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A peek inside city hall's 'Stanley Cup Citizen Feedback' file

It’s one of the biggest files contained in the City of Vancouver’s Sept. 9 online dump of Freedom of Information documents related to the riot-ruined Stanley Cup fan zone.

“Stanley Cup Citizen Feedback” is a 73-page compilation of comments made to the 3-1-1 hotline and via email by people around Metro Vancouver and North America. Names and genders were censored by city hall, citing “personal privacy.” City hall also deleted nearly all date, time and return address headers from the emails.

Compliments for Mayor Gregor Robertson and city hall for attempting to host a free, public event to celebrate the Vancouver Canucks’ run to the Stanley Cup final were in the minority.

“Thank you to the city for the effort you put forth to provide free entertainment (TV screens, street closures, etc.) to the fans,” said one email. “Your repayment was a ridiculous display from a select few fans. As a resident of (Cranbrook) B.C. and a Canucks fan, I was embarrassed.” Most comments offered scathing criticism from people shocked by the images of the June 15 riot and were apparently from Florida, Pennsylvania, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and even Massachusetts, home of the Boston Bruins.

“Not only was your poor sportsmanship displayed in the arena but later spilled into the streets and continued as ‘your’ fans trashed your city apparently with very little consequence,” said an email from a hunting/fishing agent in Cheyenne, Wyoming. “I will alter our travel routes to exclude the City of Vancouver, as I would not subject my valued clients to such despicable, rude, and dangerous conditions.”

“I’ll just take my tourism dollars somewhere safer, thank-you.”

One suggested hosting an anti-riot rally. Another wanted the names of the arrested rioters and looters published on national TV. One person, from, offered his company’s disposal bins to help clean up the mess. Strangely, the phone number on that email was not redacted.

A landed immigrant, “who loves this country,” called 3-1-1 on June 16 at 9:17 a.m. “(Censored) does not understand why there were no water cannons being used at all... we should be less concerned about hurting the rioters and more concerned about stopping them... if we continue to be soft on these sorts of things they will keep happening.”

Others took issue with the way the fan zone was organized and reminded city hall that history was repeating itself, 17 years and one day after the last Stanley Cup riot in the city.

“The area was too small and there were far too many people allowed to cram the space,” said an email. “When I arrived at 4 p.m. there was a checkpoint set up on a Homer St. halfway between Dunsmuir and Georgia, that had a controlled enterance (sic) and exit and my bag was searched for alcohol. When I left at 6 pm this checkpoint was gone and people were still streaming in.”

“One good reason everything went so well with the Olympics was that there was plenty of things to keep everyone occupied,” according to the remarks from an 8:49 a.m. June 16, 3-1-1 call from a teacher/mentor. “If there is nothing planned then a lot people will just follow someone who does have something planned. There just should have been more planned to grab their attention after the game was out.”

Others were frank.

“Shame on you for thinking everything would go well after the hockey game because you were well prepared, ie the Olympics and the anniversary celebration... Shame on Vancouver’s idiots for shaming us all and shame on Mayor and council for living in la la land and believing all would be well. Vancouver should have prepared as if for a hurricane, closed the TV screens, the streets, especially the bars. It did little good shutting down the private liquor stores”

“This has all happened before and will all happen again. Did you really think that inviting anyone and everyone to this enormous street party was a good idea? No lessons learned apparently from the last one? (1994)”

“I hope that the City of Vancouver will never allow such large crowds to gather for any future events, sporting related or not.”

There were also comments about the costs and who should ultimately pay.

“I am curious as to why the city government is hoping the provincial and federal governments will pay for a private company’s costs... how about the Canucks pay for it.”

One writer wanted to see some leadership from the woman occupying the top government office in British Columbia.

“Don’t you think it would be wise for the Premier to address the province formally, now?”

Premier Christy Clark was banking on a Canucks’ victory and her staff even scheduled an interview outside the Canucks’ locker room. She went home instead.

Bob Mackin covered the Stanley Cup riot for the New York Times and writes about sports business and city hall politics for The Tyee and others.

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