Saturday, August 25, 2007

Living in Vancouver has been very challenging this year due to several factors leading to a perfect storm of frustration.

The Strike
City workers have been on strike for over a month now resulting in community centers and pools being closed, garbage collection being halted and public venues for shows being shut down. Can't go swimming, can't go to the gym, the beaches are littered with trash and Stanley Park's sea wall is not getting fixed after last winter's windstorms so no biking or hiking around the park until later this year instead of this summer as promised. It's even tougher for the poor because food banks have not been able to give out food at community centers. People are going hungry here because CUPE workers and that fuckwit Mayor Sam Sullivan can't come to a bloody agreement.

The Olympics
The city has been turned upside down over this damn thing. Cambie Street, one of the main arterials into the downtown core has been a big hole for months so they can put in a RAV line to the airport that was pushed through council despite most people in this city not wanting it. Even worse, after it was forced in the line was changed from an unobtrusive tunnelling project to a much cheaper "cut and cover" operation which has literally destroyed a dozen small businesses down a once distinctive neighbourhood as the road work has made everything inaccessible to traffic and pedestrians. Fucking shameful.

Other road projects around the city have also strangled traffic and plowed through pristine woodland. Now they're planning to pave into Burns Bog for a new highway project.

But what really takes the cake is how everyone thinks that because we're having a two week party in 2010 every inch of real estate is suddenly worth three or four times than it actually is. Houses that went for three or four hundred grand five years ago are now being priced at over a million. Greed has run rampant as homeowners have started gutting, even mowing down beautiful single family homes, and building mulitple condos, basements suites are going for five hundred thousand. Condos in town, little boxes with little privacy, some as small as four hundred square feet are starting at three hundred grand. And that's not to exclude the skyrocketing rents where you can't find a crappy bachelor under eight hundred a month. It's insane. Yet another legacy of Mayor Sam's "eco-density" agenda to cram more people into the city.

And oh yeah, he's now saying these new condo developments won't be required to provide parking for residents in some lame ass attempt to get people out of their cars as if this were London or Paris (with a little help from hyperinflated meter and lot rates of course). He seems to forget that you need a car to get anywhere in the GVRD because Translink hasn't clue one how to provide for the people. The Main street bus used to go to the downtown core. We took that bus all the time until some jackass decided to end the line in the middle of nowhere in Chinatown. Now we don't take that bus anymore. There aren't enough cabs in this town because the city won't allow for more licences, how the heck do they plan to move hundreds of thousands of people during the Olympics?

I'm cranky today. There's more but I need some air.


Chris said...

Hi Pia,
What made you decide to live in Vancouver?

Pia Guerra said...

My old apartment in New West burned down in 2000 and there was a vacancy in the building next door to my then boyfriend's apartment downtown. I just grew to love the neighbourhood, lots of people, you don't need a car because everything is within walking distance, the views are beautiful, amazing food, great stores and it's not a depressing hole like the suburbs. Aside from all the current crap going on I love it here and hope one day we can live in a house here.

christophe said...

Thanks. You are American, right? when did you choose Canad over the US, and why? If you don't mind my asking :)

pia guerra said...

I lived in the states until I was five before we went to live with family in Finland in order to emmigrate to Canada. It may have had to do with something about not liking the states so much, or just moving closer to my dad's parents in Toronto.

Randy said...

Hey Pia, just catching up on some of our posts...kind of related to the US/Canada question: how has the dollar affected you since it's been on par with the American dollar?

It's great for bragging rights, but it pretty much seems that the only people who benefit from this are shoppers who head south, but I'd imagine it's particularly hard on people living here earning an American paycheque