Contributor Ian Robertson writes to suggest that Vancouver’s rental market has, just maybe, jumped the shark.
A “den” just wide enough to slide a twin bed into, for almost $900/month. If we’re being generous, it’s all of 40 square feet. It may even come with access to common areas, like the kitchen and a bathroom.
But hey it’s a room, and it’s downtown in a building that has this sweet rooftop deck!
Except — wait, how do you get this view from Alberni Street. And is that BC Place from 2011? Read on >>
At the southeast corner of Oak Street and King Edward Avenue in Vancouver, a Shell gas station looks like any other, with the huge roof over the gas pumps, and bright vibrant colours.
But there’s something different here, evident as you get closer and see the gas station site is subtly fenced in. There appears to be no activity, but there’s a sign. Literally — a large, outdoor advertisement of a young woman sipping a beverage, with the headline: “Open for Snacks. Closed for Gas.”
The question: who in their right mind would use this gas station to get food when there’s a supermarket (and a really good Japanese restaurant) right behind the station?
And this is not a redevelopment at this site — indeed, the whole King Edward Mall site has been identified as “unique” in the City of Vancouver’s third phase of the Cambie Corridor Plan (approved in May), and can be redeveloped as “three higher elements of approximately 12 to 14 storeys … above a low- to lower mid-rise podium”.
So while the car snack department is “business as usual”, the gas station part of the operation is likely just having a tank renovation in advance of the mixed-use development project that will eventually be located on this whole site.
As the newspaper astutely observed this past weekend:
Last year, in a provincial election almost entirely about housing costs, citizens voted out the center-right B.C. Liberal Party, which had run British Columbia for 16 years, and brought in a government led by the left-of-center B.C. New Democratic Party. Since then, the New Democrats have not only tried to increase the housing supply, but have also proposed a slew of measures that aim to curb housing demand and chase away overseas buyers.
Surprise — this October’s civic election in British Columbia will be no less gripping for those outside of the Vancouver echo chamber.
In the City of Richmond, and perhaps Delta too, citizens will directly decide on the city’s future as it relates to values around agricultural land protection, food security, and pushing back against deep-pocketed development.
The roots of the fight to come go way back; early European settlements used Lulu island (so named in 1862) for farming and fishing. It’s a big reason why Richmond got the name ‘the Garden City’. Farming is still important to Richmond today; Harold Steves, a longstanding Councillor for the City of Richmond, is also a farmer, and his family’s roots in Richmond date back to the early farming settlements of this place.
His family is why we have a village named Steveston, and Clr. Steves is one of the people for whom we have to thank for the Agricultural Land Reserve, established in 1973.
He’s also one of the few people in the halls of power fighting for its survival. Read on >>
One of the issues cities across North America are grappling with (at least those that are not yet moving on progressive housing legislation, such as California’s SB 828) is the fact that, with single family home zoning, the only thing a ‘teardown’ can be replaced with is another single family home.
Mathematician, data analyst and notorious census mapper Jens von Bergmann points this out, noting that which is dominating the political landscape in Metro Vancouver these days — that when we look at single family home (SFH) development from an affordability perspective, it doesn’t look good.
And from an emissions perspective too — things look mixed at best for entire swaths of SFH neighbourhoods, all across the region. Read on >>
Melody Ma is a web developer, technologist, and active thought leader on urban issues in Vancouver.
Ma recently wrote a cogent think piece in the Vancouver Sun challenging some of the assumptions about the new 3,000 Amazon jobs that will be created when the American online retailer settles into downtown Vancouver, in the former home of the post office.
Ms. Ma notes that despite Mayor Robertson’s framing of this job influx as a big win, it may not be so. Amazon, she says, “will add more strain to the housing affordability situation, it will also strain our technology labour market, potentially negatively impacting the very sector that it is supposed to help.”Read on >>
Price Tags has been reporting on the devastating losses of arable Class 1 farmland in Metro Vancouver to gated private estates for the rich. Only 0.5 percent of all of Canada’s land is considered Class 1 farmland; all of the City of Richmond’s agricultural land are in this class. These soils can grow a multitude of vegetables and provide future food security to unborn generations of people in this region. Places like Abbotsford and their Abbotsfwd Plan aim to cleave off Class 1 farmland for industrial purposes. The City of Richmond doggedly continues to allow mansions of 11,000 square feet on agricultural land, allowing developers to turn these valuable soils into private gated multi-million dollar playgrounds.
Indeed there are 61 proposals that Richmond City Council will consider to further eat up this land. It’s all about profit, not about preserving a valuable resource. Read on>>
Last week, Simon Fraser University hosted a packed house for another City Conversation panel discussion, this on the topic of “Saving the Best Land in Canada: Crime, Policy and Food Security in the Agricultural Land Reserve”.
City of Richmond Councillor Harold Steves (who is also one of the founders of the Agricultural Land Reserve), community activist Jack Trovato and Anita Georgy of the Richmond Food Security Society described the situation — with only 1% of all farmlands in Canada deemed Class 1 agricultural for growing a wide range of local market vegetables, such land is inarguably valuable for future generations for food security.
All the agricultural lands in Richmond are Class 1, the best in the country.But therein lies the controversy. read on>>