Mayor Robertson – “People come here with money and they want to be part of this. That creates challenges for my kids and the next generation to live here. It’s not affordable to live here now.”

“There are many hopeful environmental stories in the city of Vancouver. In the past 15 years, residents’ use of cars and carbon emissions have both gone down dramatically, by roughly one per cent every year – even while the population has expanded to 570,000 people and the economy continues to grow. This is a very unusual trend in the world’s cities now. A city that is committed, and that sets aside the perceived inevitability of calamity, can be a stronger community. We can change our ways of getting around and looking after each other. I think there’s a lot of hope in that for generations to come.
The converse is that Vancouver becomes a very desirable city. People come here from all over the world for the beauty and for the sense of community… That creates challenges for my kids and the next generation to live here. It’s not affordable to live here now. People come here with money and they want to be part of this. And that makes it difficult. So it’s creating other challenges for us.”

mayor Gregor Robertson, Vancouver Sun, 23 Aug 2011, from a conversation with David Suzuki, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Jim Hoggan

The mayor is deducing that Vancouver RE prices are high because his “green” policies are perceived as successful. We believe that he is sincere in his logic, but also that he is simply wrong. Housing prices have ballooned to “unaffordable” levels in Vancouver because we are in a very large debt-driven speculative mania, not because we have any particular desirability as an environmentally friendly city.
Many of the apparent problems of unaffordable housing will be ‘solved’ by a simple market crash. Of course there will be all sorts of bad effects for the community from such a crash, but that is now unavoidable. You may say that such an outlook is an example of a “perceived inevitability of calamity”, but this outlook is not pessimistic, it is simply realistic. Ask any student of speculative manias. It’s already woven into the fabric of the market; it’s a completely natural consequence of the speculative mania. – vreaa

24 responses to “Mayor Robertson – “People come here with money and they want to be part of this. That creates challenges for my kids and the next generation to live here. It’s not affordable to live here now.”

  1. this is the best post in a while! (not that i don’t enjoy all the posts)

    but the comments forthcoming will be hysterical, i’m sure

    translated, i believe we can also chuck this one in the ‘it’s different here’ bin.

  2. I used to think Sam Sullivan was a complete idiotic moron, Gregor takes the cake…. the people who placed this knuckle head into office need to have a MRI scan to check for gray matter.

    fast forward 2 years… the bubble has been exposed, and you can’t give away a house, and no-one wants to live here anymore… sure you can see the mountains, and the water, and the remnants of empty dreams of the underwater class… rent my basement please…. rent my cement box please… look at the bright side you can bike lane all over Vancouver downtown because 30% of the vibrant city is now in the dulldrums or vacant.

    • you should see the ‘entertainment district’ at night these days, it’s like something out of A Clockwork Orange

      • I haven’t ventured downtown in over 2 years now… last time there i had to go to St. Paul’s for a test… in the matter of 2 blocks I was hit up 5 times for money or cigarettes. I could only imagine the “entertainment district” is a side show all in itself.

      • I have no fcuking idea what that means.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        We have an entertainment district??

  3. For a great many people LIVING in Vancouver is a bargain. More after these short messages.

    Mr. Robertson, once you’re on the wrong train, every stop is the wrong one.

  4. “Housing prices have ballooned to “unaffordable” levels in Vancouver because we are in a very large debt-driven speculative mania, not because we have any particular desirability as an environmentally friendly city”.

    wrong again vreaa. You’ll see

  5. “that sets aside the perceived inevitability of calamity”

    I read that and thought megathrust earthquake!!! The preparedness level here is so astonishingly bad. I was trying to find out where my evacuation centre would be and all i could pull up was city council minutes from 1999 talking about the need for seismic upgrading and the usual pages on “stop, drop, cover.” It shouldn’t be difficult to find out where your neighbourhood emerg evacuation centre is.
    Vancouver and its residents have surely decided to not think about the inevitability of calamity here on many fronts.

    • way out of context but why not

    • A word to the wise… TCG…

      If something like that ever does happen – you’ll be ‘on yer own’, gal.

      This… pretty much sums it up.

    • What evacuation centre? You want to get out of here? You think you are allowed to leave and potentially your big ass mortgage too? No, it’s better if you died instead, banks can at least collect your life insurance proceeds.

      But seriously, after a big earthquake, you are expected to be on your own for 3 days with no expectation for help. Actually it might be even worse than that since most emergency personnels don’t live in Vancouver or near where they work, so the chances of them actually able to get to where they are needed after a big one is low. Add in the fact that a lot of our hospitals and infrastructure aren’t exactly build to withstand a 9+ earthquake, it makes everything even worse. How about the army coming in and help since they probably have the best experiences setting up field hospitals and such? Again I’m not sure we can count on that since our armed forces are pretty tiny and starved of actual working people (we have plenty of paperpushers in Ottawa though!).

      So yeah, given that kind of outlooks, the enormous expenses required to be properly prepared and bring everything up to code, it’s no wonder most people prefer to focus on the postivies! Looks the mountain, the ocean, the beach, ski and golf in the same day! Those are a lot more fun to think about and prepare than an actual earthquake. Same reason why a lot of people will spend research the latest fahsion, electronics, iPad apps, etc rather than actually like sit down and do a budget and retirement planning. It’s just unpleasant to face those harsh realities.

    • In case of a major earthquake I don’t see how help can make it to Vancouver / LML / Victoria in anything less than a week, we are so far away from the rest of Canada. Even with YVR open think of the bridges you have to cross to get Vancouver from the Fraser valley, and that is presuming that land slides / rock slides don’t take out the highway connecting us to Calgary and the rest of Canada.

      Any major quake here would also impact the USA so I would not count on the USA helping us they will be busy helping themselves, of course Hurricane Katrina showed the world how good the USA is at dealing with major natural disasters.

      I really wish the city and BC government had a better plan for major quake.

      • Don’t worry, I’m sure the army and police will be here quickly to respond with shoot to kill orders for anyone daring to loot produce/food/water from local supermarkets rather than be patient and slow down their metabolism so they can get by without eat/drinking for like a wekk.

  6. I am a long time reader, first time poster (insert radio call-in show joke here), and generally a big believer in the sentiment and reasoning of VREAA. I am breaking my long standing silence in this forum for a couple of reasons.

    a) I almost lost my lunch while hearing the pontificating comments made by our fearless leader Gregor “Pinko” Robinson

    b) felt the unrelenting urge to tell Rusty that he is a moron.

    The fact that Gregor is attempting to derive some sort of policy victory while simultaneously pandering to us masses with his anecdotal “woe was me” tripe makes me wretch. Leave it to a politician to claim a false victory for circumstances that are both damaging to the community they represent, and completely unrelated to any failed initiative they have tried to implement.

    Oh, and Rusty, you’re a moron.


  7. granite countertop

    Yeah, I saw this.
    The heart of the conversation was about dealing with despair.

    Which is ironic, because I deal with the despair of the local real estate economy by reading VREAA etc.

  8. I know the Mayor wasn’t talking about earthquake calamity but it was what popped into my mind reading that statement (and I agree nomnomnom, what a self-serving bunch of rubbish statement)! Anyway hubby and I have been working on a personal disaster plan, recognizing (provided we survive) we’ll be on our own far longer than 3 days but thought knowing where the emerg centre is for our hood would be helpful if we are not together when disaster strikes or have to evacuate – WTF do we go? The complete lack of info about such things on the net just really pissed me off. Apologies vreaa for veering the discussion off course a bit here…

    • That’s fine.
      Earthquake prep is an important topic, and we agree that the local plan appears to be ‘cross your fingers’.

      At the same time, we wouldn’t want people to confuse the risk of a Vancouver earthquake in our lifetimes and the risk of Vancouver RE market collapse. The latter approximates certainty; the former, less so.

  9. Ha, Gregor claiming his green policy is the reason people want to live here strangely reminds me of bush declaring mission accomplished in Iraq…I don’t know why though.

  10. On a different note, what a great day today to be out on my boat…that I can afford because I rent. I did chuckle at the sign warning people to use caution that raw sewage flows into false creek during and after heavy rains; green city my a$$, our environmental record is as brown as the water, Gregor’s initiatives are not much more than window dressing just like the free parking green meters for motorbikes (I have one of those too, 650cc to propel one person around doesn’t sound super green to me either).

  11. West Coast Woman

    Gregor’s green policies are destroying the City, not making it better. In Vision’s crazy logic, you build expensive high density housing in an environmentally sensitive area, because expensive “green” policies will save the environmentally sensitive area that you’ve just destroyed.

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