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More Public Parks Around Main Street and What it Means for Residents

More Public Parks Around Main Street and What it Means for Residents


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Last week on Tuesday, May 31st, the Vancouver Park Board unveiled plans to build a new $6 million park in downtown Vancouver at the intersection of Smithe and Richards street. In the recent past, news like this has hit the headlines a number of times and one can even safely assume that the Vancouver Park Board is one of the most active boards in the Vancouver Governing Council.

Other key parks that the Vancouver Park Board has built recently includes Main Park located at 3333 Main Street. This park serves both Mount Pleasant and Riley Park areas and was designed in the most modern way using state of the art technologies. The park uses modern storm water infiltration technologies to help manage storm water and reduce water run-off after a storm. This technology enables water to percolate down the soil slowly and over an extended period of time. This way, the storm water is used efficiently, without wastage, keeping the grass at the park evergreen. The technology also helps conserve water as the town council does not have to tap into water meant for domestic use in order to water the grass.

Apart from using smart technologies at the Park, the existing trees have been pruned and maintained so as to stay healthy and grow well. New trees have also been planted to further beautify the Park and to replace the old and dying trees. Tables and seats have been placed strategically for people to sit with family and friends as they enjoy the good ambience that the Park offers. It goes without saying that this Park has attracted many people living on Main Street and especially those living in Mount Pleasant and Riley Park. More people are preferring to settle around these locations as it provides a good environment for bringing up children and it’s good for the family as a whole. Other recently completed parks around Main Street include Yukon Park and Fir Park.

Apart from the recently completed Parks and the one in the pipeline at the intersection of the Richard and Smithe Street, the VPB (Vancouver Park Board) has other plans to build four more parks south of Main Street, near and around Fraser Lands. These Parks are welcome to the residents of Main Street and the whole of Vancouver.

Many people living on Main Street have expressed their joy at the initiatives that the Vancouver Park Board is taking to increase the number of Parks in Vancouver. Families will no longer have to go far to find recreational facilities but rather, they will have Parks near them for these purposes. The new Parks will also help foster unity among people as they will have more opportunities to interact with another. The number of tourists is also set to increase as everyone would like to have a piece of what the parks in Vancouver have to offer.

Areas around Main Street such as Mount Pleasant and Riley Park have been top attractions for people who want to settle in Vancouver. With the development of new Parks around these areas, the deal has just been made better and new families or people moving in will certainly enjoy living here.

Zoning Regulations Favour Vancouver’s Main Street Neighbourhoods

Zoning Regulations Favour Vancouver’s Main Street Neighbourhoods


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Unlike most other developed cities in the world, Vancouver is very far from being considered a concrete jungle. On the contrary, the city’s administration is determined to take the top spot in the list of green cities in North America by 2020. This won’t come easy because sacrifices will have to be made and regulations have to be followed if the ambitious goal is to be achieved.

Despite the good intentions behind the regulations, they may sometimes limit the ambitions of property developers in the city who may want to build huge structures. A good example is in the Zoning Districts. Let’s start by taking a look at what the city regulations have been able to achieve so far.

Since 2013, Vancouver has been ranked in Knight Frank’s Prime Global Cities Index. In the first quarter of 2016, the city was ranked top with a 26.3% increase in performance of prices of prime residential properties. This is just three years after the city was added to this list. This means that prices of prime residential property have had a relatively higher growth rate in these three years when compared to other cities in the world. Between March 2015 and March 2016, Vancouver had the highest growth rate in the world.

Local investors are doing all they can to get a piece of the pie. Foreign investors have also taken notice and this has resulted in massive demand for property in Vancouver which further increased the price of the properties. With the influx of millions of foreign dollars, the city administration is taxed with ensuring that there is order in the development and that Vancouver maintains a spot in the list of the best cities to live in globally.

On the other hand, zoning has its limitations. With several prime properties witnessing interesting bidding wars in the recent past, it is very clear that investors are willing to spend on property in Vancouver. However, they have to think about zoning before buying a property to take down because zoning Bylaws for each district control the kind of development that will take place in the area. This means that you can’t build a skyscraper on land that has been set aside for single family homes.

The city also controls tearing down of buildings in districts that have been set aside as historical areas such as Chinatown and some pre-1920 homes in Strathcona.

While this may appear punitive, it comes with its own share of benefits. The first one is that development is controlled, hence there should be improved organization of the city. Another one, which is very important in the case of Vancouver, is that natural life and open spaces are maintained in the city.

Investment in Main Street neighbourhoods has benefited from the city’s zoning regulations. This is because these neighborhoods have commercial districts, residential districts, small industrial districts and some historic areas. Investors and developers in these neighborhoods have access to a wide range of options when it comes to investing, with minimal restriction to any ambitious plans they may have. The city is also able to maintain order since the development is done in a planned and very organized manner. Main Street locals can expect to enjoy Vancouverism for a very long time.

Early Birds Can Save Big on Vancouver’s Upcoming Bike Share Program

Early Birds Can Save Big on Vancouver’s Upcoming Bike Share Program


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The Vancouver Public Bike Share Program is the biggest thing ever to come to public transportation in Vancouver. If you join the early bird list, you will get early access to the program and also close to 50% off the annual membership costs just by being a founding member.

Currently, two membership plans are available. The first one is the Standard membership plan where you get unlimited 30 minute rides for a whole year. Instead of paying the regular $180, you will only have to pay $99 and save over $80 just by being a part of the founding members. The other package is the Plus membership plan where you will pay $129 instead of the regular $240. Again, you’ll get to save over $110 just by being a founding member.

Monthly overage fees for the Standard package are $2 for the first 30 to 60 minutes of riding and $3 for every half hour after the first 60 minutes. For the Plus membership package, overage fees are $3 for every half hour after the first 60 minutes. You won’t need to pay anything extra for the helmet since each bike will come with one.

This special discount is only valid until Thursday June 30, 2016. The annual membership will start on June 15, 2016 and end on July 1, 2017. After this initial subscription, membership will renew with the regular rates.

In addition to discounted prices, founding members will also receive other exclusive benefits. These benefits include a helmet discount that can be redeemed at any local bike store, a special key for founding members, first access to the bikes and an exclusive invitation to the official launch party when the setting up has been completed.

The program finally has a name! It has been dubbed Mobi and it is pronounced as “moe-bee”. The name was coined from the phrase “more bikes”, but is can also be used to reflect mobility, momentum and motion – the main pillars of cycling in Vancouver. The program’s tagline is “Bikes we Share” and it shows the community-based aspect of the program.

Work is already in progress to prepare 150 stations and 1500 bikes for launch this summer in Main Street, 16th Avenue and Arbutus Street. Businesses have the chance to sponsor the program and get more eyes on their branding. Sponsors will enjoy increased brand awareness, social awareness, more customer interactions and a more authentic commitment to empowerment of the community through healthy alternatives to traffic congestion while improving environmental sustainability and air quality in the city.

The bikes will have a waterproof control panel on the handlebars where members can tap their cards to unlock the bikes. If you haven’t subscribed for an annual option, this control panel has a keypad that you can use to enter the PIN that you will be assigned at the booth upon paying for the ride.

Sign up for a discounted founding membership package here. You can also suggest a location or get more information on how you can sponsor the program by going to the program’s official website.

More New Childcare Spaces for Vancouver Residents

More New Childcare Spaces for Vancouver Residents


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Mother’s Pride Family Child Care, Little Mountain Neighborhood House, Emma’s Infant & Toddler Care, Spare Time Clubhouse, YWCA Vancouver and Mount Pleasant Community Center are some of the establishments that you can visit for child care services in the Main Street area. The city of Vancouver is working towards increasing the number of these establishments in Main Street and the entire Vancouver in an ambitious four year growth plan.

Previously, the city administration worked with a two year target which ran from 2012 to 2014. By the end of the period, more than 500 spaces had been built, a number which exceeded the set target for the period. This must have been the inspiration behind the target for the new period, which was to begin in 2015 and run to 2018. During this four year period, the city hopes to create another 1,000 childcare spaces in Vancouver.

If we take a look at the ground covered so far, the city is on track to once again exceed the set targets for the period ending in 2018. Here’s what has been achieved so far:
•    188 new child care spaces have been built in Vancouver since the period began
•    An additional 389 have been committed and development is in progress
•    A total of 577 new childcare establishments have been approved

Having achieved such numbers this early into the period, it will be very easy for the city administration to not only meet, but also to exceed the set targets. This will make it easier for families to live in Main Street since busy parents will be able to get peace of mind knowing that their young children are in safe hands.

These targets show the city’s dedication towards the provision of good early childhood development and support for families run by parents with busy schedules. Some of these new childcare centers will be co-located in elementary schools. According to Mayor Gregor Robertson, this move will provide a one-stop solution for childcare and early learning needs. It will also enhance better space utilization in the city thus making Vancouver a more inclusive and healthier city.

More quality child care spaces in Main Street will provide a good start for children in the area, which will increase their readiness for school while reducing their vulnerability. Statistics have shown that kids who get a good start in their early years of life tend to have better mental and physical health in their adult years. They also perform better in school and as a result find it easier to secure the more attractive job positions.

Even with this rapid increase in childcare spaces in the city, Vancouver still has room for more spaces. Currently, the available spaces only meet about 32% of the city’s childcare needs for children aged below 12 years. At this rate, however, it won’t be long before this need is fully net.
Every child should have access to safe outdoor play spaces because they are very critical in the child’s physical, mental and social development.

Foreign Investors Cause Ripples in Vancouver Real Estate

Foreign Investors Cause Ripples in Vancouver Real Estate


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Vancouver is ranked top in the list of prime cities in the world. This is according to a British property investment firm known as Knoght Frank. Between March 2015 and March 2016, the city witnessed the highest growth rates in real estate prices in the world. There was a 26.3% increase in residential real estate prices in Vancouver in this period.

Despite this price increase, properties in Vancouver are still getting a lot of demand from prospective buyers. This can be attributed to the influx of foreign dollars from foreign investors who want a piece of the pie. Vancouver is one of the world’s best cities to live in. From good weather to plenty of natural spaces, there are many things that attract investors to the city. The cultural diversity is another thing that is a big advantage for Vancouver. This has attracted many Asian investors from China who feel that the diversity will make it easier for them to settle down in the city.

There is also another group of investors who are commonly overlooked in Vancouver. This group is made up of the children of the foreign tycoons who bought property in Vancouver some decades ago then brought their families to live here because of the calm and tranquil environment. Having been brought up in Vancouver, the children have grown to know and love the city just like any other local Vancouverite.

However, this group of investors is unique in that they are children of wealthy businessmen who run businesses in other parts of the world. With that in mind, their sources of income are not affected very much by the local economy. However, some of these investors are big enough to have an impact on the real estate industry.

A good example of these investors is Kevin Cheung and Scott Wang. These two gentlemen entered the Vancouver real estate scene several years ago and they have been causing ripples in the industry since then. The two gentlemen run a company known as Landa Property that has so far bought several top end properties in Vancouver.

One of these purchases that has caused quite a stir in Main Street is the purchase of the Burrit Bros site. The deal has not yet been finalized but it is reported that the sellers will get $11 million for the site. As if this is not high enough, Landa Properties is reported to have bought five other expensive multi-family sites in just two years.

Critics are now saying that this new group of investors is only looking for a place to park money and push the price of property in Vancouver. These are serious allegations considering the growing demand for housing in the city.

In response to these concerns, Mr. Cheung says that Landa Property Development Ltd. is not parking money in Vancouver real estate and adds that they are moving full speed ahead in the development of their sites.

Circle Group is another company in this new wave of developers that is run by David Cai. Mr. Cai also happens to have roots in China. This company also made headlines in the real estate industry when it acquired a noteworthy site on Georgia Street and 230 acres in Port Moody on the former Imperial Oil site.

A Cleaner and Greener Environment in Main Street and the Greater Vancouver

A Cleaner and Greener Environment in Main Street and the Greater Vancouver


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In late 2015, the City of Vancouver local administration released an ambitious goal of taking the top spot in the list of green cities in North America. This will see a big boom in areas such as Main Street, Gastown, West Point Grey and even regions in the south. Four months after the release of this goal, the dream is still clear and vivid in the eyes of the local administration. This is seen in most recent development: The launch of the Renewable City Series in Telus Garden.

This follows the recent return of delegates who had been in Paris to attend the COP21. According to Mayor Gregor Robertson, Vancouver is setting the bar far much higher than before for what the “Greenest City” means. Vancouver aims to become the greenest city in North America by the year 2020.

Recent events like the planning of the bike share program with docks in Main Street and several other parts of the city that’s set to launch in summer, conservation efforts by the Vancouver Park Board and the introduction of cyclist friendly greenways are gradually making this dream a reality.

Currently, only a third of the energy used by Vancouver residents is from renewable sources. However, this is gradually improving with the city administration working towards better numbers in renewable energy use. In the city’s Renewable City Strategy, the administration seeks to get 100% of the energy used in Vancouver from renewable sources. Although this is one very ambitious goal, environmental and urban planning experts believe that it is very achievable.

Achieving this goal means dropping vehicles that use fossil fuels and a complete shift to electricity for powering commercial and residential buildings. This will generally reduce the overall energy demand while increasing the supply and use of renewable energy to create a serene and pollution free urban environment that Main Street residents can enjoy.

In the launch of the Renewable City Series on Tuesday, March 15, the delegates who attended the COP21 shared the lessons learned and their experiences in the summit. The aim of the series is to provide opportunities where discussions can be made with businesses, residents and policy makers to ensure that innovative solutions are found so as to achieve these goals.

Events will be hosted in Main Street and other parts of Vancouver to educate residents on what the renewable energy future will affect travel, buildings and the way of doing business in the city. These events will play a big role towards the achievement of a renewable city in Vancouver because it needs understanding, energy and ideas from everyone to succeed.

With events like the car free day becoming city traditions, residents of Main Street and the greater Vancouver can look forward to breathing cleaner air in a pollution free environment. However, this will need cooperation from every member of the society in Vancouver. Luckily, the local authorities are determined to ensure that these goals are achieved and the city has what it takes to successfully achieve these goals.

Downtown Eastside to get Over 100 Social Housing Units in the Recently Approved Building

Downtown Eastside to get Over 100 Social Housing Units in the Recently Approved Building


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On Tuesday, January 26, 2015 the Development Permit Board in the city of Vancouver gave a green light for the construction of a building that will have both retail and residential sections to cater for the growing needs of city residents when it comes to housing.
This residential development project will bring with it a big improvement in the number of social housing units in the city. The construction will be done on a development site with an area of 13,499 square feet. This site is located in Downtown Eastside, not very far from Chinatown at the junction of Gore Avenue and East Hastings Street.

The site is currently occupied by one and two-storey retail buildings, hence the construction of this larger building will see to it that the city makes better use of the available space, providing the same retail space in the lower floors and adding the residential units in the top floors.

The project will result in the construction of a 12-storey building at 288 East Hastings Street on the other side of the street from First United Church. The plan is to build this building with retail space on the ground floor and different types of residential spaces for different income groups in the other floors.

This will be convenient because the retail shops will have the much needed access to passers-by while at the same time, adding some decent residential space to the area. This residential space will include 6 units of handicap housing, 68 units of market housing and 104 units of social housing. Out of the 104 units of social housing, 35 will be made available at affordable shelter-rate monthly rents that will be as low as $375.

These provisions are in accordance to the housing model that is recommended by the latest Downtown Eastside Community Plan that was recently passed. This means that 60% of the units in the building are social housing units while the remaining 40% are secured market rental units. This is the first project to be built following these zoning requirements. These requirements were created to ensure that every new housing project strikes a balance between social housing and market housing thus reducing land speculation.

According to Gregor Robertson who is the current Mayor, this project will bring affordable housing to Downtown Eastside. The municipal government is aiming to create an extra 2,900 units of supportive housing and another 5,000 units of market rental housing in the city by the year 2021. They also have a goal of creating an additional 1,650 market housing units and another 1,400 social housing units in the Downtown Eastside neighborhood alone in the same period.

The Downtown East Side Community Plan was approved in March 2014 and will see to it that new housing projects follow set requirements to ensure that the area is prioritized for rental and social housing. The result will be rental buildings that can be used by people in different income brackets thus providing more housing for more people across the board.

Vancouver Park Board to bring More Nature into the City

Vancouver Park Board to bring More Nature into the City


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Vancouver Park Board is determined to ensure that the city retains as much of its natural life as possible despite the downward trend in many other parts of the world. The board administration is devoted to ensuring that Vancouver doesn’t end up as an urban concrete jungle.

This will be enforced by the latest Biodiversity Strategy that was unanimously approved by this same park board on February 1, 2016. This strategy will see to it that an additional 25 hectares of natural areas are restored or enhanced by 2020.
The areas that the board is targeting to increase include shorelines, forests, wetlands, meadows and streams. By extension, these natural lands will create homes for urban salmons and herring, pollinators and other forms of wildlife such as beavers, resulting in a beautiful natural landscape.

In addition to creating more natural lands, this 11 part action strategy seeks to protect and promote natural wildlife that is highly cherished in Vancouver. It will also see to it that residents of all areas of Vancouver have better access to nature to provide an environment where biodiversity can be celebrated. This will ensure that ecological health is sustained to be enjoyed by both current and future generations of city residents.

There are many success stories of the work done by this board in efforts to ensure that there are better and bigger natural areas in the city. The latest one being the two beavers that used the wetland created in Hinge Park as their home in summer 2015. The beavers form a deeply loved and appreciated addition to the community.

With just a little creativity, the board was able to introduce new habitats for biodiversity despite the inevitable urban development. According to Nick Page, the board biologist, opportunities similar to Hinge Park are currently being explored across the city.

Thanks to the conservation work that’s been in progress, more than 20 chum salmon have returned to Still Creek. Another notable achievement is the use of Stanley Park as home by one of the largest colonies of blue heron in North America. There’s also some unique one-of-its kind restoration work going on in New Brighton Park.

According to Sarah Kirby-Yung, who is the chair of the Vancouver Park Board, the wildlife in its natural habitat is the main reason why lots of tourists come to visit Vancouver. It’s also the reason why most Vancouver city residents prefer to live in this city.
For this reason, the park board will be giving away 3,000 trees at very low prices to try and encourage residents to increase the urban canopy. This will be done in a tree planting event that will be organized in spring.

From city extremes like Stanley Park, South Vancouver and West Point Grey to central areas like Main Street, residents can brace themselves for a cleaner breath of fresh air delivered gradually over the years thanks to the efforts by the board to improve the environment.

Main Street Set to be Home to Vancouver’s First Tech Hub

Main Street Set to be Home to Vancouver’s First Tech Hub


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More jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities will be coming to Downtown Eastside in November 2016 if current plans by the city administration to build a social innovation hub in the old Vancouver Police Department building.

Before this re-purposing, the building had been in use as home of the Vancouver Police Department until 2010. In 2010, the police department was moved and the building has so far been left vacant. Plans to use this building to house the first Technology and Social Innovation Center in Vancouver have been underway since 2014 when the project received a green light from the city administration.

The launch of the tech hub in this building will be a big step in the right direction which is in line with the city’s digital strategy. The strategy aims at promoting multidirectional digital connections among government, its citizens and businesses in the region.

Once complete, the center will house start-ups, social enterprises, clean tech companies, non-profits and micro enterprises. Through the center, these businesses will be given access to financing, training, office space and other business services.

Despite the criticism that the project received in the early stages, it is clearly a step forward because it is in line with a number of city priorities that include the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan, Greenest City Action Plan, the Economic Action Strategy, and as mentioned earlier, the Digital Strategy.

The Vancouver Community Foundation, working together with the Vancouver Economic Commission and the City administration will be tasked with finding sub-tenants. These sub-tenants will essentially be partners in the delivery of the program. In addition to providing oversight in the project, the foundation will also serve as property manager. Finding mentors and investors for the projects once construction has been completed will be the duty of the Vancouver Economic Commission.

The ground floor in the center will be used as community space which will be set aside for training, events and programs while the second floor will serve as a hub for social innovation and inclusion.

The project aims to achieve a number of objectives in Downtown Eastside that include job creation, formation of new companies and organizations, attracting investment in clean tech and growth of jobs in the area. According to Andy Borderick, the vice president of Community Investment at Vancity, this tech hub will bring solutions to both local problems in the neighborhood and problems experienced globally. By doing so, it will improve the outlook of the neighborhood while making life easier for residents.

There being no regulations restricting foreign companies from seeking space in the center, this building could potentially house large tech companies which will transform the Vancouver tech industry. In addition to this, there will be space in the 100,000 square foot building set aside for provision of office space at subsidized rates for local businesses with an environmental or social mission.

In 2014 alone, 728 new startups were launched in British Columbia. With centres like this one, this number is expected to grow significantly in the near future. Main Street on the other hand is expected to enjoy some good exposure and growth.