What’s the point of Vancouver?
That’s the title of a new article in McLean’s by senior writer Chris Sorensen. In it, he writes about a recently updated long-range planning document by Port Metro Vancouver which raises new concerns about what it calls a “lifestyle bubble” in the City of Vancouver.
Sorensen joined the Jon McComb Show today to talk about his investigation.
“One of the things it was concerned about was this idea of a “lifestyle bubble’ forming. Which basically means that the city becomes mostly about its residents and their lifestyles and the services they require. and there isn’t as much room left for business, ie the Port Authority and all the various companies it supports.”
While he says that Vancouver is not the only city that’s trying to strike a balance, Sorensen points out that it’s position in Canada is unique.
“This is a question of Vancouver being at a bit of a crossroads and trying to decide what kind of a city it wants to be in the future. Does it want to be primarily a playground for the wealthy and the sort of supporting industries that go along with that; real estate and you know other things? Or does it want to have a more dynamic economy that has big industry and high paying jobs?”
“…I think it’s interesting when you have industry standing up and saying ‘we’re not sure if we will necessarily fit in the picture 20 or 30 years from now’.”
According to Sorensen, the port authority’s CEO Robin Sylvester predicts there’s less than than a ten year supply of industrial land left, and the main concern is that big companies will not be able to build or expand their distributions centres on land adjacent to the ports.
“It’s all necessary for the port to function and be efficient, but as the housing issue becomes more and more of a crisis, you see municipalities taking this formerly industrial land and converting it to residential use, and it has a much higher value often.”
Sorensen says the difficulty is that politicians defending the preservation of industrial land doesn’t have the same appeal as talking about revitalizing neighbourhoods and turning them into livable communities with condos.
“It’s hard to see how people will necessarily get behind that.”