Vancouver city hall plunged into darkness, somehow survives, democracy lives another day

Kudos and Kvetches

In what will forever be known in the annals of Vancouver municipal politics as Black Tuesday or, perhaps, the Day the Lights Went Out at 12th & Cambie — actually, we’ll save that for when Courier civic affairs reporter Mike Howell hangs up his notepad for a lucrative gig “advocating” for Vancouver’s powerful turmeric and ginger tea lobby — there was a power outage at city hall yesterday.

How do we know?

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Because of the series of official press releases the city’s communication team emailed us, detailing the nightmarish event in gruesome detail.

At 12:41 p.m. we received the first desperate communiqué:

“Vancouver City Hall is closed to the public today, due to a power outage, and the building is being evacuated.”

That’s right, EVACUATED. You know it’s serious when calmly walking out of a building because your computer has shut down is described as “evacuated.” Personally, we would have used “fled the impending carnage before society devolved into a lawless Lord of the Flies-like scenario,” but you do you.   

The email also added an element of suspense: “The cause of the outage is being investigated and BC Hydro is also on scene.”

Could the outage be coming from the basement? Did Coun. Melissa De Genova suck all the life force out of the building with one of her amendments to an amendment? And how did the communications department compose and send their email without any power? By candlelight? Beehive powered generator? Mayor Kennedy Stewart running on a treadmill for three hours straight? The natural electricity of democracy?

Sadly, it was none of those things, according to the press release we received this morning with the triumphant headline: “Power has been restored at Vancouver City Hall following an outage caused by an electrical short circuit.”

Apparently, the day of dull light was “triggered by a short circuit in one of the main electrical feeds to the City Hall building on West 12th Avenue.” Phew.  

And for all you true crime/power outage fans out there, rest assured, the city is not taking this incident lying down: “The city will continue to investigate the cause of this particular issue to identify any additional actions that may be required to prevent a similar incident in the future.”

So there you have it: City hall plunged into darkness, snaps into action, lives saved, rises like a Phoenix from the ashes to burn brighter than ever. Democracy and power restored. It is a new day.

Of course, other potential catastrophes lie ahead — squeaky door hinges, clogged toilets, slow internet. Will city hall be prepared? We hope so. At the very least their communications department will be. And for that we will sleep a little easier tonight.


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