Beavers wreaking havoc in Stanley Park

City of Vancouver’s bid page a treasure trove for municipality enthusiasts

12th and Cambie

Yes, the headline promised a beaver story, which I’ll get to further down the page.

I first wanted to say that my initial intention in this space today was to write some important but dispiriting news related to social issues threatening the city such as homelessness and drug overdoses.

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Then I thought maybe to hold off on such melancholy and instead update you on the lighter and more straightforward topic of how much the city’s big hitters earned last year.

But then I figured that might depress some of you, too.

Especially those hard-working people who could never fathom taking home more than $100,000 in a year, let alone the $362,852 collected in 2019 by city manager Sadhu Johnston.

You can argue amongst yourselves whether Johnston is worth the money, but just remember he’s in charge of thousands of people and earns more or less what city managers do in the country’s other major cities.

Anyway, I’m losing focus here.

That can happen when there’s so much news to cover these days, including the COVID-19 developments that seem to come every hour, the news becoming overwhelming and difficult to digest.

So time for a breather from the doom and despair.

Let’s talk beavers and the mayor’s private elevator.

A jarring segue, I know, but here we are.

First to the beavers…

Apparently, they are wreaking havoc — in of all places – at Beaver Lake in Stanley Park. It’s gotten so bad that Vancouver city staff wants to curtail the busy ways of Canada’s favourite mammal.

According to an “invitation to tender” on the city’s bid page, the city wants to hire a construction company to complete upgrades to “the existing outlet structure” between Beaver Lake and Beaver Creek.

Why?

“The current outlet culvert between Beaver Lake and Beaver Creek is regularly blocked by beaver dam construction, resulting in an increased flood risk, impacts to park infrastructure and potential water quality issues,” says an explanation on the bid page.

The work involved that will ultimately dampen the spirits and workmanship of the toothy area residents is all-encompassing and appears to be in line with what Vancouver does best: never-ending construction projects.

It includes removing the existing culverts, installing something called a “pre-cast concrete box culvert” and doing a whole bunch of other construction work, including fabricating and installing “fishway baffle plates and stoplog guides.”

Placing “large woody debris” and “embarkment rock” is also a must of the winning bidder, some of whom attended a meeting March 9 at the site in question.

The bid closes March 31.

It’s the same closing date for another request for proposal bid titled “city hall mayor’s office elevator modernization.” Apparently, Mayor Kennedy Stewart —like his favourite campaign slogan — wants an elevator “that works for everyone.”

Kidding, he has nothing to do with the bid.

The project, which also refers to the elevator as the “private elevator” and the “executive elevator,” calls for a complete overhaul, including replacement of all elevating device drive equipment.

Can’t recall if I’ve ever had the privilege of taking a ride in the elevator. But I’ve seen the inside cab and it’s spectacular, if you like “superb ornate brass features and rich art deco panels,” as the bid describes.

What isn’t cool, though, is the lead paint and the asbestos.

Here’s what a hazardous material report says:

• Asbestos-containing materials were detected on the plaster ceiling throughout the mayor’s elevator machine room.

• Paint on the elevator machine equipment and the walls and flooring in the sub-ground elevator machine room contains lead. Paint on the doors and walls of the mayor’s elevator also contain lead.

The report states the obvious that all hazardous materials must be safely contained before any renovation work begins.

One other thing: The winning bidder should be prepared to “wear suitable, clean uniforms and attire and shall act in a courteous and professional manner while conducting their work on the premises.”

Just like your elected officials, right?

Anyway, taking some time to check out the city’s bid page can be a semi-interesting exercise for municipality enthusiasts, or people who have a thing for birds of prey: last year, D & B Auger Services was awarded $33,788 for “design build services” for an eagle nesting pole at Vanier Park.

You can also review closed bids and wonder who will get the contract to operate the iconic 2400 Court Motel on Kingsway, or provide medical services for prisoners in the Vancouver jail.

And there you have it, Vancouver — all the innocuous news that’s fit to print at a time that some of us can use it, including the anxious father of a daughter currently travelling in Europe.

mhowell@vancourier.com

@Howellings

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