Bell: Calgary councillors and even Gondek blow up pipe probe plans

The city hall higher-ups actually believed they could pawn off some pale imitation of an independent investigation of the whole water pipe issue

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Calgarians, you’ve got the attention of these city hall politicians.

And so, it’s hasta la vista, baby!

Stick a fork in it.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

In a most humiliating Calgary city council committee meeting, the city hall politicians tell city hall brass where they can put their plans for the water pipe investigation and it ain’t in Blue Sky City.

Maybe the lightbulb finally went on. Maybe the desire to save their political skins kicked in.

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Maybe some of these Calgary politicians realized you can only treat Calgarians with disrespect so many times and they will finally show the politicians who is boss.

Maybe they had the same thoughts as Sonya Sharp, the councillor heading up the council committee who now wants city hall paper shufflers to garbage their plans and come up with something better, much better.

“I can tell you people aren’t happy,” Sharp told yours truly earlier in the week.

“You can spin things all you want. People are not happy and they will not forget.”

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

In a recent column, she 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 pitches those puzzlers and doesn’t quit pushing her points it drives city hall big shots up the wall.

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

Let’s not forget Dan McLean. He is ready to drop the political gloves when required.

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The city hall higher-ups actually believed they could pawn off some pale imitation of an independent investigation of the whole water pipe issue.

And why wouldn’t they believe it?

The city council majority have rolled over for city paper shufflers so many times you’d think they’d gone to obedience school.

On Wednesday, the city hall brass roll out the guidelines for a so-called independent probe of the water pipe issue. Funny no one has called it Water-gate.

Anyway, the city hall brass would set up a selection committee who would pick someone to head up the panel doing the investigating.

The head of the panel would set up the rest of the panel and they would report to the city hall brass. The final report would first go to the city hall brass.

This is what independence looks like in the Calgary city hall dictionary.

The city hall brass also recommend some issues be examined and other issues, like leaks in pipes, would not be examined.

They also say this investigation, which they insist is not an inquiry, can wrap up and write up their findings by Halloween and we’re in July and summer holidays are upon us.

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Some councillors get out ahead of this story and say what the city brass is trying to set up is crap, won’t fly, Calgarians will see through what sure looks more like a face-saving exercise.

Wednesday morning kicks off with the city hall movers and shakers telling us: Ooops!

Smart people have told them if they want the investigation done right, and we’re talking about essential water here, the probe will take 12 months.

Twelve months and maybe longer.

Developers say there are areas to be looked at that are missing from the city plan. They talk about how the public should participate. It was the public who faced water restrictions and conserved water.

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

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

McLean, the councillor, talks about leaks. The city hall deep thinkers say the pipe break wasn’t caused by a leak.

In the words of David Duckworth, the biggest city hall boss of them all: “Water systems everywhere leak.”

McLean wants to know about Duckworth getting the panel report before city council.

Duckworth promises he and his people won’t make any changes to the report.

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“Good to know. We have it on record,” says McLean.

Wyness tells the city mucky-mucks Calgarians are seeking answers and “there are barriers for Calgarians getting the answers they’re seeking.”

“I’m still concerned we’re really not tackling procedural failings within the organization.”

Too true.

And what’s this?

Lookee here. The mayor.

Gondek says she is concerned about the independence of what the city big shots are proposing.

The city big shots hear this and start agreeing with Gondek!

Gondek suggests getting rid of the guidelines of the bureaucrats.

When the dust settles we find out later this month the city hall paper shufflers will come back with something hopefully better than this dog’s breakfast.

A final word from Sharp, running the committee show on this day full of surprises.

“Administration and council need to keep their hands off.”

That’s a good start.

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