Low Income Households on the Rise in Metro Vancouver

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social-housing-shortage_20150526_aiken-laoAiken Lao image

In a review of just released Statistics Canada data, Andy Yan, director of  the City Program at Simon Fraser University made a surprising discovery~Vancouver is becoming a city of the very rich and the disenfranchised poor. As reported by Joanne Lee-Young in the Vancouver Sun, “Vancouver outstripped the 10 most-populous “census metropolitan areas” in Canada for having the highest percentage (16.5) of residents living in low-incomes households.  Looking at median incomes Andy Yan ascertained the threshold for a two person household after tax as being an income below $31,301. In Vancouver 16.5 per cent of  households are low-income. “In comparison, Toronto had the second-highest percentage of residents living in low-income households (15.6 per cent), followed by Montreal (15.3), Winnipeg (15%) and Hamilton (13%).”

While some of the statistics may be due to underreporting of wealth from residents avoiding tax implications, Andy Yan points out…

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Burrard Bridge 1934~When Motordom Reigned Supreme

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Price Tags is celebrating all things related to the Burrard Bridge and its 21st century transformation. And here is a blast from the past. This gem posted by Vanologue is on  YouTube showing the amateur film made by Vancouverite Sid Groberman  in 1934 of the drive across the Burrard Bridge and a trip to English Bay. You will notice that people are walking across the bridge on both sides, and that there appears to be two lanes of traffic in each direction. And you can park on the bridge to take photos.

Both the downtown and Kitsilano sides of the bridge sport three storey houses, and there is a billboard on the Kitsilano side. The Burrard Bridge was opened on July 1 1932 by then Mayor Louis Taylor. The three million dollar bridge was designed by Sharp and Thompson both graduates of the Architectural Association in London. These two architects…

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Musqueam First Nation Builds “Lelem”

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As reported in the Vancouver Courier the Musqueam First Nation is going ahead with the development of 21 acres of  land they own close to the University of British Columbia. This comprehensive community will house 2,500 residents within four 18 storey highrises, townhouses and mid-rise buildings and will be called “Lelem”~”home” in the Musqueam language.  Properties will be lease-hold with 99 year-long leases.A community centre, child care centre, grocery stores, restaurants, public areas and a park will be designed within this new community. The property is bounded by University Boulevard, Acadia Road, Toronto Road and Ortona Avenue and was given to the Musqueam First Nation in 2008 as part of a reconciliation, settlement and benefits agreement with the Province of British Columbia.

The Musqueam First Nation chose a developer for the first phase that has had a lot of experience in Vancouver, Polygon. Polygon is locally owned and operated for…

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Speed Humps on Richmond’s “Misery Mile” Despite Local Opposition

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As reported by the Richmond News, a nasty stretch of road made infamous by four road deaths from 2013 to 2016 is getting  20 cushion type speed humps installed. This section of Richmond’s River Road between No. 7 Road and the Westminster Highway has been called the “Misery Mile” for its tragic toll.

But here’s the surprise~the majority of responding residents in the area told the City of Richmond that they did not want speed hump installation, preferring instead for speed enforcement to be conducted to enforce 50 km/h. Why? As the Richmond News observes “a survey of local residents in the summer, of the 47 who responded, 60 per cent opposed bringing in the speed humps, due to concerns about noise, wear and tear to their vehicles, safety and effectiveness.” 

Imagine~residents were more concerned about the impacts on their vehicles of speed humps instead of the safety and…

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Twinning the Lions Gate Bridge

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lions-gate-bridge-nvma-photoEve Lazarus photo

In one of those utterly cool moments The Richmond News reports that the historian of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives received a call that there was something that might be of interest in the Burnaby Hospice Thrift Store on Kingsway. That store had received a scale model of the Lions Gate Bridge which was six feet long. The model which was about 24 years old was for sale in the 200 dollar range, and had a unique feature~it was a twinned model of the bridge. 

And it also had the initials of a great Canadian architect~Moshe Safdie. While the original bridge was opened in 1938, the 1990’s had brought discussions about how to repair the bridge. There was also discussion of a complete bridge replacement.  It was the Squamish nation on lands on the north side of the bridge who advocated the twinning of the bridge…

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Housing:Vancouver a “Honey Pot” for Global Investors Says Local Experts

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It’s not every day that three well-respected urbanists meet to discuss what is happening in the Vancouver housing market, but that is exactly what happened at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention which is currently being held in Vancouver. As reported in the Vancouver Sun by Matt Robinson , University of British Columbia’s David Ley, Simon Fraser University’s Andy Lam and Josh Gordon from Simon Fraser University’s public policy program laid it out succinctly and painfully.

Andy Yan  illustrated that the  so-called ‘million dollar and more‘ detached houses are concentrated around the City of Vancouver. However if transportation costs are factored in as  paid by households over a 25 year period to commute to work, those ‘million dollar’ housing units are located right across the lower mainland. Noting that you can’t use sprawl to provide housing affordability, Andy pointed out the disparity between incomes and housing values…

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Walking, the Economy, and Northeast False Creek

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The Walk21 Conference Series held its 17th conference last week.  Canada is the only country that has hosted the conference three times~it was in Toronto ten years ago, Vancouver in 2011, and this year in Calgary. It is a unique conference series bringing together health advocates, planners, architects and interested community groups vested in creating communities where walking comfortably and conveniently is seen as a way forward to creating livable cities. The 2018 conference will be in Bogota hosted by Mayor Enrique Penalosa, brother of “8 to 80” bicycle advocate Gil Penalosa.

I first heard Dr. William Bird OBE (order of the British Empire)  speak at a Walk21 Conference  about the synapse between public and personal health, city design, and the need to create active walkable cities through better urban design. Hearing him speak about the need to create “blue gyms” where people can walk for exercise, sociability and neighbourliness…

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