On Dangerous Beaches and Politicians Giving Away Our Public Lands to Public Enemies

Tea & Two Slices is a long-running local news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown, deeply aware of his privilege.

Property is theft: The story behind the government’s largest sale of ‘surplus’ land: Did taxpayers get a good deal?. They knew exactly what they were doing. This is all by design. This is what austerity looks like. This is crony capitalism. This is class war.

It’s examples like this that explain how Vancouver’s housing crisis got so bad. Public land in a prime location on a major transit corridor given away cheap to a company that just happened to contribute big money to both the B.C. Liberals and Vision Vancouver. The land is now triple the value that they agreed to pay, and they haven’t even paid up yet. Add to that the estimated $3 billion in real estate sales and this is tantamount to highway robbery. It should be recovered like other stolen property.

This part hurts the most:

The site’s previous owner — the provincial government through the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority — could have cashed in on some of this profit had it maintained some control over the land.

“The principal reason for forming a trust is to maintain control and ownership of public land assets in perpetuity,” he said. “Well-located public land is rare and valuable so the intent is to retain this value and leverage strategically.”

“The developers are the ones that are going to get the latent value of that land. … We (the public sector) could have participated in that.”

We should be doing the opposite: acquiring new public land, and then upzoning and building non-market housing. Cut out the middlemen and deliver actual affordability. It’s a no brainer.

Because, astoundingly, the development industry’s official position is that lowering housing costs doesn’t improve affordability:

Meanwhile: Playground for the very, very rich planned for James Island near Sidney. Oh good! I’ve always wanted to fulfill my dream of being a pirate. Anyone up for a flotilla of good times and, uh, land value capture?

The Vancouver Sun’s Op-ed Denying a Climate Crisis a Symbol of Wider Journalistic Malpractice. Yup, it was somewhat reaffirming to see a lot of pushback in the comments too. It just reeked of head-in-the-sand desperation. Much like today’s whataboutism filled OpEd by Gwyn Morgan, the retired founding CEO of Encana Corp.

We have oceans: What’s going to happen to Vancouver’s economy when it becomes increasingly shameful to fly? Wait, who the hell can afford to fly?

Vancouver Coastal Health issues no-swimming advisory at Kitsilano Beach. Yeah, this probably has nothing to do with rich yacht owners dumping their sewage offshore despite the fact the City offers free pump outs…

Vancouver calls B.S. on TransLink being named ‘best public transit system in North America’. This really only serves to underscore the overall poor quality of North American transit systems. Vancouverites are an entitled bunch indeed, but the truth is our transit could be much better. Maybe if it were run less like a business interested in “cost recovery” and more like a service interested in, you know, serving people…

Related: The Case for Leaving Fare Beaters Alone and Making Public Transit Free.

Meanwhile: Fraser Valley Regional District advocates for more highway lanes, not rail line. “Adding highway lanes to deal with traffic congestion is like loosening your belt to cure obesity.” – Lewis Mumford, 1955.

I will never understand the Valley’s hate for rail. It literally wouldn’t have existed without it: Divided Metro Vancouver mayors approve new SkyTrain from King George Station to Fleetwood.

Local man makes good: West Vancouver man arrested following auto-vandalism spree in downtown Seattle.

There are 2 comments

  1. As for kits beach swimming ban, it’s not the boaters that are causing this. It’s the fact that the DTES has 4 public washrooms for 500+ homeless people in a 5-block area and they are using the alleys as toilets, which gets flushed straight into the ocean via storm drains when the street sweepers come through and try to spray the poop away. Don’t blame this on the yachts. The city chooses not to treat this waste.

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