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The More Victoria Changes, the More It Stays the Same...


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#81 aastra

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 07:30 PM

Globe and Mail
20 March 1980

REPORT ON CANADA CMHC study

Greater Vancouver has the most serious housing shortage in North America, says a study released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

The corporation also disclosed that: Victoria and Vancouver rank first and second in Canada for the lowest vacancy rate.


*********

Vancouver Sun
19 October 1989

Housing Crisis Rally

Dozens of families are expected to march on Victoria city hall this morning. They want council to use its influence to get the province to ban adult-only apartment buildings. The rally is sponsored by Citizens for Affordable Housing, a citizens' pressure group which has grown up in response to Victoria's housing crisis.

**********

The Province
22 November 1989

RENTAL CARROT: VICTORIA OFFERS RATE CUT TO DEVELOPERS

Victoria is handing out $20 million to B.C. developers to build about 2,000 rental-housing units.

But critics say the scheme will do more for developers than for people needing affordable housing.

New Democratic Party housing critic Robin Blencoe said the plan will do nothing to create affordable housing in the province.

"All this does is build housing units that most British Columbians can't afford, and it uses taxpayers' dollars to do it," said the Victoria MLA. "This isn't a trickle-down theory - it's a drip."

"It really will do virtually nothing to ease the housing crisis," he said.

**********

Vancouver Sun
28 February 1990

Victoria, municipalities agree to seek solutions to rental housing crisis

The provincial government and the Union of B.C. Municipalities came to a meeting of the minds Tuesday over the housing crisis, and have agreed to jointly look at solutions, UBCM president Len Traboulay said.

Traboulay said the provincial review, which will be conducted between the UBCM and staff from the ministries of municipal affairs, social services and housing, finance and labor and consumer services, are aimed at shepherding amending legislation through the next sitting of the legislature.

Those changes will hopefully address secondary suites, affordability and availability of suites, rent review and elimination of discrimination against couples with children, Traboulay said.

**********

Vancouver Sun
02 August 1990

B.C. rental crisis worst in country: Situation 'gross' for Victoria, Vancouver

The rental housing crisis in Victoria and Vancouver is worse than anywhere else in Canada, a new study shows.

"For renters, the situation appears to be deteriorating," researcher Gwyn Simmons told a forum in Victoria yesterday.

Simmons was hired by the Capital Regional District to look at rental housing problems and recommend solutions.

He found the proportion of renters paying more than 30 per cent of their gross incomes for housing was higher in Greater Victoria than anywhere else in Canada.

Simmons says that about 20 per cent of Victoria renters were paying more than half their gross income for rent.

Social planners generally say no one should have to pay more than 30 per cent of their income for housing.

But using census figures, Simmons found that 48 per cent of Victoria's renters were in fact paying more than that. In Vancouver, the figure was 45 per cent.

Simmons says the problem has worsened in the past year or so because "rent increases are generally outpacing incomes."

Moreover, he says, the problem is likely to continue to worsen because the region is facing a severe shortage of land zoned and serviced for rental housing.

The average rent increase in the past year has been 11 per cent.

Simmons and his co-consultants make three dozen recommendations that they believe could help ease the problem.

They suggest municipalities should require new subdivisions and housing projects to include 20 per cent of their units as "affordable rental units."

**********

Vancouver Sun
29 May 1993

Trouble in the Garden:; Behind Victoria's grand facade lies a crisis in affordable housing

CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS?


There is certainly no sign of a housing crisis in Victoria's high-society Uplands neighborhood...

And all's quiet down on the waterfront in the James Bay district overlooking the inner harbor, where life hums along in a perpetual holiday mood and the classy, brick-faced Harbourside condo towers are all sold out save for a couple of suites for $320,000 and $580,000.

Yet across town, a block or two down from where the street kids hang out, Kaye Melliship, intense and intelligent, is fighting a lone and losing battle to generate more affordable housing and stave off what she perceives as the "serious housing crisis" that has Victoria in its grip.

A planner with the Capital Region Housing Corp., Melliship says she can't find any affordable housing for her waiting list of 1,060 families, 361 seniors and 154 disabled people who, for a variety of reasons, require less expensive accommodation.

"There is a vast need for affordable housing right now in Victoria. We know that 20,000 to 30,000 households are paying too much for their housing and could require some assistance to make ends meet," she says.

Defining affordable as the ability for low- and moderate-income families to have rental and ownership opportunities that cost 30 per cent or less of their income, she points out that Victoria is the most difficult city in Canada for people to get out of renting and buy their own place.

Only 7.5 per cent of renters in Victoria can afford to buy a house or condominium of their own compared with 20.5 per cent in Vancouver, 27 per cent in Toronto and 35 per cent in Montreal.

She sees a number of barriers to affordable housing:

* Lack of municipal policies, plans and strategies.
* A dramatic cut in capital funds from senior government for non-market housing.
* High cost of land and absence of land servicing.
* No-growth policies in communities due to constraints in the capacity of infrastructure and community values.
* Lengthy development approval processes.

Les Bjola, president of Victoria Real Estate Board, agrees that there is a great need for more affordable housing, but he believes the problem stems from two key issues: an increasing shortage of developable land and the lack of quality regional planning.

"The land shortage is even more pronounced here than in Vancouver...

Melliship and Bjola are concerned about the way 1,200 acres of land in the Tod Inlet area and 1,800 acres south in the Highlands district of Langford will ultimately be developed. They would like to see the land developed in a way that permits higher densities, which would generate more affordable housing.

 

**********

 

Times-Colonist
08 July 2002

It's tough finding rental units: Proposed revisions to tenancy act could make situation worse

For students and other renters on a tight budget... finding a place to live in Victoria is difficult.

Peggy Prill, a market analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation calls Victoria a "constrained" market.

When the corporation measured the vacancy rate of the region's rentals last October, it sat at 0.5 per cent -- that's equal to 130 of the region's 26,000 units available.

A healthy vacancy rate is at about two per cent, she said.

Prill said there are many reasons for the housing shortage.

The problem is compounded by the fact there have been no new rental units built for over 20 years and population has grown steadily, especially among students who return to the city for school each September.


Edited by aastra, 13 November 2018 - 07:39 PM.

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#82 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 07:42 PM

cri·sis
/ˈkrīsis/
noun
a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.
"the current economic crisis"
synonyms: emergency, disaster, catastrophe, calamity; 
a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.
"a crisis point of history"
synonyms: critical point, turning point, crossroads, watershed, head, moment of truth, zero hour, point of no return, Rubicon, doomsday; 
the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.

 

 

Can a crisis be a permanent state?


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#83 aastra

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 07:44 PM

I'm not sure, but I'm still fairly confident that the right combination of committees and working groups can lick this thing in short order.


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#84 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 07:55 PM

Victoria colonial history began in 1841 when the first tent was placed on what was to be called Fort Victoria. The first housing crisis occurred ten minutes later when the second tent was set up.


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"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

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#85 aastra

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 08:31 PM

Some of the recurring premises of the ongoing narrative from 1945 until today:

 

- The authorities are making the housing crisis their top priority. (The end of the crisis is just around the corner, thanks to the committed efforts of the good people in charge.)

 

- In the past pretty much anybody could expect to own a house in Victoria, but not anymore. (And yet it seems that there was never an era -- at least not since 1945 -- when this was actually true. Modern Victoria has always been slanted towards renting to a larger degree than many other Canadian cities, and becomes only more so -- glaringly so -- as time goes on.)

 

- New rental construction excludes real people, especially seniors and people with children and/or pets. (Although, I feel like the "poor seniors" angle has been dialed down over the years, whereas the pet thing has been getting inflated.)

 

- Development restrictions need to be relaxed, especially re: new rentals. (At this point I'm wondering if there might actually be some merit to this idea. If the housing crisis persists for a while then maybe such an extreme measure would eventually be justified.)

 

For the more media literate among us, isn't it interesting how ongoing crisis narratives exclude remembrance as a matter of course? Don't the reporters and editors themselves have any capacity for recollection? Don't they remember what we all went through? And then went through all over again? And then went through all over again, again?

 

In 2018 we're still doing it. We're pretending not to remember 2008, 2003, the 1990s, the 1980s, the late 1960s & early 1970s, etc. I find it interesting because a short memory is a key ingredient re: maintaining an ongoing state of alarm.

 

But aastra, you don't understand! It hasn't been one long, ongoing crisis. It's been a succession of unique & wildly different crises, each of which has had no relation whatsoever to the one that came before. Victoria today is crazy different compared to Victoria in the 1960s, or even compared to Victoria in 2016! The fact that the verbiage has remained constant is just an odd coincidence, nothing more.

 

Anyway, at this point I'm really not sure what I think about it. I think I think the passage of time has slowly been fleshing out & clarifying the true nature of urban living on the west coast of Canada. Space is limited, the population continues to grow steadily, and things are never going to get cheaper. Instead of looking for a "solution", I think we need to come to terms with it and try to design how it plays out (rather than trying to resist it or turn it back, I mean).


Edited by aastra, 13 November 2018 - 08:35 PM.

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#86 G-Man

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 09:12 PM

Aastra you deserve an award for your work here. Amazing. I would love and I mean it for someone to give this to city councilors. No wait better. Isn't there a time when you get to just speak in front of council about any topic?? Can someone just read that list of articles out?

Visit my blog at: https://www.sidewalkingvictoria.com 

 

It has a whole new look!

 


#87 Nparker

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 09:18 PM

... I find it interesting because a short memory is a key ingredient re: maintaining an ongoing state of alarm....

Throw in a soupçon of nostalgia for a past that allegedly was better than the present and you've got the driving force behind half of all political motivation today. The other half is energized by erasing all history since it was cruel, barbaric and had zero positive benefits for our species. The truth of course lies somewhere in between.



#88 aastra

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 09:43 PM

So this is referring to View Towers, right? It's not referring to the second building that never materialized on the empty lot on the corner?

 

 

...the first limited-dividend building in Victoria will be a 20-storey apartment at Fort and Quadra, intended mainly for pensioners.


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#89 Bingo

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 09:47 PM

I think we have a people crisis. If we stopped making people we would have enough housing. Much of our housing has outlived the people who have borrowed them. My father built our house with the help of his friends labour. Now we have so many regulations that it is not practical to build your own house. The province could supply free lumber for do it yourself home builders. Instead of sending scrap metal overseas, build a nail factory and make nails and screws in BC. Folks complain too much including me. Ain't the world an awful place, and why don't we have more affordable housing by teaching house building in school. Forget get about university...get out of the house you don't have and learn to hold a hammer.  



#90 N E Body

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 08:19 AM

Can a crisis be a permanent state?

 

Sort of like a Sears mattress sale.



#91 Bob Fugger

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 08:22 AM

Or the annual "Going Out of Business" sales that happen to the trinketoriums and knickknackeries down on Government Street.


Edited by Bob Fugger, 14 November 2018 - 08:22 AM.


#92 N E Body

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 08:39 AM

 

Anyway, at this point I'm really not sure what I think about it. I think I think the passage of time has slowly been fleshing out & clarifying the true nature of urban living on the west coast of Canada. Space is limited, the population continues to grow steadily, and things are never going to get cheaper. Instead of looking for a "solution", I think we need to come to terms with it and try to design how it plays out (rather than trying to resist it or turn it back, I mean).

 

Which I believe whole heartedly... but it will come at a steep cost for many.



#93 aastra

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 10:10 AM

I give modern Victorians heck for their tree-chopping fetish, but maybe it's not a new thing:

 

 

Daily Colonist
June 30, 1905

A Big Improvement - A great improvement has been made by the authorities in removing the maple trees on Yates Street, opposite the Bishop's Palace, and as a result the Carnegie library building, which before was hardly seen, now stands out very plainly to anyone on Douglas street. The new buildings of W.J. Hanna and Dr. Garesche, now being built, add a great deal to the attractiveness of that part of Yates Street.



#94 aastra

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:01 PM

In 1979, Victoria was an ultra-safe haven for well-heeled retirees. In 1982, street prostitution was blatant.

 

Maybe Victoria has always had that double-personality re: being boring & quiet but busy & noisy at the same time, or being neighbourly & safe but having lots of street & property crime at the same time, or being hardcore conservative but crazy liberal at the same time, etc.

 

I'm getting the picture that the promoted narratives tend to be at least a generation behind the hard realities.

 

 

*****

 

 

"Getting old feels good in Golden Agers' utopia They're well bred, well fixed, well behaved, well... Victoria"
Yaffe, Barbara, The Globe and Mail
12 May 1979
 

VICTORIA - Traffic signals here are among the slowest in Canada and motorists drive below the speed limit as a matter of course.

Nobody honks. Nobody tailgates.

Buses idle patiently at their stops as each passenger climbs aboard and settles leisurely into a seat.

This is a city for old people. God's waiting room, as it has been dubbed by local residents. St. Petersburg North.

Who are these silver-haired folk? A scant 4 per cent were born in Victoria and just over half are of British origin. Two-thirds moved here from other parts of British Columbia and the Prairies after retiring from professional and managerial jobs. Ontario and Quebec used to be home for nearly 20 per cent, and a small number bid goodbye to the Atlantic provinces and the United States.

Their mobility at this stage of their lives indicates the healthy state of their finances. Solid middle-class people with conservative values, many have bought houses and condominiums. For the most part, they live comfortably in a city that appears to bend over backwards to do their bidding.

A study conducted by regional planners in 1969, but still considered relevant, says the elderly bring into local circulation fresh funds from pensions and investments.

This money - in the form of federal transfer payments, civil service, military and private pension schemes and general investments - is rock solid, based on the health of the Canadian economy as a whole. It carries none of the risk of investment based on local enterprise or subject to the fortunes of a single region's economy.

Bankers love the old folks and credit ratings in the region are more stable than elsewhere, according to the study. The money arrives in steady amounts and bolsters the city's retail and service industries.

Victorians maintain that, per capita, there are more banks, credit unions and trust companies than anywhere else in the country.

The retired person is an ideal person to have come to your community, says Brian Small, manager of the Chamber of Commerce. The retired have earned their income elsewhere and tend to spend it. They use the least amount of services in the community, and pay school taxes. They don't pose many social problems and they donate their services. Are they good citizens? You better believe it - they're terrific as far as I'm concerned.

The unusually heavy concentration of elderly in a relatively small city has made community values and acceptable standards different from those in places like, say, Guelph, Kingston or Dartmouth.

So smug, so conservative . . . this is one conservative-minded town, Prof. MacRae said as she sipped coffee and gazed out the window of a mainstreet restaurant. Her comments are direct - the place is the last word in WASP.

Shopping is done the British way, each item purchased individually in a separate specialty shop. Most stores are in the centre of town with buses routed to radiate through the city and return to the centre.

The distinct population groupings have affected police services, said Constable Ron Brown of the community services branch of the Victoria Police Force. What we've got here are newlyweds and nearly deads.

There's little violent crime - one or two armed robberies last year. Indeed, a getaway would be complicated by the requirement of a ferry ride to the mainland which, with travel time to and from the docks, takes a good three hours.

(aastra says: I wonder when Vic PD finally clued in that a criminal doesn't actually need to depart a city after committing a crime? Did the murderer(s) of Agnes Bing in 1899 also make a dash for the Swartz Bay ferry terminal as per the requirement?)

Police here are experienced in dealing with purse snatching and driving home elderly people who get confused about where they live after riding for hours on city buses. Consumer ripoff schemes are also common and tend to affect the elderly.

Const. Brown spent a morning recently chatting with a New Horizons group about ways to protect themselves. (Blow a whistle into the receiver when confronted with an obsene telephone call; keep handy a tape of a barking dog to ward off night prowlers; spill the contents of a purse for thiefs who would be unlikely to stoop and scoop up the goodies.)

(aastra says: Victoria sounds like such a safe place. Here's how you should deal with muggers and purse snatchers, here's how you should deal with lurking home invaders, here's how you should deal with fraudsters and scam artists...

 

I also wonder, were the criminals themselves more likely to be newlyweds or nearly deads?)

*****

 

 

"Victoria mayor blames Cabinet's sex attitude for prostitution wave"
Tafler, Sid, Special to The Globe and Mail
03 Apr 1982

VICTORIA - The federal reluctance to outlaw prostitution can be explained only in terms of the liberal sexual attitude among members of the Government in Ottawa, particularly the French Canadians in it, Mayor Peter Pollen said yesterday.

Police forces in British Columbia are frustrated by the lack of federal legislation to enable them to deter "aggressive huckster prostitution" on the streets, Mr. Pollen said in an interview. "I don't want to sound like some kind of kook from Calgary, but there's an obvious lack of laws to enforce community standards, to keep male and female teen-aged prostitutes off the streets...

Victoria Police Chief William Snowdon said there are more prostitutes on the city's streets than ever before, most of them working on Government Street a few blocks from the Legislature. About 40 prostitutes solicit openly every evening, and he's concerned that their activities will breed other crimes such as assault, blackmail and drug abuse.

 

*****

 

Methinks we can reasonably conclude that SOMEBODY was hiring the services of all those prostitutes for all those years through the 1980s and 1990s, and since the scene was pretty much the same in the winter as it was in the summer I'm going to say we can't lay too much of the blame on tourists. So that leaves a) the newlyweds, or b) the nearly deads. But this wouldn't seem to jibe very well with the stereotypes, you think?


Edited by aastra, 06 July 2019 - 10:50 AM.

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#95 aastra

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:15 PM

 

Shopping is done the British way, each item purchased individually in a separate specialty shop. Most stores are in the centre of town with buses routed to radiate through the city and return to the centre.

 

Town & Country, Mayfair, Hillside, and University Heights already exist, not to mention the supermarkets and shopping plazas all over town. Tillicum Mall is about to join them. So was the writer really describing 1979, as it was happening? Let's just say that's not quite how I remember it. Downtown shopping was much more relevant back then than it is now, obviously. But the claim that "most stores are in the centre of town" seems to be more fitting for ~1959 than 1979.



#96 aastra

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:24 PM

 

...a getaway would be complicated by the requirement of a ferry ride to the mainland which, with travel time to and from the docks, takes a good three hours.

 

This article is from 1979, just prior to Orville and Wilbur's famous flight.


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#97 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:30 PM

In 1979, Victoria was an ultra-safe haven for well-heeled retirees. In 1982, street prostitution was blatant.

 

Maybe Victoria has always had that double-personality re: being boring & quiet but busy & noisy at the same time, or being neighbourly & safe but having lots of street & property crime at the same time, etc.

 

I'm getting the picture that the promoted narratives tend to be at least a generation behind the hard realities.

 

 

*****

 

*****

 

 

*****

 

Methinks we can reasonably conclude that SOMEBODY was hiring the services of all those prostitutes for all those years through the 1980s and 1990s, and since the scene was pretty much the same in the winter as it was in the summer I'm going to say we can't lay too much of the blame on tourists. But this wouldn't seem to jibe very well with the stereotypes, you think?

 

40 seems like a bit of a high number.   maybe a dozen most nights.



#98 aastra

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:49 PM

For 1979? Not long after that I remember encountering a flock of them assembling in Nootka Court in the early evening and there must have been 20-30 right then and there. It was crowded. Which leads me into this next observation:

 

 

Methinks we can reasonably conclude that SOMEBODY was hiring the services of all those prostitutes for all those years through the 1980s and 1990s...

 

Note that any further extrapolations about pimps and organized crime would be illogical and inappropriate, whether back then or today. You didn't see what you thought you saw.

 

Everybody freely acknowledges the street scene because it's out in the open, but above the street there's nothing but phantoms. All of the big money just evaporates into the ether.



#99 aastra

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:58 PM

Thus, you can claim that your community doesn't have much crime, is my point. Only the visible stuff counts.



#100 aastra

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 04:54 PM

More:

 

 

April 19, 1970
Daily Colonist

Youths Roam
Fights Close Bars

Victoria area hotels continued to have difficulties Saturday night as young people tested their capacity for alcohol under new legislation which lowered the age of majority to 19 last week.

Three hotels said they closed their beer parlors early to avoid problems and in others area police were kept busy controlling fights.

Groups of youths roamed downtown areas looking for open drinking places.

Police cars and vans were evident in great number throughout the downtown area.

A spokesman for the Churchill Hotel, scene of a Friday night melee in which a policeman was injured after beer bottles and glasses were thrown, said a 10 p.m. closing had been necessary to prevent further trouble.

Between 12 and 15 persons were involved in a fight in the Red Lion parking lot around 10 p.m.

"There are fights breaking out everywhere. This situation just hasn't existed here before."



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