Blogs, Vancouver IAM: Whistler Councillor Warns of Housing Crisis in BC, Are Victorians Least Happy Canadi

by ANDREW RIDEOUT - Date: 2008-01-02 - Word Count: 943 Share This!

This is a selection of recent popular blog articles from VancouverIAM where you will find the best blogs from Vancouver, BC as well as video uploads, social networking, rumors, and blog authoring

Affordable Housing Crisis Looms in BC

In a recent post in The Tyee, Monte Paulsen reports on BC’s looming affordable housing crisis, as real-estate prices skyrocket and wages remain stagnant. At a recent housing forum, Whistler municipal councillor Tim Wake warned BC city planners not to make the same mistake his city did and to work now to create affordable housing zones. You have to “Plan early, or react later” he stated. “With the average price of a single-family home in Whistler expected to more than triple to $3 million by 2010… it is simply not possible for even a successful two-income family to buy a home.”

Wake believes social housing is important, but so much attention to social housing “may have clouded the issue that we're facing right now.” Working incomes no longer match the housing opportunities, both rental and ownership. “One of the first things municipalities can do,” says Wake in the post, “is create the zoning for affordable housing.” We must create “complete neighbourhoods” and not simply build inexpensive housing “out on the periphery.” Start downtown and “marry the affordable housing opportunities with smart growth principles.” We must create “walk-able, livable neighbourhoods.”

Why Are Victorians so Unhappy?

Paul Wilcox’s most recent post on Paying Attention, a blog about BC politics and life, takes a look at an interesting study that shows BC’s Victorians to be the “least happy” population in Canada. The study by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research “looked at peoples’ satisfaction with their quality of life in 18 Canadian cities.” Victoria ranked last. The happiest city according to the study is Saint John, NB.

Wilcox finds the two cities quite the opposite in other ways as well. Where Victoria is a city of gardens and warm weather, Saint John has a pulp mill and a sprawling oil refinery. “Poverty is much more prevalent; the average family income is 15 per cent lower. The climate is much harsher — cold, snowy winters, foggy, gloomy springs.” So why are Victorians less happy? His reasoning is that the more ambitious folks left Saint John, and what remains is a population that values “community.” Victoria is a town of people looking for an “easy place to pursue their individual interests.” The result is a lot of people whose interests often stop at the “property line,” and we “pay a price in happiness for our lack of community” he concludes in his post.

BC Must Get Serious About Transit

Today on Stephen Rees’s blog on urban planning and transit, Rees takes a look at BC’s contribution to Canada’s status as one of the largest producers of greenhouse gas per capita. We produce “twice as much as Europeans… and five times more than the 4.2 tonnes per capita generated by South Asians.” He states the reason behind this as “the oil sands and the rest of Canada’s use of coal fired power stations.” We are a “big, cold country” that hasn’t been able to step up to the plate like countries such as Norway, “which is also arctic and [has] lots of oil.”

This reasoning, however, does not apply to BC. We do not burn coal to produce electricity, nor do we have oil sands. According to Rees’s post, “in the Lower Mainland our biggest ghg emitter is transportation.” It is true that “our transit system has expanded by 30% since Translink took over… [but] not only has the population grown… those people make more and longer trips - and they still use their cars first and foremost.” This is due to lack of good transit systems in the places that are growing fastest. “Since BC cannot reduce its greenhouse gas much by changing the way it generates electricity or produces petroleum products, it has to get serious about transportation.”

Vancouver’s Exhibition Centre Expansion Complements Surroundings

On SFU City, Gordon Price clarifies a quote of his in Sun Columnist’s Miro Cernetig’s article about the new downtown convention centre expansion. He is quoted as saying “It’s not a terrible building… But it’s not a great building, either. We could and should do better.” While he is emphatic that it’s “not going to be great building, competitive with other ‘iconic’ structures going up these days,” he states developers have done well considering that it is a difficult building to develop on a “sensitive site.”

Price writes in his post that this exhibition space, “actually complements the verticality of the Coal Harbour skyline when seen from Stanley Park.” In addition, when seen from Coal Harbour Green, “it plays well with the sails of the convention centre.” And finally, when viewed from Burrard Street, “its glassy facade respects the view corridor and doesn’t overwhelm the Marine Building.” If one is interested in debating these points, one may do so at “Paradise Builders,” which City Program is launching on Friday, February 1 during which Joint City Planning Director Brent Toderian and architectural critic Trevor Boddy will discuss “The Challenges of Today’s Vancouver” at 7 pm, SFU Harbour Centre.
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