Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Tale of two Cities

I took a walk through the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver last July.  The usual panhandlers, spaced about a block away had turned into 3 to 4 blocks of people just sitting in or passed out drunk, in front of stores and bars on the sidewalk. Not a happy little street fest.

I turned around a corner and there was a guy shooting up.  I guess Insite doesn't work for him.  It allows him to break into cars, steal his drug money, illegally buy his drugs and shoot it up in government safety so he doesn't kill himself.  But he can't be bothered.

I know you're thinking, are you getting like the VOICES collective's webpage who will just forward an article on a 59 story tower going up in Burnaby and say "THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING IN NORTH VANCOUVER!!" using their obvious fear mongering for election purposes, referring to a 6 story building in Lower Lonsdale. No, it is a tale of two cities which how we in North Van deal with the issue far better than Vancouver or the taking the path that some Councillors and Candidates want us to take.

In Vancouver, their Mayor wants create a big re-development area of over a billion dollars with half coming from the Federal and Provincial governments.  Foolish dreams of more government money to the likes of Insite and the corrupt Portland Hotel Society and their poverty industry.

In its core is the quest for "affordable housing", Mayor Robertson's Vision is that a large segment of the Downtown Eastside won't see a serious revitalization.  He will continue, speed up if he can the BC Housing / Provincial Government programs to bring the crowd of Single Occupancy $375 welfare hotels to minimal standards.   As we've seen from the example of the Pidgin Restaurant which was protested by poverty activists as they saw "an west that was invading the east". By increasing and improving supply at the really low end of housing but really it is just sprucing up the ghetto met with resistance by those who leech from the massive government funds that flows to the poverty industry.  Those trips to Disneyland aren't cheap.

Subsidized housing for the needy and alcohol / drug plagued persons can be seen as laudable but why does it have to be on some of the most valuable land in BC?  Surely, we can build far more housing further north where the land is cheaper?

In North Vancouver, we pretty much have taken the opposite approach and stopped Lower Lonsdales' descent to being a extension of the Downtown Eastside.  While the mass change in liquor laws have pushed out the old beer halls / seedy hotels in favour of the neighborhood pub, Mayor Mussatto's Vision was to pump up the supply by packing in more people into less land.  He failed as the demand curve rose just as much as the supply curve increased but at he stopped it from turning into a slum.

It's important that we enhance the property value of those who invest in residential property and condos.  People have invested their life and mortgaged the rest of their life to buy their homes.  It is devastating when property values fall. 

At least we in are in the process of revitalizing Lower Lonsdale with 3 to 6 story mixed use buildings, creating a new storefront start of a downtown with the coming jewel of the crown, the new  Shipyard Plaza.  Opposed by a few voices, "nattering nabobs of negativity" as Jean Chretien used to call them.

The Voices Collective would like things to stay the same as it decays into a ghetto that rivals the Downtown Eastside chasing the fantasy of Affordable Housing in North Vancouver in our little 5 square miles.

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