On Occupying Shaughnessy’s Empty Mansions and Making Life Harder for Artists

Storm at English Bay | Photo: Michelle Sproule

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.

Vancouver councillor calls for vacancy control as rents forecast to rise higher than inflation. It’s 2086 and a lone city councillor places a wreath on the gilded Developer’s Hall steps with a note that says “Tie rent to the unit.” Nobody remembers quite how this strange ritual started but every year it draws many tourists to the city.

The latest report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows Vancouver’s housing market is expected to remain tight, with an increase in new, more expensive rental units, and low vacancy rates.

Yeah, but those all those people currently overpaying on their rent are going to move into those more expensive units, right? That’s why we built 462 high-end rentals when we were supposed to build 20, right?

There’s a petition calling to protect affordability, fight poverty, and end renovictions. You should sign it and pass it on.

In case you forgot:

Rentals Could Bring Life to Ghostly Shaughnessy — if Residents Say Yes. “Empty mansions, deserted streets mark the uber-elite neighbourhood, and many homeowners like it that way”. Yup, you heard that correctly. The elitess prefer it when there are no actual humans living in their city. They prefer no children playing in their parks. We’ve eaten the lotus, folks, as I wrote in the very first Tea and Two Slices ever:

But why should we toil and worry? Houses are for old Vancouver, for the fishermen and the loggers. Now, “in the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined.” We’re a retirement villa, a movie set, and “on the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind”. Investing in nothing is the future of everything. We are a caricature of ourselves.

Yeah, I used to smoke a lot of weed. But seriously, if actually wanting your city to be a ghost town doesn’t lay bare some blatant internal contradictions I don’t know what does! And here’s the real kicker: the rents in the proposed project aren’t even affordable for most families.

Oh, it must be time for the monthly “Vancouver’s arts community calls for action as cultural spaces close” article: Vancouver’s arts community calls for action as cultural spaces close. We’ve been calling for action for so fucking long now that anything short of a full-on Chile-style shutdown of the neoliberal austerity complex isn’t going to cut it.

“Vancouver lost 152 visual-arts studios over the past decade, according to a report released Friday from the Eastside Culture Crawl Society (ECCS). Put another way, that’s nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space no longer in operation.” Where the fuck is Chip Wilson and his go-to lecture on making better products?

Update: As of writing this I’ve just learned that SBC has been forced to cancel all their shows.

The real solution is tucked away in this local business profile: Business booming at Dressew Supply after nearly six decades. “The secret to Dressew’s success, said McKie, is the fact they own their building. Vancouver’s real estate prices might have driven them out of downtown otherwise, he said.”

Another case for businesses owning their own property.: The Story of Burnaby’s ‘Totally Quirky’ Crystal Mall.

Surrey to vote on banning people from occupying RVs overnight on city streets. Instead of tackling the root causes of the housing crisis that lead one to sleep in their RVs in the first place, let’s just push them to a neighbouring city. Voila!

It’s almost like people living on the street are actual human beings: One year later, meet the people still living in Oppenheimer Park.

Crown land to be returned to Squamish Nation, including world-class rock climbing area. “I am astounded that climbers and climbing advocacy groups were not consulted,” wrote Marc Bourdon, the author of numerous climbing guide books in the area”. Oh right, because indigenous people were consulted when we took their land in the first place, right? And now the only way they get it back is if we bribe them to accept LNG. I mean, how self-righteous can you get?

Meanwhile: B.C. becomes first province to implement UN Indigenous rights declaration. Excellent first step.

Solidarity: Metro Vancouver bus drivers serve 72-hour strike notice. Oh boy, anyone else having flashbacks to 2001?

Thank You Yellow Cab for the unnecessary 35 minute scenic tour Saturday night to our hotel 7 blocks away. Look, we’re already getting Uber, lady. You didn’t have to go to all this trouble.

Bonus: Vancouver bar going to court to recover $40K in seized whisky. Cheers.

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