Rob Nordrum

Planning Student | Animal Lover | Kayaker | City Watcher | Vancouverite


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The City and CP: Insights from Auerbach

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Herb Auerbach is a long-time real-estate consultant in Vancouver.  In the following letter to Mayor Robertson, he provides lots of insight and some important information to keep in mind when considering the controversy over the Arbutus Corridor.  (My emphasis added in bold.)
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Dear Mayor Robertson
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In 2003, three years after CP ceased rail operations on the Arbutus corridor, they opened a presentation centre in Kerrisdale as a first step toward getting the corridor rezoned for higher and better uses.  They have since lost that fight. CP’s move was a typical real estate maneuver in an attempt to add value to, or demonstrate value of, the land.  The problem is, that in my opinion they don’t own the land and I was irked by their move.  To confirm my view I read the Transportation Act (sections 135 to 145) and in 2003 I wrote to the City’s then…

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The Growth Ponzi Scheme in L.A.

Interesting article from Gordon Price. Raises questions about the economic sustainability of development.

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Strong Towns advocate Charles Marohn maintains that “our post-World War II pattern of development operates like a classic Ponzi scheme, with ever-increasing rates of growth necessary to sustain long-term liabilities.”

… government benefits from the enhanced revenues associated with new growth. But it also typically assumes the long-term liability for maintaining the new infrastructure.  This exchange — a near-term cash advantage for a long-term financial obligation — is one element of a Ponzi scheme.

The other is the realization that the revenue collected does not come near to covering the costs of maintaining the infrastructure. … In America, we have a ticking time bomb of unfunded liability for infrastructure maintenance. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates the cost at $5 trillion — but that’s just for major infrastructure, not the minor streets, curbs, walks, and pipes that serve our homes.

The reason we have this gap is because the…

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