Predictions: (Or ramblings of an old guy!) LOL
The City of Victoria will become Niagara on the Lake West.
Look up Si Wai Lai
- owned and operated as a tourist trap. When you see the resurgence of Christmas Stores and more British Pubs - think Bermuda without the shorts! And NOTL without ready access to civilization. (There is an entire thesis to be developed about living somewhere you cannot escape easily. I call it Ferry-Madness!)
Up-Island will crumble and implode - first in real estate because to afford million dollar shitty, small houses an hour away from anything - you need transportation. And if we don't address rapid transit or The HAT! - we will be picked off one-by-one by the pick-up truck drivers on this island! (BC aaprox 1000 crashes a day - I swear most are here!) And you need a great income. And this is where the one-time non-affluent residents of Victoria moved to. Their plight did not get any better and will get worse as pseudo gentrification creeps northward. The farther north the farther away from jobs that pay above minimum wage ... if? All the socialist rhetoric be damned - capitalism is alive and well on the Island and the owners do not want to pay their staff.
We are an Island. And as an Island, it would be a great idea to investigate the other Islands that have flourished. All of them I believe are doing it with Tourism. What will happen due to increased reliance on tourism is that more and more light industries/retail/business will move out of Victoria proper and the NOTL-takeover phenom will happen - only as opposed to QEW traffic we get Cruise ship traffic. (Yeah, I know we say we are environmentally aware! But just wait til the Greenpeace type fanatics start descending on our city complaining of the footprint left by the behemoth ships.) and any and all businesses that are not 100% devoted to the million passengers a year (summer season) will leave. No one visiting for a day wants furniture, renovations, appliances or other non-shiny-sparkly carriable items. The issue now is can the tourist traps stay afloat in the offseason. The answer is generally ... no. No, they can't.
And lastly, the biggest fear I have is someone will discover just how stupid and naive we really are. That person/group will descend on the Yokels here just like the failed NHLer descended on Langford and Bear Mountain but in a collosol and majestic fashion. This group will buy up, destroy and generally take down everyone and everything in their path. Think Walmart meets Costco but without cheap socks and TVs. Or Bernie Madoff with a grand plan promised to the gullible. A plan that will dupe the rubes and leave Victoria begging for someone or something to save it.
And no - technology will not be the savior. Sadly no technology sector save from the oceanic groups will buoy up an economy (ie pay salaries) our downtown tech is not an ecosystem - it is a whole gaggle of youngsters living on government grants hoping their company will one day be bought by Google or the like. It's a fool's game.
A sure sign the end is nigh is when the music scene dies. And the scene here died a horrible death more than a decade or so ago - and no one noticed. So we are entertained by 80's rock bands doing farewell (Yet again) tours or unknown bands that can only get gigs here (Who is Skerryvore?) or the Riff-Raff-Landia type of "trade show" (That is all it is folks! A trade show. Good on them I like trade shows - I have made money on trade shows. But it does zip. nada, nyet to a culture.) who bilk performers and get DJs to entertain beer-sodden kids who really have nowhere else to go. Sad really.
It will be interesting to watch this freak show over the next 20 years.