Tag Archives: Trains

The Mainstream Blah-gosphere Circa 2012


Neighbourhood Horrors Checklist

The Neighbourhood Horrors Checklist


The proposed new tower development at Broadway and Kingsway:

Fails to incorporate or follow most of the guidelines set out in Mt. Pleasant’s Local Area Plan (still unpublished).


Fails to adequately inform local residents of planning workshops, design meetings, consultation, etc. Project seems to appear out of nowhere.


Grossly out of scale and character with the surrounding neighbourhood.


Disregard for historical plat and heritage, including the demolition of historic buildings.


Includes tower and podium design.


Tower has maximum glass exposure on all sides, requiring extra energy to heat and cool.


Tower blocks existing views and physically fragments neighbourhood.


Tower has lone obligatory tree planted on roof, enabling the project to market itself as “green”.


Building density increases developer’s margins without providing meaningful community amenities or civic infrastructure.


Rezoning establishes a precedent for more over-height buildings on nearby blocks (Main and Broadway fire site, Kingsgate, etc.).


Project demonstrates that “land-lift” CAC’s = Easy Money for Planning Department, reaffirming the Money is God mantra that eclipses all neighbourhood visioning.


Inflates surrounding real estate values, residential and commercial rents (having the opposite effect to that which is intended with STIR).


Exceeds 1 parking space/1 unit, encouraging continued proliferation of automobile use in urban environment and multi-car households. Full parking inclusion uniformly raises unit costs, which compromises the stated STIR goal of greater affordability.

Check and Check Again.


In conclusion, this development scores very high on the Neighbourhood Horror Meter, and will result in another new monstrosity looming on the skyline that will haunt local residents for decades.

Needless to say, the project will recieve the full and ringing endorsement from Dr. Frankentower, our City’s quack DoP.

Scaaaary kids!


The Passing of Gassy

It starts with a vague ache in the bones. You don’t think much of it at first. Just blah and get on with the day.

The next morning it hits you like a bus. You wake up curled in a ball oozing phlegm and shivering uncontrollably. A cough punches your ribs and threatens to separate your eyeballs from your face, resulting in a pounding headache, blurred vision, and a crook in the neck.

These are the types of weeks that important meetings are booked months ahead on, when someone else’s deadline gets dumped on your lap at the last minute, when everything goes to shit and you are expected to make snap, prescient decisions through a fog of bewilderment.

Ten days later, I thought I was feeling better, but the damage is done. I’m on a downward spiral that I don’t think I can recover from. I went viral for a day, but this virus is forever. My mind is racing backwards and forwards and I feel the end is near….

In my more desperate moments, I wonder if avatars, like ghosts, fall victim to doubt? Do they feel trapped in their two dimensional form, the pictures and text posts a useless journal of meaningless chatter floating in the ether of social upheaval? I have no idea. I am not real.

I exist in this purgatory, occasionally believing that, by caring, by trying to find common ground, by trying to study ideas and issues every which way from Sunday, a new understanding will emerge through thoughtful expression.

But other times, there is nothing but futility and anger. Nothing but doubt. Moments to hide and seek refuge and cower in fear. Good people get screwed. Self-serving assholes thrive and prosper. It’s times like these I truly wish I believed in Heaven and Hell.

So, while laid up, I read a couple of novels. And these novels – one funny and uplifting, one dark and sordid – led to an epiphany. Something went “click” inside me and I felt a deep, emotional shift. Or so I thought…

Moments later, I got a tap on the shoulder. It cut like a scythe, yet felt soft as a cattail brushing my arm. It tickled until I saw the blood and realized I was laughing because I was going into shock.

Ghosts eventually outgrow their old haunts. Me, I’m going somewhere avatars can never aspire to. And I’m going there soon. So this is goodbye…

*   *   *

First Text Message of the Day

Back from The Waste Land


What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of Man,

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only

A heap of broken images

*     *     *

Colin Hansen’s Big Budget Assumption: That He Has Any Credibility Left

Gastown railyards, serving the second busiest port city on the west coast of North America*. August 31st, 2009.


“[This budget] is based on the assumption… that we are going to see economic growth from here forward.” BC Finance Minister, Colin Hansen, September 1st, 2009.

He went on to rosily state that, ““I think this is going to be one of B.C.’s best budgets.”

Um, Colin? The small business I have run for nine years is bankrupt thanks to your cuts to the arts. I’m heading for the pogey line for the first time in my life along with the thousands of others who have lost their jobs across BC, and you are basing our future well-being on a fucking “assumption”?!

Even when you base your budgets on real numbers you screw it up, and now you want us to believe you when you say that one of BC’s best budgets is based on an assumption? I mean, aren’t you the guy who claimed over and over that our deficit wouldn’t be more than $495 million, and got it wrong by 500%? Aren’t you the guy who tabled balanced budget legislation, and within a year you had to repeal and rewrite the act twice because your forecasting was so far off the mark?

And didn’t you and Gordo promise the Olympics would provide BC with unprecedented wealth, jobs and opportunities for small businesses?

Here’s some example of how small businesses in Gastown, Vancouver’s main tourist district, are gearing up for your promised Olympics bonanza:


Carrall Street, Maple Tree Square, the heart of Gastown. (above)

Alexander Street, formerly the Marrakesh restaurant.


Water Street (below).


This is just a sampling, there are For Lease signs all over Gastown and many small businesses have recently closed, including, Farfalla, Black Water Cafe, Hunt and Gather.

So really, it doesn’t matter what kind of shoes you are wearing when you deliver your budget, Mr. Hansen — no-one looks good with their head stuck up their ass.


*See also the pictures of the railyard taken in July and early August in my previous post “Signs the Recession Isn’t Quite Over”, posted after Canada’s Finance Minister declared that the recession was officially over in July.

Graffiti Trains