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Almost everything you have read or heard so far about the Vancouver’s task force on housing affordability is misleading, off-base or just wrong

October 11th, 2012 · 63 Comments

I have seen some strange media circuses in my life, but the one that happened the last two weeks — as people attempted to report on the final report from the housing affordability task force — was one of the weirder ones in the annals of communications.

I will attribute some of this fiasco to the city. The 15-point priority action plan in Appendix A was just too big a wad of policy to swallow for many people. Yes, I know all of you at the city have been working on this forever and it’s crystal clear to you what’s going to happen. But there were too many nuances and technical terms for reporters, even some hard-working ones, to get everything that was in there.

As a result, I hear people — calling in to the NW show that I’m on, talking about this in general conversations, writing letters to various editors and blogs — who are so mixed up that it’s kind of sad to listen to. At this point, as far as I can tell, there are an awful lot of people who think:

1. The whole city has been rezoned without public consultation to allow towers on main streets and a bunch of apartment buildings on the streets next to main streets

2. The city is looking for 20 streets that can be reduced by half, with the other half going to social housing, apartments and other kinds of housing — the so-called “thin streets” projects.

3. The city was going to do that, but there was such an uproar from the gentle citizens that the city totally backed off on that part of the plan.

4. The Vision council is just letting its big developer friends do what they want all over the city.

5. Everything that’s going to be built will be constructed by private developers, who will just charge whatever they can get, so how will that be affordable?

6. It’s all part of an evil plot.

Okay, maybe not everyone believes the last one but some do. And none of it is true.

I’ve been as big a critic of any of some of the Vision approvals of spaceship towers in Vancouver neighbourhoods recently. But a lot of the criticism that’s currently circulating is based on a completely erroneous interpretation of what Vision/the city is doing. If I could point out some facts:

– The city has not been wholesale rezoned. There was an interim rezoning passed that is going to allow some six-storey buildings around neighbourhood centres and on main streets — two storeys higher than what is allowed now — and will allow 20 rowhouse or stacked townhouse projects around the city, no more than two per neighbourhood.

When the first 20 are in, staff have to report back evaluating how they are working. If/when the Vision council decides it does want to create a new form of zoning that allows stacked townhouses/rowhouses on either side of all the city’s arterial roads, that will require a public hearing and everyone will get a chance to weigh in.

– The thin streets projects and the stacked townhouses/rowhouses projects are two different things. There will be 20 townhouse/rowhouse projects allowed, and applications are about to start coming in. There are NO, repeat NO, thin-street projects even close to becoming reality. The report said only that the concept should go out to the three communities that currently have planning processes underway, to see if one project per community could be included in the plan.

– The city didn’t really back away from anything with respect to that. If you read closely, the deputy city manager said that communities will get to decide on whether those projects are included in the plan. That was always the intention. Absolutely nothing has changed.

– The new forms of housing proposed are actually not the kind that Vision’s “big developer friends” would have any interest in building. Six-story apartment buildings on main streets, stacked townhouses and rowhouses, little bits of housing on part of a narrowed street are the very last thing that Westbank, PCI, Wall Developments or anyone of that ilk would contemplate building. They do big stuff.

The builders who will benefit are the small operations, the kinds of people who put up one four-storey condo project after another on Kingsway, slowly creating more housing stock without anyone noticing because they’re so busy fighting the latest tower.

Or it’s the kind of smalll company that will do a small eight-unit rowhouse complex — the kinds of companies that can sometimes build lower-cost housing because they’re not going through the big, expensive rezoning fights and they operate on much, much smaller margins than the big developers, who generally cream off 15 to 35 per cent of a building’s total sales revenue as their reward for risking the millions needed for a large tower.

– Everyone seems to have missed that the city is putting conditions on the rowhouse/townhouse projects to require some level of affordability and that it would continue to own the land under any “thin streets” housing, so it could also use its equity to create some affordability.

These are the conditions that were set out for any rowhouse/townhouse development:

Projects that would be considered are:
 where 100% of the residential floor space is rental housing
 where units are sold for at least 20% below market value and include a secure
mechanism for maintaining that level of affordability over time (e.g. resale
covenant, 2nd mortgage, etc.)
 innovative housing models and forms of tenure such as co-housing, when they
can demonstrate enhanced affordability as determined by the City
 where a Community Land Trust model is employed to secure increasing
affordability over time.

And, although it’s not spelled out in the thin streets project, various staffers and politicians have said elsewhere that city would likely retain control of any reclaimed street pavement and lease it out long-term. That way, the city could start offering the kinds of innovative housing deals that Simon Fraser University and the University of B.C. have been putting in place for their faculty and staff.

For example, a row of houses along one thin street could be sold at 80 per cent of normal market value for that area and size of lot to various buyers. Then, when the owners sold later, they would get back 80 per cent of whatever the normal market value is at the time of sale. Whoever buys next would get the same 80-per-cent deal, which keeps that below-market house as an asset for future residents forever.

(I should point out that the “thin streets” concept also envisioned having other uses besides housing. Some of the land could be used for park space, community gardens or anything else besides road pavement.)

As I keep droning on here endlessly, the controversial part of all this is not really the fact that the city is experimenting with these new forms. It’s going to be how they decide who gets access to these below-market units. Then we’ll really see the fur fly.

Categories: Uncategorized

63 responses so far ↓

  • 1 boohoo // Oct 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Strategic ignorance.

  • 2 Aldyen Donnelly // Oct 11, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks for this piece, Frances.

    In general, it seems I am onside with almost everything the current Council and staff seem to want to achieve–at the 1,000 foot level. I am on the pro-density team and an advocate for District Energy.

    But something seems to go sideways as concept converts to plan for public consultation. And things seem to scare me a little when I probe too much into some of the more innovative city-controlled project financing strategies that seem to pop up once in a while.

    It might be just a communications issue. I sure hope that is the case. Whatever it is, I hope they fix the problem fast.

    I fear that some of the most important concepts–the ones that need to be sold systematically and over time to city residents–might be abandoned, entirely, if there is no improvement in the consultation and communications processes.

    And even the best ideas can turn out badly if the business plans are poorly conceived. We really need to see more cost estimates and financial forecasts in the plans submitted to Council for approval.

  • 3 Glissando Remmy // Oct 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Thought of The Night

    “El Sueno De La Razon Produce Monstruos.”

    Vision’s puppy love for control, their need to put it in the hands of a few, that know too little about too many things, but pretend to know more about everything, living in an artificial world that’s too small for their crescendo egos… creates monsters.
    Add to that the sleep of reason.

    Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability.
    Ten months of ballet.
    Symbolic pastime activity.
    Bureaucracy extravaganza.
    Politician’s delight.
    Like those pimpled teens ordering caffe lattes in a Starbucks, their index finger pointed at the barista in a “Sshh, give me a second here…” trying hard to appear busy and important in a conversation re. Kim Kardashian’s boobies… fake or real… “Fake”.

    Whole exercise, a case of “Post coitum omne animalium triste est”.

    “There, I said it, you read it here first, one year before The Task Force will come to the same conclusion… “it can’t be done, unless, what… Glissando said…”
    At least I’ve saved you, the taxpayers, from paying for a dozen crates of Dom Perignon and one kilo of Beluga KaVeeRrrr!
    Because you know… Anything Less Would Be Uncivilized! :-)

    Yeah, I wrote that eight months ago, here #8:

    http://www.francesbula.com/uncategorized/2011-census-west-the-growth-engine-cities-take-most-of-the-increase/

    In conclusion… The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters… eh!?

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 4 Westender1 // Oct 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I can’t imagine why anyone is confused when we are dealing with an information flow as straightforward as the following: “…although it’s not spelled out in the thin streets project, various staffers and politicians have said elsewhere that city would likely retain control of any reclaimed street pavement and lease it out long-term.”
    I have given up trying to decipher this program because 1.) I suspect the confluence of politics and policy have created an (intentional?) impenetrable fog, and 2.) I don’t trust Vision Vancouver after their giveaway to developers on the STIR program. But that’s just a personal opinion.
    If there is confusion on the details of the changes as approved, I suspect it is because most media outlets have been simply repeating the press releases issued by the City – most of which seem to use the term “awesome” and a variety of exclamation points rather than providing useful information.
    On a practical, and perhaps less “awesome” topic, can anyone comment on the component of the package that says the City is “going to allow some six-storey buildings around neighbourhood centres and on main streets — two storeys higher than what is allowed now .” Development is normally regulated by Floor Area Ratio (FAR). Does the new policy allow any size of building up to six storeys? Or is there some regulation of FAR? Using only the former measure would result in buildings of up to 6.0 FAR along arterials – higher density than was (originally) permitted in Downtown South. Probably not what neighbours would be expecting, but somewhat desireable for a developer purchasing the site. (Which will now be more expensive due to the increased development potential?)

  • 5 ThinkOutsideABox // Oct 12, 2012 at 1:15 am

    I should point out that the “thin streets” concept also envisioned having other uses besides housing. Some of the land could be used for park space, community gardens or anything else besides road pavement.

    What does that have to do with the housing task force/affordability?

    I’m going to go out on a limb here with a wild guess, that someone is going to use this as justification to propose “thinning” the 1000 block of Broughton St., to create some green space, since Westbank’s fat 1401 Comox STIR debacle will leave so little surrounding it on it’s own parcel of land once the tower is built up – with endorsements from certain go-along-to-get-along-types.

    I could be totally wrong, but would love to check back and revisit a couple of years from now. Maybe sooner.

  • 6 Roger Kemble // Oct 12, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Sí, Glissy @ #3, pero esto es también pequeños vecinos que carecen de las pelotas para aguantar.

    It was clear from the start that the Mayor’s Task force on Housing Affordability would have to ignore the many issues outside the jurisdiction of a city council: i.e. compound interest and immigration: sin embargo both are the fulcrum of the problem.

    One could be cynical and accuse the task force of grandstanding. A more likely excuse is that the personnel were, are, just naïve people totally removed from the fray wanting to do good without investing anything of their own into the problem: no one on the task force had skin in the game.

    When we built our family home at Lighthouse Park WV in 1964 CMHC offered 5.25% mortgages. Land cost was C$3,500.00 and our house finally came in at C$18,500.00. The house has not changed hands for many years but houses in the vicinity sell for well into the millions now.

    What on earth could cause such a dramatic rise in price just 50 years with no added amenity? Most certainly Metro Vancouver has not found any new burgeoning industries to justify wage increases to justify such an exorbitant escalation and if anything the City of Vancouver has experienced more dramatic house inflation while evicting most of its middle class family wage earners.

    Although local councils have no jurisdiction over in migration and banking it does have some over local wage increase to match inflation: on that deathly silence!

    The massive influx of astronauts had a lot to do with it. Granting permanent residence to wealthy business people who have more money than common sense and acquisitive federal laws crafted by out-of-the-loop politicians who have no idea as to the consequences.

    Add to that a banking system that many responsible people call, sotto voce a Ponzi, despite the current economic downturn, empty condos will multiply simply because the city has no other industry, no other way of sustaining the myth of prosperity, other than catering to people who buy, speculate and hedge their currencies: the century 21 disease.

    It is much more than a “communications issueAldyen @ #2. CTV last night exposed a survey exposing Vancouver traffic, as a continent wide dysfunction, to be second only to Los Angeles.

    And there is not one politician locally, or nationally positioned to face the truth. Thin Streets (abandoned for the time being) will exacerbate the problem and rile the neighbours!

  • 7 Raingurl // Oct 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

    RE: Frances’ final comment……..As I keep droning on here endlessly, the controversial part of all this is not really the fact that the city is experimenting with these new forms. It’s going to be how they decide who gets access to these below-market units. Then we’ll really see the fur fly………..
    Ya, I’m gonna get in on that fur fight….I am not poor and I am not rich but I’ve been stuck somewhere in the middle for too long with barely an escape. I want to own a home and I deserve it just as much as the guy that sits on the street corner and asked me for money. I want him to have a home as well but when will it be my turn? Everyone pays attention to the homeless (and that is not a bad thing) but no one looks twice at the families that make just enough to afford (maybe) some of the finer things this beautiful city has to offer.

  • 8 MB // Oct 12, 2012 at 11:33 am

    While there are admirable ideas in the document, like 6-storey condos on arterials with good transit service, the thin streets proposal just doesn’t make the cut.

    The physically limiting factors of underground services and large street trees will ensure the number of sites stays minimal, if, in fact this idea hasn’t died already. This is so obvious to those who build things, and I’m still surprised someone didn’t pick up on them before the press releases.

    Moreover, why on Earth would the Planning Dept. issue a PhotoShop illustration promoting single family detached housing on a thin street? How does an inefficient land use on roads address affordability?

    Add the 80% of market value policy to this idea and a land lease (as opposed to a sale) to a limited supply and you’ve got a huge problem with yet another local resentment complication to the affordability challenge.

    What do they propose to control who gets in, a lottery? There will have to be some kind of qualifying criteria, like income testing, special needs, etc.

    It would be much cleaner for the city to purchase private land (or use non-road city land) and lease it out with the 80% covenent on the housing units in perpetuity. In effect, social housing.

    Another way would be to lease the public land to a private co-housing group who would act as their own developer. My only caution would be
    to examine the fine print in the lease very carefully for the long-term impact over several generations. Just ask the residents of SFC how well the city manages its lease renewals.

    This illustrates that non-market solutions are perhaps the best way to address the effects of a heated market … until the next Big One, that is.

  • 9 Kirk // Oct 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I think people are jumping to negative conclussions because council has lost a lot of public trust for how they do things. Things feel more partisan and polarized nowadays.

    I’m like Raingurl — not rich, not poor. Love to move to a bigger place since we have a couple of kids. Glad to hear there’s at least a discussion going on for those of us in the middle.

    Many councillors preach cycling and pride themselves for cycling to city hall. But, even more so, they preach high density living, yet most of them seem to live in single family houses. It’s like the Translink bosses that don’t ride the bus — there’s just some credibility missing for me.

    So, for that, and the other recent things like the Rize decision, I’m always skeptical whenever they do anything now. I have a hard time giving them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I need therapy.

  • 10 Lee L. // Oct 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I have already subsidized the glass canyons of the Olympic Village, thank you very much.
    I am not interested in continuing down that road.

  • 11 Ned // Oct 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Sad. Very sad, when most of the commentaries in here are on such a doomed tone. No one is trusting this Vision Council anymore. Or no more than they would trust a handful of last year’s riot hooligans with another Game 7 in Vancouver. Ever.
    What’s interesting both crowds have the same denominator… they are Vision Vancouver, Gregor Robertson & Penny Ballem. In four years, this group have destroyed a city, and tragically continue to do so without once admitting how bad they are.
    How is it not possible to get rid of them before they could inflict more damage is beyond me.
    We should have laws to hold them responsible for their actions and/or incompetent decisions. They want to act as if they run their private corporate business be bound by the Corporate Laws to their shareholders (the taxpayers).
    Mayor’s Task force was/ is such a waste of oxygen. It created more CO2 than those camel farts in the Shara desert. Thanks Glissy and Roger for your pithy comments, there is a huge Real Estate Ponzi going on in Vancouver and our “elected” leaders are painting Heigh Ho slogans on the walls.
    If you bothered to openn Glissando’s link at 3 and read his commentary at 8 I think this sums it up:
    “1st Dream Agenda 4 Z Housing Affordability #TaskForce
    1)Persuade ALL House Millionares 2 Forfeit 50% Home Equity. Anything Less Would Be Uncivilized! :D
    1/3

    1st Dream Agenda 4 Z Housing Affordability #TaskForce
    2)Stop ALL Speculation Based Immigration Anything Less Would Be Uncivilized! :D
    2/3

    1st Dream Agenda 4 Z Housing Affordability #TaskForce
    3) Cut 50% Profits/ Wages/ Perks 2 Developers/ Design Teams/ City Staff Anything Less Would Be Uncivilized! :D
    3/3″
    Ha.
    That’s the way to make this city affordable again. But who’s willing to accept that?Everybody’s on the Ponzi. The last ones in are even more eager to perpetuate this scheme.
    The other way would be through a masive reconstruction, but that’s after the Big One hits! Everyone’s guess.
    Sad. Very sad. There is no hope in sight for our youth, other than perusing a bedroom in their parents condo or a basement suite in their parents house. Still this is no life. Good that all including the Mayor on his task force on housing affordability ALREADY live in houses. Good for you. Now, could you please leave us alone and let some peopole with Real Solutions take it from here on?
    Thanks.

  • 12 Janet // Oct 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    It’s puzzling that if Thin Streets is just a concept – who pushed it to the headlines? It wasn’t just the media…

    Clarification for a non-home owner please! What is the difference between townhouses and rowhouses?

    Thanks!

  • 13 waltyss // Oct 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    @Ned: You said: “In four years, this group have destroyed a city…” Really. This city was Valhalla until 2008 and then straight down into the drink.
    The comment is so extreme, so, well, loopy that it completely anything you may want to bring to the debate.
    And for those inclined to read all of your post…
    Having thoroughly slagged Vision, the Mayor and the City Manager, you offer as solutions:
    a) that anyone with a House give up 1.2 of their home equity;
    b) stop all “speculation based immigration”, whatever or whomever that may be.
    c) cut the wages and profits of developers and city staff by 50%.
    Glissy undoubtedly wrote this oh so realistic screed in a purple haze; what is your excuse?
    Do we laugh or do we cry?

  • 14 Anne // Oct 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I think a lot of the problem is how the City is communicating.

    As a West End resident I am sceptical about the so-called consultation about our community plan. I participated in a walk, supposedly to give feedback, and all I get is justification of what they are doing – no listening, just blathering on from the planner/leader.

    I realize some of this is just the arrogance of planners but there is a strong whiff of “we know what you need better than you do” around all of the communication.

  • 15 tf // Oct 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I remain flabbergasted at how 2 – 17 story condo towers on Main & Keefer and Georgia are going to help housing affordability for low-income residents –
    Or how a Design Panel can sit in a meeting room somewhere and think 17 story towers are a good idea for the streets of Chinatown!!!
    The ‘vision’ makes me nauseous.
    I’m also astounded by the hypocrisy of this City Council – the many varied communities of the Downtown Eastside and City staff have been meeting for 18 months as a Local Area Planning Process but only ONE of their many and ongoing recommendations has even been considered by council.
    Yet an insider task force of backroom developers is formed in weeks and 9 months later City Council adopts the recommendations that will affect every corner of this city without one public hearing or consultation.
    It’s all hot air when the City talks about “community” and decisions are made behind closed doors.
    I guess some people had high hopes in 2004 when Vision formed from COPE but we should have known, “Friends of Larry Campbell” did the fundraising! How much more inside can a political party get to name your party after an individual???
    I understand what Glissandro means with his signature quote ~

  • 16 Richard Wittstock // Oct 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    If the goal is delivering affordable housing for families in Vancouver, in the form of (for example) row housing, this report’s recommendations will do nothing to achieve this. You can’t facilitate a gentle form of densification such as this by taxing away any incentive to do so, i.e. by requiring the homes to be sold at 20% below market value. With small builders operating on 10%-15% profit margins, how is this supposed to pencil out? Has anyone at the city actually ever run a development profoma? There is absolutely no “land lift” in moving from single-family to duplex or row house density. So let’s penalize someone who tries to do something innovative to the tune of 20% of his revenue right out of the gate? How is that supposed to bring on supply of anything other than single-family homes?

    These guys need to give their heads a shake. Clueless. European-style row housing to is the only solution to the lack of affordability of housing that works for families in the city and we are still not seeing the necessary support of this form from the City. They know that we need it, but then they pay it lip service with asinine, half-baked policy.

  • 17 Glissando Remmy // Oct 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Waltyss #12
    Give Ned a break… and I’ll give one to you.
    Those three paragraphs were part of my parodied “Dream Agenda” being “proposed” by me for the “Mayor’s Task Force On Housing Affordability” first meeting.
    We are talking “housing affordability” here, right? Not “more affordable development on the side streets and back alleys”, right?
    For this council to move anywhere near an affordable solution, they’d have to take into consideration and acknowledge what Roger Kemble penned brilliantly #6… it’s a Ponzi!
    Deal with that first, and the rest of the pieces would fall nicely into place. It’s a ‘puzzle’ alright!
    And I’m not the one that’s puzzled. They are.
    Waltyss, you got me!
    “Glissy undoubtedly wrote this oh so realistic screed in a purple haze…”
    That’s my excuse, fine… what is theirs?

    MB #8 excellent ‘post mortem’… too bad the Task Force cut up the wrong John Doe.

  • 18 Everyman // Oct 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Why can’t the city just zone certain areas for multifamily rental and not allow strata complexes in those areas?

  • 19 Lee L. // Oct 13, 2012 at 7:51 am

    An interesting point Everyman…

    but… Vision Vancouver has ALREADY zoned almost ALL neighbourhoods of the city, formerly Single Family Residential zoned, as multifamily rental. They did this in a very sneaky fashion, and without referendum, by allowing the construction of laneway housing on any Single Family lot. If you look at most of these lane houses that are being built, you will see that they are indeed rental housing and not just a little loft for your nephew while he goes to school. These dwellings have no additional parking, often taking up the previous parking spot for the property ( garage ). This is mutlifamily densification by any other name ( oh.. yes.. the name is Single Family Residential zone). Sneaky huh?
    Have a look..
    lanewayhousing.wordpress.com

  • 20 Lee L. // Oct 13, 2012 at 7:56 am

    And as for you Bula..
    When you write
    ” The city has not been wholesale rezoned. ”
    I beg to differ.(Read my previous post.).
    No wonder people think there is a ‘conspiracy’ where Vision Vancouver is concerned.

  • 21 Terry Martin // Oct 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Francis you say – “The city has not been wholesale rezoned. There was an interim rezoning passed that is going to allow some six-storey buildings around neighbourhood centres and on main streets — two storeys higher than what is allowed now — and will allow 20 rowhouse or stacked townhouse projects around the city, no more than two per neighbourhood.

    When the first 20 are in, staff have to report back evaluating how they are working. If/when the Vision council decides it does want to create a new form of zoning that allows stacked townhouses/rowhouses on either side of all the city’s arterial roads, that will require a public hearing and everyone will get a chance to weigh in”. Shouldn’t the public get a chance to weigh in on the “interim rezoning ” and the 20 rowhouse or stacked townhouse projects?? This is rezoning, calling it” interim” shouldn’t be used to ram it through without public hearing.

  • 22 Terry Martin // Oct 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    As well,the whole task force is made up primarily of big developers or former players in the development industry.That is like having a task force on protecting the environment made up of large mining companies, and big oil operating in the tarsands or a task force on child safety made up of convicted child molesters . The entire process has been absurd. No wonder we don’t trust vision vancouver,the party that seems like Gordon Cambell on steroids.

  • 23 Frances Bula // Oct 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    @ Terry. I believe you’re wrong on the make-up of the task force. Or that’s what I’m led to believe by a letter going in from some of them saying that that is a complete mispresentation of who is on the task force.

  • 24 Frances Bula // Oct 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    @Terry. It’s actually not terribly different from what has been going on already. The city approves demonstration projects, which has meant that small townhouse, rowhouse etc projects can get built in traditional city neighbourhoods. There are several scattered around the city. Maybe there should have been a full-scale public hearing for those, however many decades ago they were put in place?

    In the annals of outrageousness, it doesn’t seem to me that terrible that the city will allow 20 projects and then evaluate. It actually gives neighbours and the whole city something to look at as demonstrations as a full-scale rezoning is contemplated, instead of having the whole argument dominated by people saying the idea might be good or might be the end of the world as we know it.

  • 25 Frances Bula // Oct 13, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    @Lee L. Yes, and there was almost two years of hearings and public debate on that (initiated by the Sam Sullivan council).

  • 26 Frances Bula // Oct 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    @Richard. I don’t pretend to have studied a pro forma on this, but given that Olga Ilich, who builds rowhouses in Vancouver, was the chair of the task force, do you really think they didn’t make an attempt to figure that out? Also, my understanding is that there are several groups all ready to go on this, so I guess someone has figured it out.

  • 27 Terry Martin // Oct 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    The task force was heavily laden with either developers or former developers.Also 20 pilot projects is not a small trial , this is the problem , lets build 20 projects without public hearing,and then see what the public says , this from a party that touts public consultation.In my view that is completely hippocritical, same as when Vision 2008 said they were opposed to eco-density and now are its biggest proponents

  • 28 Terry Martin // Oct 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    To continue , same as in the 2008 campaign they signed a form saying they were in favor of restoring 3rd party appeals to the board of variance and now are opposed ,same as so many other flip-flops that they have done,as you should be aware of ,having covered them from their inception.Which brings up what I often wonder,why is it that as a reporter you don’t often raise these issues , they seem to be obvious .I would hope to see unbiased criticism of all political parties from the press including my own party ,of whom I am not afraid to criticize when I believe that they are on the wrong path

  • 29 Glissando Remmy // Oct 13, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Thought of The Evening

    “We live in a city with three classes of people. Princes and Paupers. House Haves and House Have Nots. In between there’s Renters. They… are the Middle Class.”

    As of this moment the Middle Class is squeezed by its balls at a higher speed than that of sound. In other words, the Middle Class cannot even articulate the littlest of screams.

    Like living in a Medieval Legend were all that Kings do all day long, is checking out their Courtesans, all while the Pages and Soldiers and Farmers play cards in the wings, workout with swords or… grow lettuces.
    Perhaps them Eunuchs shall grow some balls, instead of… oh, wait, forgot, they surrendered them out willingly in a secret swearing ceremony.

    To beat the crap out,
    Of those Kings, Sultans and Knights,
    Or not to beat,
    That, my Terry Martin friend… is the question.

    Though… sometimes, I’m thinking…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuMQjKiaDTg

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 30 Kirk // Oct 13, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I’m not overly opposed to the Task Force report. But, I can’t but help feel like there’s a media blitz going on telling us that everything’s going to be alright. We have Frances telling us we’re overreacting. We have the mayor’s letter in the paper. We have Bob Ransford with his op-ed in the Sun.

    The bike lanes were a trial. Laneway housing was a trial. This is a trial. I haven’t made up my mind on the report yet, but I don’t think anything is a trial in this city.

    It’s hard not to be skeptical. The end goal is basically to make real estate less profitable. Who on the task force really wants that? That’s why we always get pushed solutions like cheaper loans and smaller units — solutions that try to expand the market without cutting into profits.

  • 31 Frances Bula // Oct 13, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    @Kirk. Actually, laneway housing was not a trial. There were two years of public consultations before it went into place. There was a review and some adjustments after one year, but there was no pretence that it was a trial.

    And, actually, if there has been a media blitz, it’s been a blitz saying that the city is being rezoned, Thin Streets are coming to every neighbourhood, etc etc. Reactions from me, then the mayor (after being asked by a reporter), then Bob came at the very tail end of over a week of crazy shit, if I may be permitted to say so. And those are three pretty little things compared to all the other coverage.

    I agree. Be skeptical. Watch to see whether things are going off the rails. But don’t be cynical.

  • 32 waltyss // Oct 14, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Reason, Francis? Fact, Francis? They appear to have no place in the blogosphere. Expect the worse, even make it up. But be negative.
    By the way, the Mayor in his piece in the Sun, I believe, said that the draft report had been out for something like 4 months. Is that correct? If so, it puts a different slant on the claim that the final report was just rammed through. Or was the final report hugely different from the draft?

  • 33 Frances Bula // Oct 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    @Waltyss. Um, actually, my name is Frances, not Francis. And reason and fact have just as much a place in the blogosphere as anywhere else. It depends on who is running the blog. There’s nothing inherently fact-free about words on a screen versus words on paper.

  • 34 waltyss // Oct 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    @Frances. My sincere apologies for misspelling your name. As for the rest, in case you didn’t notice, I was being sarcastic.
    Any thoughts on the last question/

  • 35 Frances Bula // Oct 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    @Waltyss. Oh, I was just joshing. I knew you were being sarcastic. Re the final report compared to the early report, hmm, I’d have to look at that. I have to say I was a little surprised that they decided to put the Thin Streets in as one of their high-priority items and the specifics of the rowhouses interim rezoning was news to me. The housing authority, there had been lots of signals they would consider that. But in all cases, none of these is a wholesale rezoning of the city and I was actually interested to see how tentative they were with their suggestions for piloting some new forms.

  • 36 Kirk // Oct 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Think of housing like food. For years, we were doing fine — reasonable amount of food to go around, and things were sustainable. Then something happened and someone decided to market our food as an investment. And, it went global, with people all over the world bidding on our local food supply. Our food tasted great, so it sort of made sense that a lot of people wanted to eat it. But things started to go crazy. The next thing you knew, savvy marketers were holding presales of the food. People lined up overnight to prebuy it. Payday loan companies were offering no-money-down. And, then it went completely nuts, and people even started flipping their food presales and bidding wars were everywhere.

    But, now, many locals are barely scrapping by. Hungry, but can’t afford to eat. Many families are moving away. Others live in despair, given up on the dream of ever eating three square meals a day. Instead, they get by on scraps. The government tries to intervene. Senior government starts to rein in the payday loan companies. Local government creates a task force headed up with executives from food suppliers like Monsanto (ie their donors) to come up with their own solutions. Instead of solutions like quelling speculation or putting quotas on food hording or calming the market, the task force changes the Canadian Food Guide to lower the recommended daily calorie intake and lobbies senior government to again allow the payday loan companies to amortize the food purchases over a longer time.

    That’s why we get recommendations like “Oh, your family can’t afford a 1000 sqft, 2 bdrm condo for $1,000,000? Okay, then let’s allow 600 sqft, 2 bdrm condos and price them at $750,000. ”

    Your children are hungry and can’t afford $10 for a loaf of bread? We recommend you buy a $6 dinner roll and split it four ways. Or, go see Guido over there, and see if he can give you an advance.

    Help me, Frances! I think I’m getting cynical! Steer me back on to the road of just being skeptical :(

  • 37 Lee L. // Oct 14, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    As FrancEs Bula said:
    “@Lee L. Yes, and there was almost two years of hearings and public debate on that (initiated by the Sam Sullivan council).”

    And in reply..

    Yes, 2 years, and apparently all ‘consultation’ was ignored, as is the Vision modus operandi.
    Again, FrancEs, please look at

    lanewayhousing.wordpress.com

    to see what the actual NEIGHBOURHOOD PEOPLE think about this underhanded, sneaky rezoning of ALL of Vancouver.

  • 38 Jay // Oct 15, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Looking at the CoV zoning map, it looks to me as if most of the arterials are zoned rs-1, which restricts height to 2.5 stories (not 4), and a maximum floor space ratio of 0.60. Does this interim rezoning include all properties along arterials, or is it intended for only c-1 and c-2 properties?

  • 39 Brian // Oct 15, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for the word of reason, Frances. It seems like anytime there is a proposed change in land use policy, the public’s kneejerk reaction is to hate it. Hopefully we can all calm down and start evaluating the report on its merits. I’ve seen comments here and elsewhere that sound like: “I don’t really understand what this is all about. Someone must be pulling the wool over my eyes. Something sinister must be afoot.”

  • 40 Ken // Oct 15, 2012 at 10:16 am

    There’s a lot of comments on how Vision has created a lot of problems with the affordability in the city by a wholesale rezoning of the land use and other changes they’ve made but let’s not forget that many of these policies actually began in previous administrations. The very term of Eco-densification was coined by Sam Sullivan of the NPA. Since this process is being carried on through different political parties with supposedly different agendas it beggars the question of where are these policies actually coming from. Look to an international agency that rates member cities on how they are positioned in this race to become the World’s Green Capital by 2020, iclei.com.

    Many cities and counties from other places have lately realized the consequences of an ICLEI membership and have withdrawn in order to get back control of their own community planning.

    By the way, do you see any plain single family zoned lots left on that map? I understand that with one backroom order all the single family zoned lots in Vancouver have been rezoned as multi-fanily so people can build one or two basement suites and laneway houses anywhere in the city.

  • 41 Jan Pierce // Oct 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

    It seems to me that there is a lot of confusion about what has been happening. I’ll give what I think is the correct version. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    The final report from the Task Force was not that different from the interim report that was released before summer in June. However, what was new was the staff report to Council that accompanied the Task Force Final Report. In that staff report, planners proposed a new rezoning policy that is to be applied to areas right across the city. This staff report was only made public and, supposedly, only given to council, three working days before the council meeting where it was to be approved.
    Planners proposed that they will now consider rezoning applications for six storeys along all arterials well served by transit within 500 metres of a shopping area. When these criteria are put on a map, almost all arterials would be eligible for upzoning to six storeys, including those that are currently single family. In addition, planners will consider upzonings to allow stacked townhouses (3.5 storeys) as well as row houses on all streets adjacent to arterials. There is no indication as to how many of the proposed upzonings would be for row houses and how many would be for stacked townhouses. The details of these new projects are yet to be determined and no economic analysis has been made public to show whether rowhouses could ever be built or whether all projects would end up having to be stacked townhouses. The term ‘stacked townhouse’ may sound better than apartment but will likely be very similar with densities about the same as RM3 apartment zoning. Planners are looking to follow the zoning they are developing for the Norquay neighbourhood which, in order to get enough increased density, allows assembly of more than one lot, mimimizes rearyards, increases site coverage, and does not provide private yard areas for all units. Their scale and appearance would be a radical departure from existing housing. There were no additional criteria given in the staff report to prevent demolition of heritage/character buildings or existing affordable housing.
    As I understand, each of the twenty projects that will be approved before planners go back to council for review, will require a rezoning and a public hearing. Unfortunately, this public hearing process may be problematic. If people have followed recent rezonings and public hearings, it seems that even if there is a lot of opposition, it will difficult to have proposals defeated because a.) Council has approved this new rezoning policy, and b.) planners and developers will already have put a great deal of time and money into developing something they feel should be approved.
    In the staff report, planners state that they will go back to Council after 20 rezonings only for a review of the criteria . They do not mention that the whole policy might be ended. They emphasize that these upzonings are NOT to be confused with the old Neighbourhood Demonstration Projects. The tone of the staff report indicated that this was to be a new and long term rezoning policy.
    Based on my reading of the Final Report of the Task Force, it seemed that they recommended that the City should try to find areas where additional opportunities for higher density housing might be found. The staff report went much further in a very fast broad brush way to move to upzonings immdiately in areas right across the city.
    If this is just an experimental demonstration, why were thousands of blocks across the whole city opened up for potential rezonings all at once and with only three days notice?

  • 42 Ms Jones // Oct 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

    “Hopefully we can all calm down and start evaluating the report on its merits. ”
    Wow, Brian #39.
    Aren’t you the voice of reason and a call to peace on Earth?
    After all we are all stupid and don’t know how to read a report:
    “I don’t really understand what this is all about. Someone must be pulling the wool over my eyes. Something sinister must be afoot.”
    I don’t think people are saying that Brian, they know how to read a piece of fabricated paper, they are pissed off at this mayor, this council and what they are doing to this city… lying that is. And to add insult to injury you want to make up Mayor’s Community Involvement Task Force? What?
    From the right side of Gregor… Quinlan, Mike, Geoff or whoever you are “Brian” you can’t see it that way, can you?

  • 43 Andrew Browne // Oct 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    @ Frances #35

    “…and I was actually interested to see how tentative they were with their suggestions for piloting some new forms.”

    Of course they’re tentative. A single word from their mouths elicits such insane negativity it’s a wonder they bother getting out of bed each morning. People wait with baited breath to shout down the poor sap who mistakenly woke up optimistic.

    So… complaints of politicians and staff feeling that they know better than the public, and the public reacting with insane anger over pretty much anything and everything. Well, eureka, they’re connected.

  • 44 Andrew Browne // Oct 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    @ Jan #40

    “If this is just an experimental demonstration, why were thousands of blocks across the whole city opened up for potential rezonings all at once and with only three days notice?”

    My read on it is that the conditions for eligible pilot sites are very broad, yes, but that only 20 trial pilot projects would be considered before pausing for formal policy development. Or something like that?

  • 45 Higgins // Oct 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Terry Martin #27 #28
    I dig that man, but Fabula’s blog (this is more of a forgiveness site, a Vision Guilt Offset) is not the right vehicle for comments like yours. You’re inside Vision’s den. You’re critique is not welc0me, not that they’ll tell it to your face any time soon… they wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings…

    ROTFLMAO!
    Glissy that clip #29 is funny as hell. I almost spilled my coffee all over me!
    How do you do it? Also agree with your comment … I’m middle class too!

  • 46 waltyss // Oct 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    @Andrew Browne 41. It’s actually “bated breath” not “baited breath” But maybe you were deliberate in your spelling; in the circumstances “baited” is certainly appropriate.

  • 47 MB // Oct 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

    If the new policy on arterials results in developments like 3333 Main (they negotiated 5-storeys) or Capers/Saltlicks on 4th x Vine — both with decent trolley service to their doors — then I do not wait with abated breath.

  • 48 MB // Oct 16, 2012 at 9:54 am

    @ Kirk 36:

    Think of housing like food. For years, we were doing fine — reasonable amount of food to go around, and things were sustainable. Then something happened and someone decided to market our food as an investment.

    An interesting analogy. But flawed.

    You forgot to mention that housing/food has a symbiotic connection to land.

    Housing in Vancouver is, on average, not that outrageously priced. But land is. Look at any assessment notice for any ground-oriented dwelling for proof.

    You cannot possibly address development / growth / housing affordability in Vancouver without addressing more efficient land use.

    Somehow Lee L. seems to think that preserving single family detached zoning on ~14,000 acres will address affordabity. In fact, applying basic Econ 101, you are limiting the supply of a commodity when there is a measureable demand, which is one of the surest ways to raise prices.

    This has been happening here for years. This is why questioning and examining how one uses the land is a justifiable part of the concerns over affordability.

    And guess what? There are some incredibly obvious wasteful land use practices out there.

    Lack of affordable housing will appear increasingly in Surrey and Coquitlam over time for the same basic supply & demand reasons, so using the ‘moving to the burbs’ excuse is only temporary.

    Row housing offers a plethora of designs that can be oriented to income levels, but they all have something in common: they use less exorbitantly expensive land and are therein more efficient and affordable than the current standard on 70% of our residential land base: detached single family dwellings on full lots.

    Row housing is also a market-based solution to affordability, and has the advantage of ground-orientation and accerss to private outdoor spaces, albiet smaller than the current standard detached home.

    If as some proponents suggest the answer is a radical reduction in land prices (with I must add no realitic solutions as to how that might be achieved), then there is no market-based solution in a locale rife with increasing demand and a limited supply. The only answer in that case is to subsidize the land value component, in effect to create more social housing.

    There is a role for socialized housing, but just don’t expect it to be a common answer to expensive real estate.

  • 49 Dan Cooper // Oct 16, 2012 at 11:44 am

    One reason people think that there may be a plan to rezone everything and create thin streets is stuff like this being publicized by the City of Vancouver, and then folded into their policy decisions:

    http://www.rethinkhousing.ca/view_submission.php?ID=23

    Quoth: “A conservative estimate is that over 10,000 homes could be created…”

    Obviously, the only way that could be done is to force thin streets through everywhere and on everywhere. Note the official City of Vancouver logo on the page, and – as someone else put it above – lots of cheering and exclamation points in discussion by officials elsewhere. Obvious conclusion results.

    Moral: Be careful what you say, because people will tend to listen and believe you.

  • 50 Dan Cooper // Oct 16, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Oy! my usual editing errors appear again. First sentence should read in part, “…create thin streets everywhere…” and third sentence, “…everywhere and on everyone…”

    Mea culpa.

  • 51 Glissando Remmy // Oct 17, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Thought of The Night

    “24 Hours Vancouver should change their name to 24 Hors D’oevancouver. One-bite appetizer paper, all day long.”

    The other day I left a short comment/ feedback in the 24HV attached to the “Duel” between David Eby & Kathryn Marshall article, here:

    http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2012/10/14/engaged-city-task-force-insufficient-to-address-vancouver-social-alienation

    So far, NADA, ZILCH, NICHT…!
    It appears to me that 24 Hours Vancouver is not partial to real dialog and/or controversial POV angles.
    So, after more than 48 hours waiting for their moderator’s “approval”, I said to myself … screw’em!
    Here it is:
    …………………………………………………………………
    Thought of The Day

    “One cannot ‘Task Force’ empathy, friendliness, and love in thy neighbour. The Soviets have tried it… with ‘mixed’ results!”

    So, your city wants you to blind date your neighbour.
    I thought renters, condo & home owners, have strata, community centres, local cinemas (ouch) and bowling alleys (double ouch) for that.
    There are Boys & Girls Clubs in Vancouver. Big Brothers & Sisters. Foster Grandmas. Senior Ballroom Dancing Halls. Social Houses.
    FREE amenities would do more for togetherness than any City Fun Guide.
    Vision Vancouver must have this diabolical dream that one day they could have their own appointed comrade as hallway monitor, in charge of Mrs. Piffle’s lights in #404 as she must be in bed before 8.00 PM Eastern Saving The Planet Time.
    Matchmaking is not City Hall’s business what-so-ever.
    Kathryn – David (1-0)… again.

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.
    …………………………………………………………………

    Now, 24 Hours Vancouver children, was this that bad!? :-)

  • 52 waltyss // Oct 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Ah Glissy: That’s the difference between 24 hours and this blog. They get to edit out what doesn’t pass muster. Unfortunately, this blog doesn’t. 24 hours 1: Bula blog 0

  • 53 Glissando Remmy // Oct 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Ha, ha, ha…
    That, was one of my lightest, fat free, skimmed, all organic, free run, ethical grown, fair trade comment… in a loong time!
    If that didn’t pass the 24 Herr Censor’s litmus test, then I’m sorry, 24 Hours is not worth picking from the street box, not even for FREE.
    I’m also considering changing 24 Hours to Metro for my kitty’s litter box. I don’t want him to come down with… constipation.
    That’s why, IMHO:
    Frances Blog – 24 Hours (1 -0 ) :-)

  • 54 waltyss // Oct 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I’d agree with the skim milk, your little tirade certainly had no heft. And, well, the old Soviet, gulag, Stalinist city hall riff. I’d beat a kopek that they have seen that before….from you. I certainly have.
    Look at it this way. It was like a politically incorrect meal at the Naam. Not particularly filling; certainly not satisfying with mouse droppings in the corners. I hate to say, Glissy, but I think they didn’t publish it because, well, how can I say this kindly….it was same old, same old, and worst of all, not particularly amusing.
    But keep trying. I understand.

  • 55 Glissando Remmy // Oct 18, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Naah, Waltyss, you’re wrong.
    This was my first, the only, and the last comment sent to 24 Hours!
    Everything else…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDs_aRRdp2o&feature=related

  • 56 Kirk // Oct 18, 2012 at 11:42 am

    @MB 48.
    Yep, high demand plus limited supply forces prices up. My point was that it feels like in this city, only half the demand for housing is from people who actually want a place to live. The other half is from investors who continue to push the entire market skyward.

    Maybe a high tax on investment real estate capital gains or some other sort of disincentive on real estate speculation would bring prices down. But, like I said before, I can’t imagine those kinds of solutions would ever get approved.

    And, someone will say no one will buy, investment will pull out, and the market will fall. Uh, yeah, that’s the end goal — take the excessive profits out of real estate. People will still buy a place to live. People can still build/buy rental units, but most of the profit will be from rental income, not capital appreciation.

  • 57 Higgins // Oct 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Kirk #56,
    Vancouver Real Estate (VER) should be a registered trademark with the BCLC ! I thought any… Casino must register, am I right or wrong?
    waltyss #52,
    Hold your horses. I think in this instance 24 Hours suffered from the Halloween Syndrome, they knew the House of Horrors is fake but still they were too scared to go in, as they might have screamed like a girl!

    Though, I read Glissando’s comment #51, word for word, and I have to say it… it looks perfectly OK to me!

    “One cannot ‘Task Force’ empathy, friendliness, and love in thy neighbour. The Soviets have tried it… with ‘mixed’ results!”
    THAT’S A FACT! (Check the history of collectivization)

    “So, your city wants you to blind date your neighbour.”
    FACT! (can you spell ‘Arranged Marriage’?)

    “I thought renters, condo & home owners, have strata, community centres, local cinemas (ouch) and bowling alleys (double ouch) for that.”
    FACT! (weren’t we just discussing the bowling alley on Arbutus the other day, or the Hollywood cinema?)

    “There are Boys & Girls Clubs in Vancouver. Big Brothers & Sisters. Foster Grandmas. Senior Ballroom Dancing Halls. Social Houses.”
    FACT! (pick up a Phone Book and look)

    “FREE amenities would do more for togetherness than any City Fun Guide.”
    FACT! (but where to get the money for this when all the other pet projects need seed money)

    “Vision Vancouver must have this diabolical dream that one day they could have their own appointed comrade as hallway monitor, in charge of Mrs. Piffle’s lights in #404 as she must be in bed before 8.00 PM Eastern Saving The Planet Time.”
    FICTION! (though after so many BS stories surrounding Vision is hard not to take it as FACT!)

    “Matchmaking is not City Hall’s business what-so-ever.”
    FACT and TOTALLY AGREE!

    Glissy, you must be the exception to the rule as I think you are too good for 24 Hours Vancouver, and they know it! Thanks Frances for this Forum… and apologies for my previous ‘indiscretions’ ! :-)

  • 58 Terry M // Oct 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Glissando 51
    You serious?
    It must be a misunderstanding. The teen in charge of updating g the 24 hours site has gone on vacation!
    Higgy 57 makes a good case.
    Waltyss 54 same old, same old, like he likes it!Q
    Back to the topic, housing affordability is a mirage in Vancouver. Why on earth do we need a spotter to point at no target?

  • 59 Lewis N. Villegas // Oct 19, 2012 at 12:15 am

    @ Jan Pierce 41

    Yours is not the first concern I have seen articulated over the ‘overreach’ of planning on the heels of the housing report.

    All neighbourhood groups must stand on high alert over a CAC-money-grabbing posture that is coming through loud and clear from City Hall.

    Six stories on all arterials? Really? Haven’t these folks heard about the long standing urban tradition of proportioning the height of fronting buildings to the width of rights-of-way?

  • 60 MB // Oct 19, 2012 at 11:42 am

    @ Glissando 53,

    My cat prefers the Sun. She’s big and requires a broadsheet publication.

  • 61 MB // Oct 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

    @ Kirk 56,

    Well, we’re still in the tail end of one of the deepest recessions ever and real estate prices didn’t come down more than the mid-teens, then they bounced up again.

    Conclusion: The value of land in Vancouver remains solid.

    My semi-educated guess is that any new tax on real estate investment will probably dampen the fire, but not put it out. You’ve got to have a real big crowd of average beer swillers to put a fire out.

    And you’d have to distinguish between genuine investment and speculation, which would only slow the hands of those with means while they reach for the cheque-signing pen.

  • 62 gasp // Oct 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Kirk @56:

    CRA is perfectly capable of distinguishing between genuine investment and speculation in real estate and has been doing so for many years. Genuine investment gains are taxed as capital gains, whereas speculative gains are taxed as income gains.

    However, it takes some time for the CRA to audit these transactions and, when they do, the back tax, interest and penalties can often double the tax owing.

    I suspect there are many speckers and flippers as well as realtors in Vancouver who will be caught in the net when the CRA finally catches up with them.

    There are many vacant properties in Vancouver currently owned by immigrants who came to Canada under the investor or entrepreneur categories, who don’t understand our tax laws and see real estate as an easy way to make untaxed gains. Once a few of these “investors” find all their “profits” taxed away, the desire to engage in these activities should be extinguished.

    The federal government shut down these immigration programs in July 2012. Suddenly all the “hot asian money” has disappeared, prices are coming down (20% on the west side so far), and the real estate industry is freaking out – blaming the federal government’s mortgage amortization rules for the slowdown in the market.

    In addition, lending practises in Canada are changing due to new rules for the banks from the OSFI. This means developers, speckers, flippers and offshore investors will find it increasingly difficult to borrow money to engage in real estate speculation or investment.

  • 63 Michelle S of Mt Pleasant // Oct 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Great, insightful, knowledgable comments all around but folks I think I have the answer and it’s really quite simple!
    Organized, educated protest…..it stopped Geoff Meggs from being able to make a mess out of the NDP today.
    Forget the lip service….show up on their doorsteps and in the communities Vision Vancouver is on a warpath to destroy.
    Yes it may mean standing in the rain getting cold but to wipe that smirk off of Meggs face today made it more than worth it.
    Time for proactive action Vancouver…..save the conversation for after when we remove Vision from power and start to heal the wounds inflicted by their egomanical attack on our great city!

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