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Bell: Calgary councillors and even Gondek shoot down pipeline investigation plans

Bell: Calgary councillors and even Gondek shoot down pipeline investigation plans

The top brass at City Hall actually believed they could sell a pale imitation of an independent inquiry into the whole water pipes affair.

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Calgarians, you have the attention of these city council politicians.

And so, see you later, babe!

Put a fork in it.

What good news for such bad garbage!

In a humiliating Calgary city council committee meeting, city politicians tell top brass where they can put their plans for the water pipeline investigation and it’s not in Blue Sky City.

Perhaps the light has finally come on for them. Perhaps the desire to save their political skin has been activated.

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Maybe some of these Calgary politicians realized that you can only disrespect Calgarians so many times and will finally show the politicians who’s boss.

Perhaps they had the same thoughts as Sonya Sharp, the councillor who heads the council committee and now wants the town hall’s paper-twisters to scrap their plans and come up with something better, much better.

“I can tell you that people are not happy,” Sharp told me earlier this week.

“You can spin things all you want. People are not happy and they won’t forget it.”

Sharp has been pushing hard for a real investigation into the water pipe fiasco.

In a recent column, he even talked about the chaos at Calgary City Hall and called it chaos.

Then there’s Jennifer Wyness.

This councillor has been asking questions and when she poses these riddles and keeps insisting on her arguments, she gets on the nerves of the bigwigs at the town hall.

You can see it in their faces and hear it in their voices.

Let’s not forget Dan McLean, who is willing to put politics aside when necessary.

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The top brass at City Hall actually believed they could sell a pale imitation of an independent inquiry into the whole water pipes affair.

And why wouldn’t they believe it?

The majority of the city council has caved in to municipal bureaucrats so many times you’d think they’d gone to obedience school.

On Wednesday, City Hall officials released guidelines for a supposed independent investigation into the water pipe problem. Curiously, no one called it Watergate.

In any case, City Hall officials would set up a selection committee to choose someone to lead the panel that would conduct the investigation.

The panel leader would organise the rest of the panel and they would report to the heads of the town hall. The final report would be sent to the heads of the town hall first.

This is what independence looks like in the Calgary City Council dictionary.

Senior officials at City Hall also recommended that some issues be looked into and that others, such as leaking pipes, not be looked into.

They also say that this investigation, which according to them is not an investigation, can be concluded and its conclusions drafted by Halloween and that it is July and the summer holidays are already here.

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Some councillors are getting ahead of this story, saying that what the city brass is trying to put together is rubbish, it won’t pass, and Calgarians will see through what surely seems like more of a face-saving exercise.

Wednesday morning begins with the city council representatives telling us: Oops!

Smart people have told them that if they want the research to be done right (and we are talking about essential water), the research will take 12 months.

Twelve months and maybe more.

The developers say there are areas that need to be looked at that are not included in the city plan. They talk about how the public should be involved. It was the public that stood up to the water restrictions and conserved it.

Furthermore, doesn’t the city want citizens to have confidence in the water system?

Jennifer Wyness
Calgary Ward 2 Councillor Jennifer Wyness speaks to administration during a council meeting at the Calgary Municipal Building on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Brent Calver/Postmedia

Councillor McLean is talking about leaks. City hall experts say the pipe break was not caused by a leak.

In the words of David Duckworth, the city’s top boss: “Water systems are leaking everywhere.”

McLean wants to know if Duckworth obtained the panel’s report before the city council.

Duckworth promises that he and his people will not make any changes to the report.

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“That’s good to know. We have it on record,” McLean says.

Wyness tells city residents that Calgarians are searching for answers and “there are barriers that prevent Calgarians from getting the answers they seek.”

“I am still concerned that we are not addressing the procedural failures within the organization.”

Too true.

And what is this?

Look here. The mayor.

Gondek says he is concerned about the independence of what the city’s bigwigs are proposing.

The bigwigs in town hear this and start agreeing with Gondek!

Gondek proposes getting rid of bureaucrats’ directives.

When the dust settles, we’ll find out later this month that the paper-delivering folks at City Hall will be back with something, hopefully, better than this dog’s breakfast.

A few final words from Sharp, who leads the committee on this day full of surprises.

“Management and the board should keep their hands off it.”

It’s a good start.

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