scamcouver

fear & loathing in Lotusland

Smells Like Teen Sauce

by Zbigniew

Synergy Logo

As I drop below street level –my last glimpse of the surface is a flash of orange and brown. I take 20 minutes for the trip from Waterfront to Marine Drive; stepping outside, I am greeted by the same colour scheme.

I stop to consider this curious set of bookends, a geographic/temporal dysphoria usually reserved for malls and airports, when I catch the whiff of kitchen grease.

*

A&W was founded in 1923 in California; the first Canadian venue opened in Winnipeg in 1956. The Canadian division was sold to Unilver in 1972, and then purchased by the food company’s senior management in 1995. Although the companies share most branding and product lines, Canadian A&W has no corporate connection to its U.S. counterpart. A&W Food Services of Canada is headquartered in North Vancouver.

While the company ditched its drive-in service years ago, it continues to flog a vaguely “‘50s diner” orientation via a loud colour scheme, cutesy bear mascot, and a nuclear family of products (Baby, Mama, Teen, Papa, burgers etc), augmented and updated for the 21st century through a commitment to market “healthier” toxic quantities of sugars and saturated fats. Industrial foodstuffs, shilled the corporate way, with a generous squirt of “Teen Sauce.”

It’s the second largest fast food chain in Canada, with about 850 outlets and a “strategic thrust” to keep growing.

*

Exiting the Marine Drive Station into the shadows of Marine Gate, and A&W’s local growth strategy becomes apparent. It’s a player in the public-development-service complex that continues to transform the physical, social and economic space of the city.

Transit hubs are dramatically rezoned, enabling massive residential construction -a giant reef that attracts a supplementary round of deep pocket corporate capital to provide the punters with goods and services, those that can extract enough value to justify the substantial investment and rents.

In addition to outlets at Waterfront and Marine Drive, you can have your notional diner experience at Granville (Dunsmuir exit), Commercial-Broadway, Metrotown, and, Oakridge, with Main Street –and presumably others- coming soon.

That greasy odour? It’s merely the exhaust of the synergistic machine pumping out its special sauce. It’s the smell of money, lining some faceless shareholder’s pocket.

Fair Market Doublespeak

by Zbigniew

MakeAnOffer

“Vancouver app lets renters pitch ‘sealed’ offers,” 24Hours

*

“It connects landlords with tenants in hot, low vacancy markets.”

“What we want to do is give tenants a voice in this market, because it’s a competitive market, they need to stand out. And they really need to be able to … uh … impose what they feel fair market value is.”

“We want to give tenants the ammunition they need to compete in these type of markets.”

“We’re really trying to create an environment that’s fair for tenants –that currently doesn’t exist.”

Jordon Lewis, Co-founder & CEO, Biddwell, on CKNW

*

“Through YVR4Sale’s partnership with Biddwell, our investor clients are able to use this revolutionary tool that connects renters and landlords for fair market value rent. As an investor, you are able to post a listing to Biddwell and potential renters will bid on your property. Set your minimum monthly rental return and voila! Matching begins. Many investors achieve higher rental returns as the demand in Vancouver is high and inventory is low.”

YVR4Sale

 

Much, Much Worse: The 2016 Worst of Vancouver Survey

by Zbigniew

Friends, it’s more or less that time of year when we, the underpaid and emotionally destitute Scamcouver editorial staff, provide you with an opportunity to let off a little steam and have your say on the glorified safety deposit box that is Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Just answer the ten questions of the Worst of Vancouver Survey and you’ll feel as fresh as a vacated bowel.

It’ll just take a few minutes. You can complete the survey while your waiting in line at the Residential Tenancy Branch to dispute the inappropriately submitted eviction notice you received, and still have plenty of time left over to go through rental notices on Kijiji.

Special thanks to @IngeFinge, Ms. Demeanor and DJ Clueless for input, general wise assery, patience, and smokes.

Survey closes Sunday, September 4th, at 11:45 PM.

If you find the formatting of the link above is a bit wonky, try accessing the survey here.

 

Refuge: Silence

by Zbigniew

Six-and-half hours of multinodal travel, rewarded.

Eviction by Demolition

by Zbigniew

5025 Imperial Street, Burnaby

Imperial Squat

Imperial Squat 2

Imperial Squat 3

Imperial Squat Corrigan

Demovictions

Demovictions 2

Demovictions 3

Imperial Squat Development Map

And just a few metres away:

Imperial Squat Epilogue

The Cringe: International Private Vaults

by Zbigniew

 

“At International Private Vaults we care about what’s valuable, to you.

“We have an eye on everything that is close to your heart.

“Located near the Vancouver international Airport … IPV offers you long-term leases and the option of anonymity.”

Signage

by Zbigniew

Semlin & Franklin

For 90 years a foundry stood here. In 2001 the fabrication of iron fire hydrants and manhole covers made way for Hollywood product of questionable value and limited durability -eg. Catwoman.

And then, nothing at all.

What will bring life back to this neglected corner? What will encourage pedestrians to j-walk with impunity? What will attract the wonder of both cyclists and the owners of expensive automobiles and yet respect zoning restrictions?

Signage.

Signage 1

Signage 2

Tsunami

by Zbigniew

BBC-Magazine_Mega-Tsunami-_Sketch31Illustration: Chris Wren/Ken Brown, @mondoart

I don’t know whether the illustrators’ apocalyptic vision reflects a fear of a literal tsunami generated by the inevitable Big One -that is: the REALLY BIG ONE-awaiting us at some indeterminable point in the future, or a present-day metaphorical tsunami of international capital.

Pick your deluge.

Idle Pleasure Acting

by Zbigniew

In the early 2000s, when the capital inflow from the People’s Republic was but a trickle, Vancouver served as production hub for number of locally set, Mandarin language soap operas, including Farewell VancouverJade Buddha, Love Memories, and no one cares.

And as the trickle has swollen into the mother of all rivers, the productions have grown larger, too, and moved onto the silver screen.

Curiously, this new round of Mainland-financed content is linked (economically? psychically? harmonically?) to the main focus of all that capital: real estate.

The popularity of Finding Mr. Right -a Vancouver shot, Seattle-set morass of treacly meaninglessness- drove a sharp spike in PRC demand for Seattle property.

In contrast, the real estate connection in Love Lasts 《余温》is built into the narrative.

While yet to be released, the trailer for Love Lasts includes none other than Layla Yang, the local real estate agent that has been accused of uttering threats to a prospective client in connection to property transaction. (Ms. Yang is challenging the mob allegations in in court.) Busy and swanky lifestyle aside, Greater Vancouver’s Top 1% Realtor has enough time and artistic drive to express thespian ambitions. In Love Lasts, Ms. Yang stretches to play a real estate agent in a maudlin tale of long distance love, set over there and over here.

Ms. Yang’s approach to the material is explained in her introduction to the trailer: “My pleasure acting in this movie as an Realtor, who just the person who I am. We will do our best in the movie and the real estate industry. Stay tuned.”

Enjoy.

 

If you’re like me, and prefer your schlockfests best when they go unviewed, here is some dialogue:

“I’m going back to China. That’s the place young people should stay. Here, too many looters, such a place for retirees. I don’t want to rot here.”


“I want to discuss with you about something: I want to get a job.”

“Ah … are you okay, mom? Are we broke?”


Layla Yang, playing a realtor: “I’m telling you, you are lucky to have me. Real estate in Vancouver is really popular … Vancouver is filled with faineant* women, and they are not attractive.”

 

 

 

*faineant

Noun: an idle or ineffective person.

Adjective: idle or ineffective.

 

Elect Barrett

by Zbigniew

Elect Barrett

“The Agricultural Land Reserve, ICBC, the most progressive labour code in North America, the best consumer protection legislation in Canada, the most far-reaching human rights code anywhere, with full-time human rights officers, rent controls, a Rentalsman, Mincome, Pharmacare, raising the minimum wage by 67 per cent, neighbourhood pubs, provincial ambulance service, the Islands Trust, independent boards of review for WCB appeals, Robson Square, preserving Cypress Bowl, B.C. Day, removing the sales tax from books, community health centres, B.C. Cancer Control Agency, buying Shaughnessy Hospital which became B.C. Children’s Hospital, the SeaBus, banning the strap, scrapping a proposed coal port at Squamish, the Royal Hudson and Princess Marguerite, saving Victoria Harbour from development, the B.C. Energy Commission, purchase of Columbia Cellulose and Ocean Falls pulp mills, providing full bargaining rights to provincial government employees, an end to pay toilets, to the relief of all, and on and on.

“The Dave Barrett government (1972-1975), RIP.”

“The last of Barrett’s electioneers: B.C.’s nasty 1975 campaign,” Rod Mickleburgh, Rabble.ca, January 4, 2016