Governance & Politics
May 10, 2019

Surprise! Money Laundering DID impact Real Estate Market

While there has been lots of finger pointing about how real estate prices in Vancouver could be so celestial that local people could not afford to purchase here, a panel has estimated that $5 billion dollars in “dirty money” went through the housing market last year.

Overall in the Province it is estimated that real estate prices increased by five percent due to this tinkering, but remember that will be more in some places (like in Metro Vancouver) than others. And surprise! As reported by Global News most of these questionable transactions  examined took place in Vancouver.

The report just  released  discusses B.C. Lawyers and B.C. Realtors  being part of the challenge. While there are rules in places for lawyers there is no need for external reporting of large amount transactions and no oversight of monies in a lawyer’s trust account.

The report also asked that only verifiable funds be used for purchasing real estate and that only verifiable funds be allowed in all transactions. It also recommended that mandatory courses be required for all real estate industry people to understand what money laundering is and how to deal with it.

Read more »

Seattle’s Crosscut columnist Knute Berger thinks it might be – in this piece: Is Seattle freeing itself from the automobile age?

In South Lake Union, you see folks zipping along on monowheels, hoverboards and electric bikes and scooters. These electronic gadgets seem less intrusive and more versatile than, say, a Segway, and some can be carried by hand or in a backpack.

Other innovations are in the works. Boeing is testing a pilot-less “autonomous” air taxi — a kind of flying Uber. Is the era of the flying car, as envisioned on The Jetsons, finally at hand? In Snohomish County, Amazon is testing a small delivery bot, named Scout, that can bring Amazon Prime customers their order. It looks like a robotic cooler on six wheels. It could someday be more efficient than fleets of street-clogging delivery cars and trucks.

The quest for car-free city living is speeding up, not slowing down. Seattle was reshaped and improved by a technology that arrived as a circus toy. Don’t be too quick to dismiss the driverless novelties that might be flying overhead or rolling along the sidewalk to deliver goodies in your neighborhood.

Of course, ‘careful what you wish for.’

Read more »

In David Wallace-Well’s worthwhile and worrying book on climate change – “The Uninhabitable Earth” – he writes this:

The United States Geological Survey… recently “war-gamed” an extreme weather scenario they called “ARkStorm”: winter storms strike California, producing flooding in the Central Valley three hundred miles long and twenty miles wide, and more destructive flooding in Los Angeles, Orange County and the Bay Area up north, altogether forcing the evacuation of more than a million Californians …

Hard to get your head around the idea of evacuating a million people in sudden and stormy circumstances.  Unless you’re Indian, in the impoverished state of Odisha hit by a severe cyclone :

… the authorities, sobered by past tragedies, moved a million people to safety, really fast.  …

On Thursday morning, Odisha government officials released a five-page action plan. They seemed to have left nothing uncovered. The most important part was to get people to the shelters. Since Odisha has been hit by many killer storms, state emergency officers said they had drilled on their evacuation plans many times. …

Krishan Kumar, an officer in the Khordha district of the Odisha government, said the government’s success reflected an accumulated wisdom.

How likely is it that California could do the same? Maybe.  Maybe they have the plans, the training, the experience – and the generals.  Those in charge, those accountable, those with the mandate and resources to face the threat and mobilize people – as Odisha did.

People in the sustainability community tend not to be fans of the idea that we need generals – and should be including them now in our ‘Climate Emergency’ strategies.  But when it comes to evacuating a million people in response to climate emergencies, how could you do without them?

Read more »

At this breakfast you will hear highlights from a recent report on how cities in Holland are embracing the circular economy because of its potential to move toward zero waste and optimal use of resources and energy while catalyzing new business opportunities.

And closer to home, you will hear how circular economy is being incorporated into Vancouver’s economic development activities, and the benefits of a local circular economy business on the urban environment.

  • Freek van Eijk, Director, Holland Circular Hotspot; Author of ‘Circular Cities – Accelerating the transition towards Circular Cities’
  • Bryan Buggey, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Sector Development, Vancouver Economic Commission
  • Laura van der Veer, Director of Community & Impact, ChopValue

Register here.

Read more »

In George Affleck’s world, the only thing worse than the politician who tries to please everyone is the politician who only focuses on the base.

So you can understand why the only thing to possibly vex him more than last council — in which he withstood endless punishment from a neo-leftie Vision Vancouver majority — could be this council, the least experienced in…possibly forever.

The two-time former NPA councillor, alongside friend of the podcast Rob McDowell, joins Gord to dissect the goings-on at City Hall. And if there’s one common theme, it’s that this NPA caucus is very, very different from past NPA caucuses.

No surprise — Vancouver’s favourite artisanal-partisanal political party apparently tends to shape and reshape itself every election cycle (at least according to this particular trio, who would know); the last reshaping led not only to Affleck stepping back, but resulted in a party unable to attract enough voters from the “mushy middle” to elect a mayor, and thus plunging the city into uneasy, unpredictable coalition territory.

So why *did* Affleck extract himself from the last campaign? Who’s shaping the NPA today? Is the 2022 election already looking like  slam dunk, or a problem….or both? And how many NPA councillors have an eye on the mayor’s chair. (Hint: all of them.)

Most importantly, what would he have done about the 420 coughuffle? (This is the discussion that earns us our first E for explicit content.)

We hope to have him back; in the meantime, you can hear more via his UnSpun podcast on The Orca media network with Jody Vance.

Read more »

While the focus on cycling infrastructure is, as it should be, on expanding the network (#ungapthemap) or on the latest controversy, continual progress is being made on existing routes, typically in conjunction with new development – like here:

This small stretch of the Central Valley Greenway is adjacent to 339 East 1st Avenue on the False Creek Flats, where there is a proposal for a four-building complex, including a small hotel.

There’s another project near completion at the east end of this stretch on the Emily Carr campus, to provide cyclists and greenway users (more electric scooters noticeable now) with a necessary fuel: coffee.

And at the west end: beer.

So Mount Pleasant: bikes, beer, art and industry.

Read more »

When I first saw these two mascots walking in a downtown rapid transit station I figured it must be for a chocolate dipped Dairy Queen cone and some new confection from Orange Julius. But no~these two mascots are actually representative of basic human excrement.

I was hopeful that our campaign on Price Tags to have washrooms  installed for the public at transit stations was about to be announced by these two mascots with the predictable names of “Pee and Poo”.

But no. As the CBC dryly reports Metro Vancouver  “has launched a video campaign introducing mascots Poo and Pee to drive home a message about improper flushing.The costumed mascots are part of Metro Vancouver’s annual Unflushables campaign to remind people about items that should not be flushed because they can clog city sewers and your pipes.”

I have written about the City of Victoria’s Mr. Floatie with his jaunty sailor’s cap and yellow rain boots. The creation of school teacher James Skwaro, Mr. Floatie had  a thirteen year career in Greater Victoria reminding citizens that 130 million litres of untreated sewage was being dumped daily into the Salish Sea.

Read more »

OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION: Special Projects Research Assistant – Student Summer Job

Vancouver Heritage Foundation (VHF) is seeking a student intern to join our staff team as a Special Projects Research Assistant for 10 weeks starting June or sooner. The role is 30 hours per week $15/hr, based in our office in downtown Vancouver.

VHF is seeking a current post-secondary student in history, heritage conservation, geography, planning, architecture or a related field. You will contribute to two key resources for people to learn about Vancouver’s heritage places – the Places That Matter Community History Resource and the Heritage Site Finder. In addition, you will have opportunity to assist with other VHF events and projects.

We are keen to hear from candidates with the following skills and experience:

  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent research and writing skills for the purpose of conveying information to the general public, and fluency in written and oral English
  • A genuine interest in history and built heritage
  • Computer fluency with at a minimum Microsoft Office and familiarity with website editing (WordPress an asset).
  • Organizational skills that include adhering to timelines and budgets, and record keeping
  • Ability to work well independently
  • Desire to work in a collegial and collaborative office environment

As this position is partly funded by the Young Canada Works program, the Research Assistant must meet the following criteria:

  • Full-time student during the 2018/2019 academic year
  • Aged 16 – 30 years old at the start of employment
  • Continuing his/her studies in the 2019/2020 academic year
  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident or has refugee protection status
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada.

You can view this position on our website here: https://www.vancouverheritagefoundation.org/get-involved/careers-at-vhf/

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Judith Mosley, Executive Director, at mail@vancouverheritagefoundation.org. Applications close May 13, 2019 at midnight. Only applicants selected for interview will be contacted.

 

Read more »