Will the Bloedel Conservatory bite the dust because it's on the wrong side of Oak Street?
Yesterday, Conservative MP Andrew Saxton announced a $6.35-million federal gift for the VanDusen Botanical Garden, which is mostly on the west side of Oak Street.
That means it's mostly in the federal riding of Vancouver Quadra, which Stephen Harper's Conservatives would like to win in the next election.
The Conservatives have captured Vancouver Quadra nine times since 1949.
The Bloedel Conservatory, on the other hand, is in the riding of Vancouver Kingsway, which the Conservatives won only once, in the Diefenbaker landslide of 1958. (The riding existed on the East Side from 1953 to 1988, and was created again under new boundaries in 1997 that extend west to Oak Street.)
This week, Liberal infrastructure critic Gerard Kennedy was in Metro Vancouver ridiculing Conservative MPs in B.C. for doing such a poor job in delivering infrastructure funds to this province.
He released a report, The Wrong Way to Help: Federal Infrastructure Stimulus Programs in British Columbia, which showed that of the 10 B.C. ridings that received the most money, nine were held by Conservative MPs.
Later in the week, Saxton rushed out an announcement of federal money in Vancouver Quadra, which is represented by Liberal MP Joyce Murray. Conservative Deborah Meredith lost to her by a mere 151 votes in a 2008 by-election. Meredith fared far worse in the 2008 general election later that year, trailing Murray by almost 5,000 votes.
The 40-year-old conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park is scheduled to close on March 1, 2010 after the Vancouver park board voted to eliminate a $410,000 subsidy to the facility and to the children's petting zoo in Stanley Park.
The park board has estimated that it will cost $2 million to upgrade the roof of the conservatory, which is home to tropical plants and more than 100 species of birds. Don't count on a Harper-led government to cough up any infrastructure money to save it because there's no electoral prize at the end.
Vancouver Kingsway is held by NDP MP Don Davies. Conservative candidate Salomon Rayek came third in 2008, trailing the winner by more than 3,500 votes.