Housing
June 11, 2018

Real Estate Marketing 101: Trivision on the Arbutus Corridor

Also called Tri-Face, Three Message Sign, Prismavision, or Prismatic displays, this Trivision billboard sign rotates 120 degrees to show three different advertisements.

And the three messages on this Trivision billboard installed along Arbutus Street read sequentially like a prescription for the 20th century.

The first promises “Music to your Engine” by protecting your vehicular motor; next, the promise of wealth creation.

But it’s the third sign that stands out.

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Trust the New York Times to call it like it is.

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.

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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.

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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.

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From the “it was too good to be true” department, investigative reporter Kathy Tomlinson peels the speculative skin off the local Vancouver condo flipping practice in this Globe and Mail story.
Buckle up, as editorials are already coming out about this rocky ride and the completely expected push-back from realtors that have engaged in some property transaction flips and profited very handsomely from it.

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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.

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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.

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