Friday, December 30, 2005

Twelve Fearless New Year’s Predictions for the City of Edmonton

Bringing you as many predictions as there are months in the year! The Ministry of Misinformation isn’t Scrooging you for 2006. The gift of cynicism is the gift that goes on taking.

1. Edmonton will make some bold steps forwards in urban sprawl, particularly in the south west. The nouveau riche, fancying themselves as aristocrats, will demand 3000 square feet homes to accommodate a family of four or even three. These ostentatious mini-mansions will lack regular mail delivery, nor will they be proximal to the transit system. They will, however, have wonderful views of empty fields of dirt that have been denuded of trees.

2. City council will keep up its relentless search for a municipal identity. Slogans will be bandied about; maybe a new festival will be established. Does anyone know the slogan for Paris, London or Tokyo? That these cities’ slogans (if they even exist) are not widely known is a fact that will elude our clever councilors who believe that a rose by any other name will smell sweeter.

3. There will be much hand-wringing about violent crime. A rash of stabbings and senseless killings by teenagers will further convince Edmontonians that the city is going to hell in a hand basket. Visitors from such countries as Columbia or Brazil will be marvel at how scared we all are of each other. They will wonder why, given our crime rate is approximately 99.9 per cent lower than in their homelands, hardly anyone is brave enough to actually take a walk on our tranquil streets.

4. The news media will laud the “spirit” of Edmontonians in the face of a shared “crisis.” For example, in the event of another flood, breathless reporters will coo over the fortitude of homeowners who resolutely and defiantly mop the water up in their own basements!

5. It will become very cold for about a week and people will grumble incessantly. “Cold enough for ya” will be repeated so often that you will want to dropkick the next person you hear say it. City council might be so generous as to open up an LRT station so that rather than dying, homeless people will have the privilege of sleeping on a hard floor in temperatures of roughly one degree above zero.

6. Sophisticated Albertans from Edmonton and the surrounding countryside will make their enchanting presence known on Whyte Avenue. They will drink until they can barely stand and then urinate on the historic buildings of Old Strathcona. Some will be courageous enough to beat up bums; some will pick fights with each other; some will stay the night in Emergency at the University Hospital. City council will debate whether there should be fewer drinking establishments on Whyte Avenue, and then resolve to debate the issue further.

7. City council will pat itself on the back for opening a new LRT station, the first in over a decade. Few people will think to ask why Calgary is approximately 10,389 per cent further ahead in developing rapid transit than Edmonton is.

8. Mayor Mandel will continue championing the arts. Mediocre talents will be lauded to ridiculous heights in the name of celebrating culture. Bad poems will continue to appear in buses and trains. Visitors will wonder why a city of half a million seeks to compete with cities such as Montreal and Toronto and doesn’t focus its efforts instead on avoiding such catastrophes as South Edmonton Common, which is a bigger affront to culture than anything.

9. The summer won’t be as warm or as long as anyone had hoped.

10. Many local newspaper columnists will continue to avoid writing about issues and will instead write about a) their boyfriends/girlfriends/wives/husbands/kids b) their pet peeves c) the cool people that they know or have met d) bothersome things about living in a suburban mini-mansion, such as lawnmowers that don’t work e) various opinions that they hold that, while not backed up by much fact, are backed up by a whole lot of vehement conviction.

11. There will be at least one picture of a cuddly pet in both the Edmonton Journal or the Edmonton Sun. This picture will make you feel soft and warm inside. You might even put it up in your cubicle.

12. A sports victory – no matter how small – will reassure all Edmontonians that in spite of everything, this city truly is the City of Champions!