You may have use the job search function to find the nitty-gritty on:   Senior Policy Planner“.

But you’ll find this:

Job Summary

The Senior Policy Planner is responsible for managing community development policy and implementation that supports UBC Land Use Plan commitments around the creation of a complete, sustainable, and thriving community and in support of the academic mission.

  • Department:  C+CP Community Development
  • Salary: $80,880.00 – $126,376.00 (Annual)
  • Full/Part Time:  Full-Time
  • Closing date August 24, 2018
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TransLink, UBC and City of Vancouver engineers and planners have told us what they think about the technology for the Broadway to UBC rapid transit line.  There’s no room for more busses on this monster corridor, and LRT has too-low capacity.

This information came out at the July 28 Town Hall meeting mentioned recently in Price Tags along with significant background.

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Metro Vancouver campus commuters and transit-takers, here’s your chance to attend a “Town Hall” presentation and discussion on extending Vancouver’s Skytrain beyond Arbutus Street to UBC’s Point Grey campus.

The event will be hosted by Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra, with participation of representatives from TransLink, UBC, City of Vancouver and West Broadway Business Improvement Association.

Not sure whether to attend? Here’s some background, via an earlier Price Tags post.

If you go, remember — you get your say, you don’t get a veto.

Saturday, July 28, 2018
Registration 12:30 – 1:00 pm
Town Hall: 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Pacific Spirit Church, Memorial Hall (2195 45th Ave at Yew)
Light refreshments will be provided

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In April, Price Tags published a post on the UBC announcement regarding their desire to fund the remaining dollars — possibly up to $1 billion, depending on how you parse the extant project information floating in the ether (or who you know) — to bring the Millennium Line extension all the way to campus.

It remains our most-viewed post of 2018. It’s also our most-commented upon piece of all time. That’s 10,000+ posts over a dozen years.

So we decided to provide an update. Just one problem.

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Local First Nations are focussing on long-term economic independence via a series of big-money property developments in the Vancouver area.

First: Mike Howell reports in the Vancouver Courier that the Musqueam FN has reached a milestone on its UBC project.  Its scale, look and feel give hints about the “big one” — Jericho.

The provincial government is about to give the 1,300-member band the green light to build a massive residential development on its land in the University Endowment Lands  . . .     The project includes four 18-storey highrises, several rows of townhouses and mid-rise apartment buildings, a community centre, a childcare facility, commercial space for a grocery store and restaurants, a public plaza, a large park and wetlands area. All of it will be spread over 21.4 acres of what is now forest along University Boulevard, bounded by Acadia Road, Toronto Road and Ortona Avenue.

The Musqueam FN has hired former ban CFO Stephen Lee and former CLC employee Doug Avis to head up the Musqueam Capital Corporation, which offloads land development and other business activities from the band council.

[Chief] Sparrow, [Operations Manager] Mearns, Lee and Avis made it clear the end goal of the projects is to create opportunities for Musqueam’s young people and inspire them to pursue higher learning and take advantage of what’s in front of them. Lee and Avis are not Musqueam members but say they hope one day to be replaced by band members.
“We’ll make money on the developments, there’s no doubt about it,” Mearns said. “But that’s not really where the big value will come from. It’s how we raise the entire community capacity as a result of these projects and develop people to not only get careers as carpenters, plumbers, planners, engineers, doctors, lawyers — whatever — but it’s also to have people go out and develop their own businesses and get their own contracts.”

The Courier article is a fascinating journey along a trail that is shameful at times and hopeful at others.

Second: the 21-acre (8.5 hectare) Heather Lands, involving three FN and the Canada Lands Company (CLC).  The first open house will be tomorrow, Saturday Sept 24, 12:00 to 3 pm. Details HERE.  City of Vancouver launch events are to be Oct 15 and 17.
Apparently, the Heather Lands are also known as “Fairmont Lands”. Who knew?
Hints as to the planning outcome from the FN-CLC point of view are in THIS 25-page document from CoV, Appendix “D.  Joint Venture Guiding Planning Principles”. Presumably, many of these FN-CLC principles will also apply to the upcoming much bigger Jericho development. The principles, happily, include “…prioritize walking, cycling and transit…”, among many others. Cheesy car suburbs look unlikely.
The CoV document also lays out a big batch of overarching plans that will inform CoV’s Fairmont (Heather) Lands planning outcome.  Among them:  Land use, Density, Height, Public benefits, Transportation, Built form and character, Heritage, Sustainability, Development phasing.
Hopefully, the groups will meet somewhere in the middle of these various visions, which obviously differ in some areas e.g. affordability v.s. maximization of triple bottom line (page 18).  To me, at this stage, there looks like plenty of common ground.
Density will, of course, be the big hot public topic. Via its proxy — building height.  And let’s not forget the ever-popular vehicle storage (parking).

Thanks to Frances Bula for this in the Globe and Mail.  Note the possibility that the development will retain an existing 1920-era heritage building.  Note also the potential for City of Vancouver mandated affordable housing components, housing for FN members, and moderate to high density (as at nearby Cambie Street).

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The Globe and Mail reports on the scheduled demise of a truly iconic house located in Vancouver’s university neighbourhood, the  University Endowment Lands east of the University of British Columbia. The Friedman house was designed and built by Frederic Lasserre who was originally from Switzerland and  a University of Toronto graduate. Lasserre  worked in London for  the famous TECTON architecture group and taught at McGill before becoming the first head of the new Department of Architecture at the University of British Columbia in 1946.



The photo above is of Fred Lasserre in front of the Lasserre Building at the University of British Columbia. This is where the Architecture, Planning and Fine Arts Schools are located at the University. The UBC Architecture school was definitely modernist, and influenced by other emerging architects such as Ned Pratt and Bob Berwick, forerunners of the “West Coast Style”.



The house was built in 1953 for Dr. Sydney Friedman and his wife Constance, two of the early members of the Faculty of Medicine at UBC.  The garden of the house was planted by landscape architecture icon Cornelia Oberlander, in classic west coast style.  Dr. Friedman recently spent nearly $300,0000 on restorations to a house that he dearly loved, which still has its original furnishings from the 1950’s as can be seen in the photos. I have visited it and it is truly a unique and extraordinary house and setting.



Dr. Friedman passed away last year at the age of 94. He and his wife created a trust to provide for students attending the University of British Columbia. Because of the house’s location in the University Endowment Lands, Dr. Friedman could not get a heritage designation for the house because it is not located in the City of Vancouver. The members of the trust have deemed that the house needs to be for sale and it is on the market in the four million dollar range. Bids close very soon, and we will be losing an important classic modernist house, garden and furnishings that anywhere else would be cherished as a very important architectural gem. It is hoped that someone that understands the significance of the house steps forward to purchase it. Years from now we will mourn that this  modernist gem was not kept and instead becomes another residence destined for the landfill  in the relentless quest for new, larger single family homes. This residence has a remarkable tie to to our own architectural and planning history.

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On April 14, UBC’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate (CUERE) and the Centre for Chinese Research (CCR)  co-hosted a panel session – “Global Real Estate Investment: The Vancouver-China Nexus.”



Here are some notes I took (and for which I am responsible for their accuracy).


RICHARD KOSS from the International Monetary Fund, on “The Outlook for Global Capital Flows.”

Negative value for other assets and low interest rates has resulted in a turn of capital to real estate.  The increase in home prices  has been modest in most countries – but not in global cities (of which Vancouver is apparently one).  There are signs of stress in cities that are dependent on commodity producers – like Perth, Australia.

House-price booms were previously a topic of benign neglect, but that era ended with the events of 2008.  Yet we still don’t have the information we need, nor are there tools for moderating housing booms, though some modest efforts for affordability are being made at the local level.


DAVID LEY, geographer and a professor at the University of British Columbia, on “Global China. Capital outflows and overseas real estate.”

Canada has had the most lenient immigration program to attract capital and capitalists.

Initially immigrants came from Hong Kong and Taiwan.  Now they come from China (PRC) – a highly unequal society – where they are desperate to get money out.  (See also this article from the New York TimesChinese Cash Floods U.S. Real Estate Market).  The amount was $676 billion in 2015.

Vancouver has created a trans-national market to serve PRC investors.  Vancouver real estate is a global asset.


SHAO LONG LI, CEO and President of Modern International Ventures, on the “Vancouver China Nexus.”

Chinese prefer that 60 percent of their investment portfolio in real estate.

Vancouver is attractive because of western-style living and eastern culture.  It has, among other things, a high-quality education and an established social welfare system.

Foreigners now have easier accessibility to mortgages in Canada than in China.


TSUR SOMERVILLE, Director of UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, on Chinese immigration and Vancouver housing.

Chinese immigration is one piece of a complex transition.  The smallness of Vancouver magnifies the impact.

Something very different happening in single-family housing in Vancouver than, say, South of the Fraser, whereas condominium prices are in lock-step throughout the region.

Housing prices have turned down in Hong Kong and Sydney.

The end of investor program saw a drop in the local high-end market – but that does not explain the increase in Vancouver housing markets across the board.

Is it the decrease the value of the Canadian dollar?

Never have we had low interest rates and speed of capital flows like this.  The next three years will not be the same as last, even with Vancouver’s resort-city attraction


David Ley made two important points in the panel discussion after presentations:

  • Why is there continued denial of the impact of foreign capital.  There is data.
  • We’re seeing the danger of having no federal and provincial housing policy since the mid-1990s.  Why are they not addressing housing?  Why the overwhelming silence?

To which Tsur Somerville wondered:

  • Will the lack of action, given what people are saying about the housing issue, unleash the Trump-like supporters among us?



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