Friday, August 31, 2012
W2 TV produced this video around the time of Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics. In it, the question of affordable housing is raised ("affordability" is now the number one issue facing Vancouver). The video also cites Bob Rennie's mention of Vancouver as a "resort town," as if that were a good thing.
As with most resort towns, a nearby town is required to supply the resort its workforce. This was true of Pemberton when Whistler emerged as a destination sky hill back in the 1970s. Same with the town of Wells in relation to the tourist town of Barkerville, home of BC's first gold rush.
Prior to the Olympics, a previous Vancouver extravaganza was Expo '86, a provincial (Social Credit) government mega project whose theme was transportation. To highlight this we were "given" Skytrain.
Though a monument to transportation, Skytrain was devised to bring cheap labour into Vancouver from the Fraser Valley (that alone is why transit fares are not enforced). Prior to that, those who worked in Vancouver as theatre ushers and hotel staff could afford to contribute to the city both as residents and as workers, whereas now these people visit the city as tourists do -- only to work in it, not to live in it.
Last year's hockey riot is related to this dislocation, where those who work and play in Vancouver, but cannot afford to live there, acted out. And who can blame them? These are people who have no stake in this city, who have come to resent it as either a job site or a place so expensive they are made to feel like they are being robbed of their pay cheques.
If Vancouver continues down this path, worse things will happen. If not more riots, then more cops patrolling its streets -- a provocation all its own.