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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Construction zone living

For the past three or four years, I've been living in a construction zone. Actually, everyone who lives in Vancouver and suburbs has been living in a construction zone.

We're building condos downtown (where I live) at the rate of one a month - or at least it feels that way. Every day there's a new fence up with screaming signs advertising the new "best place in the city to live" and it's all about lifestyle. If you don't live at the Alto or the Palisades or the whatever, you're not cool. But to be cool in Vancouver these days you have to be rich. And I mean RICH. The average price of a house in Vancouver proper is now $921,000. Yep, that's right - almost a cool million.

We're building luxury hotels and converting the few buildings in the city that are older than a minute into luxury stores - we have Chanel and Tiffany's and Prada and whoever else you might want if you can afford that cool million dollar house.

We're building light rapid transit from downtown to the airport - which (though it was supposed to be tunnelled) ended up being built as cut and cover so there are major streets in the city that have been impossible to use for almost three years now. We're re-doing the highway from Vancouver to Whistler - imperative for the Olympics which arrive in 2010. In fact, almost all of this construction is due to the Olympics.

We're adding in (and have been for about 10 years, I think) a new water system in case we have an earthquake so that we can pipe water in from the surrounding ocean and inlets - what this means is that the park I walk past most days on the Seawall has been dug up and re-sodded about 20 times. And they're doing it again. I figured they'd put the pipes in 10 years ago - maybe they're just doing the regular 10 year maintenance?

We're building a new bridge and highway to help take some of the pressure off our main highway from the suburbs into the city. This may help in the long run, but in the short term? Traffic is just going to get worse.

The good news? Which is also the bad news? There's so much work in Vancouver for construction workers that kids are quitting school to get work as laborers. Construction workers are coming from everywhere - and they need places to live. So we build more condos. What happens when all the building's done? Condos will be cheap.

The other morning I was walking to work and saw an example of construction living - here it is.

Do you live in a construction zone?


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