fear & loathing in Lotusland

Month: December, 2014

2014: the Scam Reviewed

by Zbigniew

That another scam-heavy calendar year is stumbling to a close is evident: short, wet and gloomy days; unsolicited greeting cards from a dominant faction councillor that needs to refresh his mailing list; construction cranes festooned with lights; anxious drivers taking liberties with pedestrian space; and, the abundant supply of pale, haggard faces.

Over the past year this particular take on our version of The Scam found an audience is some odd corners, including Guam, Guatemala, the Turks & Caicos, the Caymans, Yemen, Oman, Kazahkstan, and Mauritius.

Scammap 2014

The most popular posts of 2014:

My personal favourite fell much further down the list. That’s Entertainment considered our evolving role as a playground cum amusement park.

“Gregor Robertson and Bob Rennie” was the most popular search term attracting traffic. Permutations included the following:

  • bob rennie and gregor Robertson
  • relationship between bob rennie and mayor Robertson
  • gregor bob rennie
  • gregor robertson bob rennie having sex
  • gregor robertson fucking bob rennie
  • gregor is fucking rennie

A sampling of some other, and colourful, search terms included:

  • fucked up vancouver
  • vancouver is fucked
  • fuck you vancouver
  • fuck you gregor robertson
  • worst mayor of vancouver
  • worst things in vancouver
  • who are the most narcissistic vancouver tv personalities
  • narcissistic tamara taggart
  • forbes/ vancouver/ scam capital of the world
  • beedie group purchase chinatown vancouver
  • condo promotional material
  • worst condos in vancouver
  • hong kong property scam
  • ass cheeks hugging poll on public transit
  • gordon campbell eats shit

Just of few of the comments left here in 2014:

“Anyone who doesn’t let developers do ‘whatever they want’ is responsible for urban sprawl and ruining the planet. (Little known fact: Building huge air conditioned luxury glass towers for rich offshore owners is good for the planet. Example: Dubai.)”

-Miguel, commenting on the Inarticulate Vanity that is “the Gwerk.”

“This makes me feel like wearing my blazer around the house more often while drinking my Syrah.”

 -Kasimirkish on cringe-inducing promotional condo bumf

“When I was a kid and first taking the bus in north van in the late eighties/early nineties, fare was 65 cents. Cripes. Being ten or eleven I didn’t really have money but sometimes I took the bus up the hill with my best friend. We named this one driver conjl, and used to draw him all over our school work. white full beard, big sunglasses, grumpy as hell. He’d routinely drive by us, bus empty. Which meant a half hour wait sometimes. Sometimes we’d get on but be ten cents short, hoping he wouldn’t notice. He’d kick us off the bus!”

-Jenables on misadventures in public transit

Scammer of the Year

To be eligible for “Scammer of the Year,” candidates must have been character assassinated in this blog’s “Scammer” category at some point over the course of the preceding 52 weeks. Candidates are judged for their ability to present themselves as stalwart citizens while simultaneously deforming the local psychogeography for their personal enrichment; extra points are awarded for overall douchebaggery. The winner will be notified of their victory by poison pen letter, which will be accompanied by the cash prize comprised of whatever Canadian Tire money I happened to have pinned to my refrigerator. A likeness of the winner will be installed in a future “Strip Mall of Shame” -development permit still awaiting City Hall approval.

The candidates for the third annual Scammer of the Year award are:

  1. For unmitigated greed, complete disregard for community, and tearing down garden plots during harvest season, E. Hunter Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Pacific Railroad.
  2. For ethical turbidity and dedication to the seemingly endless expansion of a tourist attraction in a public park, Dr. John Nightingale, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Aquarium.
  3. For far too many qualifications than can be reasonably summarized here, “Gregor Robertson & Bob Rennie”.

And the winner is … CPR CEO E. Hunter Harrison.


The Last Word

If I had to sum-up the year in a single word, that word would be “Gwerk.”

Gwerk: to be fucked-over by an unaccountable cabal of poleconomic forces. For example: “We’ve been gwerked by the city’s consultation process.”

With that I wish you happy, gwerk-free, and prosperous 2015.


by Zbigniew

The Rising Tide

by Zbigniew

B3l8g3NCIAEWaAO.jpg_largePhoto: @KendallKendrick

“Coastal flooding could cost the global economy $1-trillion a year a few short decades from now because of the rise in sea levels caused by global warming if action is not taken now to stem the flow and Vancouver is one of the cities most at-risk for losses, says a new study.

“The list of 20 cities most at risk, based on average annual losses due to floods, is topped by Guangzhou, Miami, New York, New Orleans, Mumbai, Nagoya, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Boston, Shenzen, Osaka-Kobe and Vancouver.”

Dene More, “Vancouver near top of list of cities threatened by rising sea levels,” Globe & Mail, August 20, 2013

Maps: Huffington Post

Vancouver Archipelago

Seen in Passing: Charles & Lakewood

by Zbigniew



by Zbigniew

I had planned on filing it under “The Cringe,” as yet another example of nausea-inducing shuffle-edited “crafted living” bullshit consumer condo-lifestyle tropes of sun, parks, beer, jogging, coffee, bicycles, boutiques etc etc etc.

At the closing credits, the logos representing the usual suspects- Rize, Rennie Marketing- and -hello!- something new: “Ayalaland.”

Ayala Land, Inc. is the largest property developer in the Philippines. It has offices in Milan, Rome, London, San Francisco, Dubai, and Singapore. Its portfolio includes retail, office, hotel, leisure, and residential.

Curiously, there’s precious little information readily available on Ayala Land’s role in the Rize development; there’s nothing at all on its website promoting its Vancouver project.

However, buried in industry online trade journal (Jones Lang LaSalle, IP, Inc – “We provide commercial real estate strategy, services and support to organizations around the globe”) the link –in all of its delocalized, dreary, bean counting inevitability- is highlighted:

“Investors are taking notice of the broad appeal, and the safe haven Canada could be to place capital. No longer ‘America’s attic,’ the Canadian real estate market yields one of the world’s highest rates of return, ranking second to only Saudi Arabia last year.”

Regarding Vancouver in particular, the article quotes Ian McKay, CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission:

“There are so many business advantages on a tax perspective to invest (in Vancouver). We have the lowest corporate tax rates in North America, which is a huge advantage, not known to a lot of people. There is also enormous diversity, every language is spoken here. People come here because they want to live here, and then they find a place to work.”

In order for Vancouver to “keep its momentum as a gateway city to Asian capital, Canada will need to match foreign investors to opportunities on their home turf through equity partnerships and new development ventures keep foreign interest alive …. the tide may be shifting as domestic owners are becoming more open to cross-border partnerships.”

Testing, Testing

by Zbigniew