This past year a local webzine publisher with direct ties to Christy Clark’s chief fundraiser chided me for daring to compare Trump to Her Majesty in the course of a Facebook thread. And although I was merely quoting that hard left publication The Financial Post http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/terence-corcoran-christy-clark-channels-trump-with-her-misleading-misguided-anti-foreigner-housing-tax, that awesome online nose tweak got me to thinking whether it really was fair to mention Clark and Trump in the same sentence. Well yes. Yes it is. At least in terms of duplicity, evasion, attitudes towards ethics in government, democracy and…real estate. Other than that, thankfully, not so much.
But I want you to take in the image here. This was the decorative hoarding outside the construction site of Trump Tower on Georgia Street in Vancouver in 2015. I initially thought it might be an installation by a Vancouver photo conceptualist prankster like Rodney Graham. It was funny…at first. Then I made the Trump connection and the gaudy tableaux before me suddenly turned dark, sickening. It represents Orange Mussolini’s entire value system plunked down in our little corner of rain forest: obscenely rich arrogant white people living the highlife in a fresh, natural environment hitherto unvanquished by the forces of the kind of unfettered turbo capitalism so favoured by the Short Fingered Vulgarian. It should cause locals to upchuck.
If you’ll look around town at the luxury townhomes and condos being built in place of the rows of 1950s bungalows along Oak Street and elsewhere you’ll see some fairly nice developments that, in theory, add much needed density to the city’s housing stock. But the problem is that it’s all “high end”, “luxury”, “exclusive”, “boutique”. And it’s everywhere…and out of reach of the majority. It is all part of a conscious campaign of division. The ad campaigns, the graphics and the language being used to promote these developments are only a shade under the image above. And the BC Liberals, more than anybody, have been allowing the city’s homes and real estate to be devoured by global capital, speculators, the 1% without any concern. In fact, until they realized the election was coming up, they openly sneered at those who dared complain. At the end of the day, this image very much does reflect the values and aspirations of many among us. Sad.
SPANKwest Systems has teamed up with Bickie Array (Personal Real Estate Corporation) to offer you this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to OWN in the last affordable nook in the up and coming Serenity Slopes neighbourhood (formerly known as Edgemont Village… and probably something else before that in some language with a bunch of weird characters in it) in North Vancouver.
Freshly updated to offer all mod cons, this 1950s-era paper shack retains hertitage charm galore. Who needs newspapers anymore? No one. But that’s not to say you can’t bask in the glory days of newsprint in this 102 sq. ft. dream condo! Featuring a 4 sq. ft. galley- style kitchen with 1 sq ft. of marble countertop, this gem also comes with ink-stained canvas sack-lined walls that just ooze memories of sweaty teenagers and abusive shack bosses. A steal at just a shade under 1 million!
Let’s face it. Vancouver is over in terms of affordability…and so is North Van (and pretty much everywhere else) until the wheels finally come off this careening, psychotic greed wagon. So get in now, on the ground floor. It’s your last chance. And at the very least, you can Instagram the daylights out of it and show your friends how cool it is to be part of the “Tiny Homes” movement! It’s not easy being green!
Our feature article in the Winter, 2010 issue of Vancouver Review was a sprawling piece by architecture critic Trevor Boddy that rounded heavily on the sad architectural legacy the 2010 Winter Games would leave us with. One notable exception was the Richmond Oval and its superb engineering achievements as well as its ongoing usefulness to the community. We can’t argue with that, though we’d have preferred they kept the actual oval ice track for public skates. Less appealing are the dominant and numerous security cameras in front of the venue. These still rankle. But inside now, the re-branded ROX “Richmond Oval eXperience” offers an additional bonus; a very enjoyable museum display of (mostly winter) Olympic memorabilia and interactive kiosks. You can also do a simulated bobsled run and, less convincingly, do a virtual ski jump! Oh, and the sandwiches at the café are good!
But what of all that building going on nearby? Well, as with all things Vancouver, it was always about real estate. Five years on from the games and it’s fair to say that a condo building orgy was always on the cards for the area. If you want to see the future, as shaped by our Olympic Legacy (TM), here is a photo series documenting the construction hoardings opposite the Richmond Oval as of April, 2016. Very white, very rich, very louche. “Share the Fantasy” …