The day began well before dawn. Bath, my rugby team of choice when Harlequins aren’t playing, fought hard to beat Wasps in the Amlin Challenge Cup. I watched the entire game; it was splendid. In the background throughout, I had another channel showing the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic cycle race. When the rugby reached its satisfactory conclusion, I switched over to two hours of cycle racing. Great conditions, great race, my guy came a very close second. I enjoyed it. So much good sporting suff going on that I didn’t even watch Chelsea beat Liverpool!
And then, after all that activity, I had to get up and get on with the day, and it wasn’t even 9 in the morning! Thank goodness for risotto and eggs and toast and tea!
The day continued — a Sunday, mind — with a long and productive 10:00am meeting of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods. After plotting to overthrow the established order and make residents the boss of everything, and gossiping about which planner would be leaving the City Planning Department next, we turned to more prosaic matters. There will more news of them (the prosaic matters) in the next few weeks.
Home again, and this time it is raisin toast and butter and tea that saves my life.
Not really sure exactly what happened with the afternoon. It kind of drifted by, with a few emails in and out, a couple of chores, a phone call. Nothing big. Pretty soon it came around to be time for the ever-loving’s asparagus stuffed chicken breasts with a jicama/lime salad. Hard to beat that!
And now I’m just exhausted writing about it all. Did you notice there was no nap in there?
There has been a lively debate these last few days about condos, Vancouver’s favourite form. Macleans started the conversation with their piece about the challenge of living in condos. This was followed by a defence of sorts. City Hall Watch comes in from the side with a piece about the longterm costs of the form as another Vancouver tower undergoes a full and expensive envelope recladding.
I have a belief that the whole condo tower structure business is a failed design, destined to be seen in the same light as the projects we built in the 40s and 50s. That being said, I know people who love living in those towers. It is exactly what they wanted. I myself have lived in condo towers on the North Shore and in the West End. I liked it well enough.
What cannot be denied, though, is that the condo tower has proven NOT to be the saviour of nor contributor to affordable housing. Over the last decade we have built these things almost to the exclusion of all else. And yet our housing market has gone through the roof in the same period. I am certainly not suggesting that the one is caused by the other. But regardless of any direct connection, it is clear that the building of condos has not had the ability to lower prices.
And what are Vision offering us? More “condos” in the form of “market rentals” for which they are willing to give away any and all advantage the City might have gained in the form of CACs. They have yet to explain how thousands more $2,000/month apartments with no community amenities will deal with the “affordability” crisis. And yet Clrs. Meggs and Reimer and others scream “build more! build more!” with no explanation why this will work when it hasn’t worked over the last six years.
Vision laughs at the NPA when the opposition says that the market should be allowed to create affordable housing. But that is exactly what Vision is doing, just with different packaging. This is housing to meet developers’ needs not housing to meet the needs of the people.
Stop giving stuff away. Stop spending money on elitist toys. Make developers pay the full cost of necessary infrastructure. Stop Meggs charging all those taxi fares, and teach Reimer how to use Skype rather than flying to Sweden for Earth Day. Bite the bullet and raise property taxes. Use the money you save and make to build truly affordable housing.
Dim sum to start (more of the finest), and stir fry (one of my best) for dinner.
In between? A long nap and periods of forgetfulness.
A fine day.
Here is a new documentary by John Ngyuen, who was involved in the Youth Non-Engagement video, that captures the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan process as it stood at the end of February 2014, just a month or two ago. Way too much of me in here, perhaps, but an interesting historical document nonetheless. And very well put together by John.