Fabrico ad absurdum
“The land clearing operation, the burning of stumps and debris, had been underway for some time west of the settlement. The citizenry had become accustomed to the pall of smoke that dimmed the June sun into a deceptively pale disk. The feckless population was increasing daily with the influx of drifters and get-rich-quick artists attracted by the prospects of a boom town, transients in whose nostrils the smell of loot was too strong for them to notice the atmosphere of redolent Gomorrah chastised ….
“At about 2 P.M. of that Sunday afternoon in June the forces of violated nature swung into attack. The wind veered and gained in velocity. The crews tending the fires made a frantic effort to smother the blazes whose sparks were showering into the tinder-dry wasteland of wood, then fled for their lives.”
Eric Nicol, Vancouver
“Vancouver is Burning!”
Lindsay Brown, via Twitter, October 25, 2012
Despite the calls of an impending market correction, the development Juggernaut grinds on, laying waste to all those movie theatres, bowling alleys and other quaint institutions rendered superfluous by the value of the dirt they sit upon.
My friends, let us not stand in the way of the future, but embrace the inevitable. Let us not to close our eyes and think of England, but move upwind, fan the flames, and push the development paradigm to its logical, if banal, conclusion.
All we ask of each shoddily-constructed micro-living investment clusterfuck is hint of the past it has replaced: a lobby photograph or two of the edifice sacrificed to progress, a catchy name that riffs on its previous incarnation, or the incorporation of a facade or other relic into the design.
To embark on this grand unfettered vision, we need only undertake a bit of administrivia, changing the title of the City’s Director of Planning to Director of Development. And since this has already happened, we’re ahead of the game. Say, that’s the great thing about this development game: we’re always head of the game!
Here we go.
First we convert all remaining industrial and warehouse space. For names we can draw on the Italian to lend a flair to their previously mundane activities: Fabrica, Opificio, Ritrovo, Magazzino, Emporio etc.
The holy grail of industrial property is, of course, the Rogers Sugar Refinery. With Refine pre-sold and secured as a major beachhead of terra libera, we need only wait for the inevitable noise complaints and related bitching from our new investor-residents to free-up adjacent port lands to realize Cargo, Crane, Ballantine, Pier, Stevedore etc.
Next up, automotive shops: Transmission, Drive, Motive (from automotive -clever, eh?).
Then we’ll set our sites on the remaining movie screens, replacing the Dunbar with Screen, Tinseltown with Tinseltown, and the Park with … uh, Park. As our underfunded arts institutions go belly-up, we’ll reconfigure these, too. Starting with the Playhouse (Playhouse), before moving on to the Dance Centre (Move) and the Cultch (Stage).
Time to get serious and set our hungry eyes on our green spaces. Queen Elizabeth Park will offer exclusive lifestyle living at The Queen and Seasons, while Trout Lake will appeal to those seeking value (The Hendry).
And then, le piece de resistance: Stanley Park -almost 1,000 acres less amenity space just begging for some value-add. The residential naming opportunities here will be endless: First Nations Heritage (Way, for Xway-xway, Chay for Chaythoos, Klahowya, Totem, Pauline), existing facilities (Oval, Aquarium, Teahouse), landmarks (Prospect, Arch), walking trails (Tatlow, Thompson, Bridle, South Creek, Hanson, Kinglet etc etc etc). I can see the full-page Georgia Straight ads now: “Enjoy a coffee with your ocean view from your balcony at the Sea Wall Centre at Stanley Park.” The Nine O’clock Gun will be preserved as a public art installation, although it will be deactivated so as not to disturb those living nearby at the Brockton.
With the heavy lifting completed we’ll focus on in-filling space for a while, naming these projects for our illustrious development community leaders: Rennie, Aquilini, Bosa, Beasley. (Correction: the latter’s already taken. Clearly, though, we’re on the right track.)
This metropolis of glass and pressboard is almost complete, but for one last project. Just as soon as the responsibility for the upkeep of our roads and shared amenities is transferred to a private contractor funded by building maintenance fees, there really is no reason to exempt City Hall from our glorious vision.
“Modern living in Art Deco style.” But what to call it? Civic? No. I can see it now, spelled out in a giant neon sign, appropriately drowning in a sea of tarp-enshrouded towers: Vision.