Vancouver officials were more concerned with striking Canada Post workers than any potential violence in the hours leading up to the Stanley Cup riot, documents released by the city reveal.
City staff met on the morning of June 15 to discuss concerns that Canada Post picketers might interfere with public areas set up for people to watch Game 7 of the Cup final between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins on large screens.
"Concern was expressed in regards to our fences and how fences might impact their picketing and how pickets might conflict with people putting up fences and cleaning afterwards," said notes from the morning meeting.
Participants did not discuss the potential for crowds to get out of hand. After the Canucks' lost that night, a riot caused millions of dollars in damage and injured more than 100 people.
The documents made public on Friday cover the planning that went on during the Canucks' final playoff run. The material was released in response to Freedom of Information requests filed by CBC News and other agencies shortly after the mayhem of June 15.
Planning included parade route
In a meeting on May 27, Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu outlined his concerns "accessing centres of crowds," and said he preferred fencing and limited access points." In other planning conferences, city staff talked about event security for the public viewing sites, and closing liquor stores to cut down on alcohol-related problems.
But those types of issues were not raised on the day of the final game.
The city's post-riot assessments, which were also released on Friday, show the amount of confusion that emergency responders had to wade through:
- The fire department had issues with cell phones.
- Paramedics couldn't reach injured people in the massive crowd.
- Up to 900 foot passengers were arriving on every BC Ferries vessel.
- Radio systems went down.
- Barricades were used as weapons.
Emails reveal planning was in place if the Canucks had won their first-ever Stanley Cup. A victory parade, featuring a boat cruise of False Creek, would have been held two days later.
A review of the riot released earlier this month concluded Vancouver police did a "heroic" job, but that its reinforcements arrived too late to control an unpredictable crowd of 155,000 people.