really look at a Mayor, Council and Staff who really work for the people and not just for developers and special interest groups with money. Let's finally have the guts to demand those who represent us to open the books and public dialogue. Right now that council and Mayor are in the District of North Vancouver.

Come on City folk, let's get organized and really make the change.

Anonymous said...

I welcome the District, the
professionalism of Mayor Walton
and the independent councilors.

As a taxpayer, I think a lot of
money could be saved with an

The City Mayor puts his stamp
of approval on it all, especially

Anonymous said...

OK.. so who's up for organizing a citizen forum? or something? Where to start? I'll make picket signs! We can start with demanding the City do a staff report about fire service amalgamation. Darrell refuses to discuss it, his answer is that they already are.. not true.

Toni Bolton said...

Why did the City not post that the Mayor would be on the Bill Good show today discussing:

Are two North Vans too many? How much money could be saved if they amalgamated? That’s the focus of today’s waste patrol. The City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto does not support amalgamation and says he won’t entertain the idea until the district meets the same benchmarks for urban density that the city has. Mayor Walton is open to the idea of amalgamation but notes that it will take cooperation from the city. How can one turn a blind eye to the benefits of amalgamation when a recent report commissioned by the District of North Vancouver found that North Shore taxpayers could save $3.6 million dollars a year if the community’s three fire departments merged? How much could be saved if the 2 North Vancouvers were to become one?

Anonymous said...

I was told that exempt staff at the city and district are entitled to overtime. Lucrative and open to abuse.

Anonymous said...

Don't know about the city.

District top exempt, CAO, Directors etc. not entitled to overtime but can bank "council time", that is, time spent in after hour meetings with and for council at 50% of time actually spent.

Jr. exempt can only get overtime for emergency callout.

Abuse is virtually non-existant.

Anonymous said...


CAO, Directors etc. all entitled to overtime. "council time", not known

Jr. exempt – entitled to overtime. Answering email on weekends is considered overtime.

Abuse - ATI would tell the story

Anonymous said...

George gave up the right to privacy by becoming a candidate for public office. The public needs to know the character of the man who would represent us.

Anonymous said...

Never judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes

George Pringle said...

Proof Reading is not a friend of those going to the Library for a quick internet session with little time online. A couple of weeks that will be fixed.

Sorry for the stream of consciousness comments, think of it as an extra puzzle for your day.

sue lakes cook said...

If one is going to be involved in politics your life is an open book warts and all.

George has walked his miles in a fairly abusive way, as I found out from personal experience and made it a point to find out as many negative things as possible and expose them as much as he can. Now perhaps it is his turn. We can only hope it will be a good learning experience for him.

As far as the Grant McRadu study on the benefit of amalgamation of the North Shore Fire Departments, I have it right in front of me. If any one wants to make a copy let me know. If there are any details you want let me know about that as well.

Anonymous said...

George - is your case against your employer and landlord been decided yet?

Anonymous said...

Employment Standards cases take quite a while, when a big corporation is avoiding minimum wage laws but donated $50,000 to Christy Clark's leadership - they act like they have bought a premier.

Anonymous said...

Rumour is the city left their entire document management system unsecured and data was accessible to anyone.
George/Sue you may never have to submit another ATI if this information is in public hands?

George Pringle said...

I've never seen a North Van "wikileaks" site.

Anonymous said...

Good thing for you that there isn't, George.