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Media FINALLY Awakening to Destruction of Granville Street Under Vision

February 26th, 2017 · 78 Comments

Vancouver’s Granville Street …. the main north south shopping artery downtown … is now almost completely transformed from Robson to the Granville Bridge  … as a slum.

A disgrace and a growing danger to pedestrians and the few remaining shoppers who dare to brave the street … even during the day.

Vision-controlled city council has not only FAILED to address the deterioration of the area …  I would submit they have CONTRIBUTED to it by its policies.

Parts of Granville are becoming  more like Hastings/Main every day … the decay has been growing like an untreated cancer over the past two years as City Hall has fiddled with logos, bike lanes and social and political nonsense.

Readers may recall I wrote about this last May, after a shocking and disturbing visit to the street to shop …where, even around mid-day, I did not feel safe or that I would ever want to return :  http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/granville-street-turning-into-another-downtown-eastside/.

Well, apparently I was not alone!

On Global’s Newshour Friday, my old colleague Aaron  McArthur reported that 33 stores are now VACANT on Granville Street, creating not only an eyesore but a domino effect as more and more retailers abandon the strip.

“There’s been a concern by patrons to our store,” said one retailer, “about security just on the street …having to walk a half a block and coming up against somebody just on the street that might be high.”

Ironically Hastings/Main these days may even be safer: the Global camera person …just filming Granville …was aggressively accosted and assaulted.

As McArthur added,  Vision-controlled City Hall’s “arduous city permit process”  is holding up those who want to redevelop and revitalize the area and the ease with which absentee property owners interested only in land values can let the buildings decay with impunity .

You can watch the Global piece here: http://globalnews.ca/bc/videos/?video-search=granville+street.

Looks to me like a totally uncaring or ineffective or even incompetent City Council and administration has been fiddling around with logos, bike lanes, bureaucratic overkill, social and political issues while the once-attractive prime downtown shopping area has literally decayed around us.

As Global and other media have now reported Tom Lee Music … after 30 years on Granville’s 900-block … are moving … not off the street entirely, but closer to Georgia, away from the worst area., and where pedestrian traffic is TEN TIMES THAT of their current location.

That traffic differential says a lot!

What McArthur did not get to …but I did in my earlier blog … is how Vision Council added to the deterioration by substantially HIKING the number of social housing units and social services in that area … including not only the old Bosman Motel but even approving modular housing units in their parkade.  All within blocks of a new street youth services centre on Burrard, a youth health services centre right on Granville,  and a drop in centre on Helmcken.

The city no doubt needs these kinds of facilities, but any social planner and/or urban planner should have been able to foresee that adding so many facilities in a relatively small area … on either side of the main downtown shopping artery … would have negative consequences.

It’s all quite an ugly vision on Granville Street now  …   years in the making … and that City Hall couldn’t see coming,  lacked the interest in preventing it … and even contributed to it through its decisions and incompetence.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 78 CommentsTags: British Columbia · Media

BC Budget Bares Liberal Election Blueprint

February 22nd, 2017 · 61 Comments

 

Follow the money.  And you will be able to clearly see exactly WHO the Liberals are targeting as the key to retaining power in the May 9 provincial election.

The new Budget unveiled Tuesday pretty didn’t do very much for the poor and those on social assistance … because the government KNOWS those people will largely vote NDP.

Maybe that’s why those on social assistance will AGAIN get NO increase … for the TENTH year now …no doubt seen a lost cause POLITICALLY for the Liberals.

Seem heartless?  To prove that is NOT the case, the Liberals will hand those on disability another $50 a month and the government will also increase child care spaces and mental health counselling … really not much for those with the greatest needs.

However, the Finance Minister also handed out few personal goodies directly to those earning above $120,000 a year  … I’d bet because the Liberals figure those voters are already a safe bet.

BUT to soothe many of them, the government promised to phase out the 7% provincial sales tax on electricity paid by businesses and trim the small business tax rate to 2 % from 2.5%.

And then there’s the REAL target of the Liberal Budget:  the BIG block of middle income earners … about two million voters who are working, who support themselves and their families, who pay high rents or hold mortgages … and who the Liberals are gambling will show their appreciation for  TAX relief.

So out came the bucks, aimed primarily at buying middle class voters … with their own money.

NOT in the form of reduced Income Taxes … but in Medical Services Plan premiums: cutting the health tax paid by middle income British Columbians by 50 per cent …after raising them almost the same amount over the past few years.

Never mind that the “reductions” won’t start until 2018; forget the fact that BC will remain the ONLY province in Canada to tax health coverage this way; ignore the truth that the entire collection model is still extremely unfair … huge differences between groups instead of a common sliding scale of  ”premium” rates; and, set aside the tiny fact that the government says it will finally join other provinces and get rid of the premium system only at some time “in the future”.

Try taking all that to the bank and apply for a loan and see how far you get!

But the Liberals believe those who will be happy to get some of their own money back … or at least not as much collected … will take their votes to the polls and literally BUY IN.

After all, a single taxpayer’s MSP tax would drop $450 and family’s MSP tax could drop as much as $900.

The Liberals are hoping MOST won’t turn that down?  And WILL vote for them to get it.

Even if they realize no other Canadians pay for health care this way or how much the Liberals have raised the tax in recent years …  way, way beyond inflation or health care spending …. before promising now to lower it again, literally trying to buy people’s votes with their own money.

Unfortunately, history has shown vote buying by handing out goodies after years of squeezing the voters DOES work.

Even when voters know that what government gives with one hand before an election will be taken back in one form or another  … plus even more … not long after the government is sworn in.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 61 CommentsTags: British Columbia