Jon Hernandez, CBC, November 29, 2018
“Henry Pryor, a property buying agent, says the London luxury new-build market is ‘already overstuffed but we’re just building more of them’.
“’We’re going to have loads of empty and part-built posh ghost towers,’ he says. ‘They were built as gambling chips for rich overseas investors, but they are no longer interested in the London casino and have moved on.”
“Ghost towers: half of new-build luxury London flats fail to sell,” Rupert Neate, The Guardian, January 26, 2018
“According to U.S. group Demographia, Vancouver is the third-least affordable city in the world for a home ….”
“Vancouver housing market more unaffordable than New York and London: survey,” Gerry Marr, The Financial Post, January 26, 2016
“I think there are people who say the Vancouver model is fine, and then there are others who don’t like the Vancouver model.”
Hon. Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety & Solicitor General
“In this chapter, we introduce the Vancouver model to tourism infrastructure planning and development. The key characteristics of this model are (1) an emphasis on private sector participation in tourism project development with little or no direct public financial support, (2) the leveraging of tourist amenities and infrastructure through private sector developments, and (3) an emphasis on planning for a liveable region, with particular emphasis on housing.”
Dennis R. Judd, The Infrastructure of Play: Building the Tourist City
“Of course, the Vancouver model lacks the keen public relations touch of the other, more media-centric New Urbanism. But that may come. Within a matter of years, the Vancouver urban prototype will save more energy, house more people, and make finer urban neigh- borhoods than all the overhyped neo-nineteenth-century projects combined. Vancouver is the portal through which the twenty-first-century city is being conceived, for good, and sometimes, for ill.”
Trevor Boddy, “New Urbanism: ‘The Vancouver Model’”
“[T]he Vancouver model is socially and politically regressive, promoting a suburban homogeneity, complacency, and torpor that threatens the capacity of cities to function as sites that support vitality, difference, and invention.”
“I was advised that the particular style of money laundering in B.C. related to B.C. casinos is being called, quote, ‘the Vancouver model’ in at least one international intelligence community.”
Hon. David Eby, Attorney General
As reported in the Vancouver Sun, census figures for 2016 show 25,502 unoccupied or empty housing units in the City of Vancouver -15 per cent higher than recorded in the previous census of 2011.
According to urban planner and Director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program, the bulk of the empty units were concentrated in Coal Harbour, Marine Gateway and Joyce-Collingwood. Following Vancouver were Surrey (11,195 homes), Burnaby (5,829) and Richmond (4,021).
From “Population Change 2011 – 2016” by CensusMapper (based on Canada Census 2016):
This map shows the relative population change between the 2011 and 2016 censuses in each area.
The population grew in all provinces except in New Brunswick, where population dropped by half a percent.
At the Census District level there is considerable variation, with strongest population gains in urban areas.
Even within Census Metropolitan areas there are parts with population decline, as can be seen well e.g. in Vancouver ….
Every year U-Haul International, Inc. presents “migration trends” reports, based on data collected from more than 21,000 locations in all 50 states and 10 provinces.
City growth rankings are determined by the net of one-way U-Hauls arriving and departing in a calendar year.
According to this information, Kamloops leads the country in growth -that is, it leads in net arrivals. The top-ranking British Columbia cities are, Chilliwack (9th), Vernon (15th), Penticton (18th) and Merritt (24th).
As Gordon Clark underscores: 52.9 per cent of one-way U-Haul trucks leave Vancouver, compared to the 47.1 per cent that arrive.
In other words, we’re a “net loss city.”
“The couple had been renting a condo in Mount Pleasant, but seven months ago – inspired in part by the growing community of Vancouver van-dwellers sharing their stories on YouTube – they decided to downsize.” (Emphasis added)
“‘It’s comfortable’: Couple living in van has no interest in going back to condo,” CTV Vancouver, March 26, 2016
“A staff report to Delta council noted that ‘while conducting parking enforcement at night, bylaws staff encountered a number of homeless individuals sleeping in campers and vans at roadside.'” (Emphasis added)
“Homeless in industrial parks,” Delta Optimist, May 4, 2016
“It’s hard to imagine that a city now known for its bloated real estate, yuppie cokeheads and inability to buy a beer, gave birth to bands like D.O.A. and the Subhumans and made Dave ”Tiger” Williams a hockey star. If the Vancouver of 1980 met the Vancouver of 2008, it would give it a curbie.”
Sean Condon, “Time Travel: Vancouver 1980,” Only (April 15, 2008)
Bowen Island is not exactly an exotic locale, lacking virtually all the usual aesthetic opportunities. However, it’s bucolic, quiet, and close: There’s exactly one other human being on the long hike up Mt. Gardiner, which yields spectacular views of the metropolis just a skip over the water.
The interregnum between sanctioned feasts completed, and the vehicle patiently waiting in the ferry line-up, I pass the time with a walk in the cold and sunshine.
In the confines of Snug Cove I cross paths with a certain new varietal of Lower Mainland colonist, one who enjoys his day-trips in very large and noisy groups. A member of this contingent walks toward me, a young fellow carrying a sports bag. A Louis Vuitton sports bag.
And without any further prompting, in the picture-postcard confines of sunny and dull exurbia, a long dormant and deep-seated body memory suddenly awakes.
Alan was on the fringe of our little group of ethnically diverse miscreant explorers and minor league vandals -the token “Canadian.” The main thing I remember about him was the oft-repeated rumour that he suffered an undescended testicle.
His older brother, Buddy, left a much stronger impression. I recall a chiseled face a little like Matt Dillon’s in The Outsiders, but with a cheap haircut, a regularly shifting pattern of scrapes and bruises, and significantly less sentience about the eyes. Although I took great pains to avoid him, it proved challenging: Buddy was a journeyman criminal that worked our Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood like a sub rosa tax farmer, a private and unsanctioned agent of 1970s income redistribution.
Anonymous theft seemed to be his preferred MO. Items left unsecured out-of-doors had a way of quickly disappearing. I lost a beloved bicycle to him -a red three-speed, a generous gift from my parents following a prolonged recovery from pneumonia at St. Paul’s; it vanished after a half-dozen rides and a brief lapse in judgment regarding its security. I catch a last glimpse a couple of days later, as Buddy pushes it up Lillooet Street, its modest profile too low for him to ride to its new owner.
There was also a more personal approach: the shakedown.
Buddy -and his ilk, a loose and aspiring Anglo-Saxon mafia farm team- employed a particular maneuver. Walking down the street, en route to the comic book shop, and out of nowhere Buddy appears on my right and engages me in inane banter. Before I gather my wits, his left hand comes up and strikes me, flat palm down, against my upper chest –not too hard but quick, producing a disconcertingly loud smack! The palm turns into a tight grip on my down jacket and the conversation veers towards monetary matters, his right hand hanging loose and ready to join the discussion. I say “jacket” because I recall these shakedowns taking place against grey skies, on cold, damp and all-too-empty streets. I suppose warmer seasons were reserved for ripping-off bikes or that other East Vancouver piecemeal gig of the time, the B & E.
I never participated in the demand side of the this low-level income redistribution scheme. However, I became an adept of the left-handed palm-down-smack-and-grab, a regular feature of angry confrontations with friend and foe alike, roughly comparable to the settlement procedures popular on Hockey Night in Canada.
As Louis Vuitton quickly comes abreast of me and passes, my muscles twitch and I’m readying to pivot 180˚, sidle up on his right, make an inane comment about the weather, and in the interval of confusion … smack! -let him know just how much I admire his choice of luggage.
Of course, the rational side of my consciousness quickly kicks in, like a circuit breaker. My emotional solidarity with Buddy is clearly misguided: I certainly don’t need a designer sports bag or its black market cash equivalent; Buddy’s moved on, to Matsqui, real estate, or whatever; our East Van is long gone, its rough and ready street rules and equalizations no longer apply, certainly not on the cusp of 2016 on Bowen Island, not even as an echo to spook some hapless schmuck.
Besides: too many witnesses.
“Each of those casements opened onto a room where how many comedies had transpired! And how many dramas, for that matter! Their shudders had been closed in times of mourning, they had been bedecked with bunting and hung with fairy lights on occasions of victory. For the first time there came to me the vague thought that houses have a soul, composed of the joys and sorrows and labors of those they have sheltered, and that all have their history: secret, romantic, or joyful.”
G. Lenotre, in Luc Sante’s The Other Paris
“When these old homes come down, a whole history goes with them—the materials that were used to build them, the gardens, the successive owners and their secrets. These old houses and apartments are repositories of narrative. The story of our city is diminished every time one disappears.”
Vancouver Vanishes: Narratives of Demolition & Revival, Anvil Press