Archive for October, 2015

Why Chinese property buyers are going mad for the Mediterranean nations

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

Adrian Bishop

The push by Chinese real estate buyers into the United States, Australia and the UK is well established, but now it seems as if they are increasingly targeting Mediterranean nations as well.

Demand for property in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus on the leading Chinese website has risen dramatically over the last year. The index for Cyprus has climbed the highest, by 451%, although, admittedly, from a low starting point.

Even so, the smallest gain among the five countries has still seen Portugal property demand rise 227% year-on-year and all of the five countries have outperformed the European Union average.

OPP.Today asked Simon Henry, co-CEO of, why interest has grown so much in Cypriot real estate. “Cyprus is starting to get past its troubling legacy of bank failure and title transfer scandal. Buyers are noticing again what they liked about the island in the first place, which is the affordable luxury homes and the lifestyle. I don’t want to overstate the case, Cyprus has rapid growth in part because it is starting from a very low base, but it is growing.

“What surprised us about the Mediterranean is that it’s growing so much faster than the European Union as a whole. We knew Chinese buyers were seeking out property in these countries, but we didn’t realize until we ran the data that the growth was as rapid as it is. It shows that lifestyle and environment remain major motivators of some categories of Chinese international property buyers.”

The figures point to demand continuing to grow over the next five years, Mr Henry believes. “This trend points to growth in future property transactions by Chinese buyers, which will benefit these hard-hit economies.

“There are always quarterly variations in demand, but by 2020 we expect Chinese transactions in these countries to have grown significantly in number and total value.”

The ‘Golden Visa’ property-for-residency schemes operating in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece have differing degrees of success, Mr Henry points out.

“The importance of Golden Visas to high-net-worth buyers varies by the country. It has higher take up in Spain and Portugal, which is perhaps because these countries offer a more attractive package overall. For some buyers, it is very important to have the opportunity to not just invest in property but to establish the option of permanent residency in a Mediterranean country.

“Greece’s investment visa isn’t pulling buyers, but Portugal’s is. Italy is attracting more buyers despite having no investment visa,” the Purchasing Intent Index: Mediterranean Countries – Quarter 2 2015 report points out.

The combined Purchasing Intent Index for the European Union rose by more than 50%, which is a strong gain, but is relatively paltry relative to the performance of the Mediterranean countries.

“What are the primary reasons for this demand growth in Europe’s Mediterranean countries? An extended period of weak property prices in the region has combined with the growing wealth of Chinese buyers to create more opportunities for Chinese real estate purchase than in the past.

Chinese buyers are becoming more comfortable in international markets, and looking beyond the destinations that have traditionally been most popular.

“Attractive lifestyles, affordable luxury property pricing and competitive investor visa programs have added to the appeal. Property marketers have promoted the programs aggressively, implying that citizenship and a European Union passport will be relatively easy to obtain.”

Common factors that bring Chinese buyers to the Mediterranean countries include lifestyle issues in China, the desire to diversify investments and seek greater returns and the search for international educational opportunities for their children.

Here is a country-by-country breakdown of Chinese property demand:


Chinese interest in Cyprus starts from a particularly low base, given the island’s small size and the difficulties that investors have face due to the banking crisis, the title deeds scandal and allegations of overpricing.

However, the Purchasing Intent Index for Cyprus has increased furthest in relative terms of all the countries discussed in this report. It is up 102% over the prior quarter and 351% year-on-year.

The average price of Chinese property hunters in Cyprus was $815,166 in the second quarter of 2015, down 3% from the prior quarter’s average price of $837,687 and 1% down on the value of $826,998 a year earlier.

The two top destinations for Chinese buyers in Cyprus are Paphos and Limassol. Paphos in 2011 was the first Cypriot location to see large-scale Chinese purchasing.


Of the five countries covered in the report, Greece is among those with the least Chinese buyer interest in absolute terms; nevertheless, interest is increasing at a rapid rate.

The Purchasing Intent Index is up 87% in the last quarter and 218% year-on-year to overtake Portugal, but lower than those of Spain, Italy and Cyprus.

At $1,094,933, the average price paid by Chinese buyers is up 3% from a year earlier and down about the same from the prior quarter. The top Greek destination for Chinese residential property buyers is Athens.

Greece’s investment visa does not seem to be driving much demand, with the country’s overall economic and financial situation undermining its attractiveness.


Italy has seen rapidly increasing Chinese purchasing intent over the past year, with the Juwai index rising 223% over the prior year and 43% over the most recent quarter.

At $893,926, the average price is just up 4% over the prior quarter, but more significantly it is down 19% from the $1,102,876 of a year earlier. “This suggests the country is attracting an increasingly diverse group of investors, in addition to the primarily well-heeled second-home buyers of a year ago,” says the report.

The top three destinations are Milan, Rome and Venice. According to the United Nations, Italy has the largest Chinese-born population of any of the countries discussed in this report. Unlike Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus, Italy does not offer an investment visa programme.


In Portugal, the Chinese Residential Purchasing Intent Index is down 16% from its peak in the prior quarter, but still 127% higher than a year ago.

At $1,829,506, the average price is 6% higher than the prior quarter, but it is 59%higher than the $1,150,194 of a year earlier. “The average price for the past three quarters has been significantly higher than previously, suggesting that high-net-worth buyers are increasingly dominating the buyer mix.”

The higher average price in part reflects the impact of Portugal’s investment visa, which attracts many buyers to the country. The investment visa is forecast to bring in an aggregate of US$2.19billion by the end of 2015 and four out of five of the investment visas issued have gone to Chinese nationals, says

The top destinations for Chinese buyers in Portugal are Lisbon, the nearby prime suburb of Cascais and the Algarve municipality of Faro, in the country’s south.


Spain’s Chinese Residential Purchasing Intent Index has the second fastest growth. This is even more significant given that Spain also attracts the greatest number of Chinese buyers in absolute terms, of all the countries discussed here.

The Purchasing Intent Index is up 88% quarter-on-quarter and 292% over a year earlier.

At $1,035,189, the average price is 26% up quarter-on-quarter from $819,440. A year earlier, it was 9% lower, at $948,840.

Over the past year, Barcelona has been by far the most popular destination for Chinese property seekers, followed by regional capital Valencia, national capital Madrid and the southern beach resort of Marbella. However, in the second quarter of 2015, for the first time, Valencia displaced Barcelona as the most popular destination for Chinese likely buyers.

Spain’s investment visa also drives Chinese interest in real estate and the scheme captured US$768million in new investment in its first 15 months.

The Chinese population in Spain has more than tripled in the past decade, to 181,701 in 2013, from 51,228 in 2003.

The Purchasing Intent Index measures changes in Chinese buyer interest by tracking their online property hunting activity on over time.

© OPP Ventures 2014

300,000 Chinese Citizens were issued temporary resident Visas to Canada in 2014 which allows them to stay in Canada for up to 6 months a year for 10 years

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Vancouver house-buying frenzy leaves half-empty neighbourhoods

Kathy Tomlinson

When Clare Cullen looks out her windows or takes her dog for a walk, she said it often makes her sad. In every direction, she sees old houses sitting empty or lots where houses have been demolished – to be replaced by opulent new ones that she expects no one will live in.

Ms. Cullen shares an older character house with her husband and teenage children in a westside Vancouver neighbourhood. It has become a prime area for real estate investment by wealthy foreign buyers – some of whom are nowhere to be seen, she said.

“Lots of people are not home. Lots of houses are empty. Sold to the highest bidder,” said Ms. Cullen, an administrator at the University of British Columbia.

She is among several long-time residents speaking out in growing numbers about their fear that their community is disappearing.

“I see a house sold now – and you just know it’s going to get demolished. If families were then moving in and engaging, that would be different,” Ms. Cullen said. “The houses they build are empty – or people are only here for a month.”

Ms. Cullen and others said their once-ordinary street has an eerie feel. Large new homes loom darkly over their smaller, lived-in ones. Gardens and big trees have been mowed down. There are fewer parked cars, she said, and it is too quiet.

“There is a slight feeling that it’s almost unsafe, too – like if I suddenly run into trouble in the street, whose house would I knock on?” Ms. Cullen said.

She said the emptiness is particularly noticeable at Halloween, because children out trick or treating often find no one home.

Uncarved pumpkins sit on unlit steps, left there, she believes, by maintenance people hired to keep the houses looking lived-in. The companies advertise services such as “garden staging” and “vacant property maintenance.” That cottage industry is one beneficiary of the city’s soaring real estate market – which industry insiders debate endlessly.

The city does not know how many homes are vacant, but it was concerned enough to ask BC Hydro to do an unprecedented search of its data on household consumption to come up with an estimate. That work has not yet been completed.

Until recently, most residents talked about the overheated real estate market quietly as it literally came to their door in the form of flyers from realtors urging them to sell.

Their modest houses are now worth upwards of $2-million as tear-downs. Ms. Cullen and others, including Jan Kidnie, said their families would trade some of that equity to get their neighbourhood back.

“The land has become a commodity – for people to manipulate and make it impossible for my sons to ever own a house here,” said Ms. Kidnie, 72. She and her husband have owned their house for 43 years.

The Globe and Mail looked at land titles records on properties within a three-block radius in the Point Grey neighbourhood, where 13 houses are unoccupied, under construction, vacant or have been demolished. All were bought in the past five years.

Across the Cullens’ back alley sits a brand new house, built for an owner whose family, Ms. Cullen said, arrives from China every few months, but does not stay long.

Next door is just building scraps. The older house was knocked down this month. Ms. Cullen said the businessman who owns it is in Canada only during the summer.

A large new house across the street is registered to a homemaker. Ms. Cullen said it stays shuttered, with no signs of life. An old newspaper sits on the steps.

Real estate agents and accountants told The Globe and Mail some foreign clients keep new homes to use only periodically, if at all. The point, they say, is to invest as much money as possible in Canada, which is considered a financial haven.

Many come and go using Canada’s new “temporary resident” visa, which allows them to be in the country up to six months each year for 10 years with no strings attached. More than 300,000 Chinese citizens were issued those visas last year.

Residents of Ms. Cullen’s street choose their words carefully – stressing the money and absentee ownership, not ethnicity.

“It’s about wealth – extreme wealth – that could come from any area of the globe,” Ms. Cullen said. “Our community is just a place to park money – and that’s really hard for people to wrap their head around.”

Ms. Kidnie was worried enough to type up and deliver a questionnaire to 100 neighbours asking what they think of the “accelerating change,” particularly the loss of heritage homes. She received dozens of responses.

“Change is bound to happen – but this change is out of control,” Ms. Kidnie said. “I don’t want to give up on the neighbourhood. I like it.”

Residents said they are also upset by how local realtors, builders and speculators are cashing in while destroying heritage homes.

One local buyer bought an older house then put it up for sale three months later, priced $300,000 higher. The listing promoted it as a great place to “hold or build your dream home!” The property just sold for $61,000 over that list price.

Between 2012 and 2014, Vancouver issued 928 permits annually, on average, to demolish single-family homes. That jumped this year to 1,141 – issued or pending – before the end of September.

Last year, inspectors looked into 203 complaints about 85 vacant properties – twice as many as the year before – after hearing reports of untidy yards, graffiti, pests, fire risk or squatters.

The city issued 165 stop-work orders to builders in the first half of 2015. Planning director Brian Jackson said most were constructing new homes without permits because they were tired of waiting for approvals.

“Small builders are frustrated by delays,” Mr. Jackson said.

Prosecutions are pending in 66 other new cases, where large trees were allegedly cut down without permits.

Manfred Trummer said he has seen firsthand how much of a hurry the real estate industry is in. Mr. Trummer owns a 100-year-old heritage home framed by old-growth timber a block away from Ms. Cullen.

A realtor recently showed up at his door with two offers – full of typos – from buyers willing to pay more than $2-million for the house, sight unseen. He and his wife ignored them.

“It sounds great. You can get how many millions for your house,” said Mr. Trummer, a math professor. “But where do we go then, right? We like to live here. We’ve raised our kids here.

“Real estate was always a bit crazy and an unusual game in Vancouver – but it’s just become a frenzy.”

One of the offers was from a numbered company, owned by Bob Nijjar – a local real estate investor who wanted to knock the old house down.

“We made a lot of offers – on a lot of houses. We are developers, building on spec,” Mr. Nijjar told The Globe.

He said the market is becoming too hot even for him. He cannot compete with realtors who partner with developers, he said, to build for foreign clients who finance the purchase.

“When you think someone will sell you land – and then someone else comes along and pays more, it’s too competitive. Not worth our time and money,” Mr. Nijjar said.

Vancouver’s mayor is speaking about the issue more critically than he has before – particularly about how some speculators may be avoiding federal taxes.

“They are taking advantage of a lax system that has not kept up with the times,” Gregor Robertson said in an interview with The Globe. “Government is not covering the bases and that means this activity gallops along.”

Specifically, there are questions about whether goods and services and capital gains taxes are paid when properties with newly built homes are resold.

According to the Canada Revenue Agency, builders must charge the GST on the full sale price of a brand new home. However, if the registered owner or relative uses that new house as a principal residence – even briefly – before selling it, they do not have to charge the tax.

They can then list it at a higher price because, for example, a $3-million purchase in Vancouver would not have $150,000 in GST on top of it. The seller also does not pay capital gains tax on their profits, as a non-resident investor would.

The CRA has penalized people in the past who have done this repeatedly, referring to it as “house hopping.” The mayor said he wants federal auditors to “accelerate” that in his city.

“There’s an opportunity to harvest some of that profit … to close the loopholes where they might exist with GST and capital gains tax to make sure the system is fair,” Mr. Robertson said.

Four of the 13 properties The Globe looked at had been resold at least once since 2011. In each case, the older home bought by an individual was knocked down, then a new one was built and sold for twice what the investor paid initially.

One of the new homes under construction is registered in the names of individuals – real estate agent Sam Mehrbod and builder Morteza Mehrbod – not in the name of the developer they work for, Excellentia Homes. They did not reply to The Globe’s requests for an interview.

Vancouver’s mayor also wants the B.C. government to bring in a tax on speculators who “flip” those homes within a year or two. So far, he said, B.C. Premier Christy Clark has been “slow to react.”

“It’s irresponsible government when the system is not fair and wealthy people can capitalize on that without contributing their fair share – and housing affordability is impacting everybody else,” Mr. Robertson said.

Copyright 2016 The Globe and Mail Inc.

Old Floodplain Maps Put British Columbians at Risk

Friday, October 30th, 2015


Only 21% of BC communities and First Nations have access to a floodplain map that is ten years old or less, according to the BC Floodplain Map Inventory Report, published by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). Nearly 31% reported they no access to floodplain maps at all.

“Floodplain maps support decision making by showing risks to existing and proposed developments and infrastructure, and help support resilient growth and emergency planning,” says researcher and community planner Catherine Parsons. “But, to be effective, floodplain maps must be updated regularly to reflect changes in land development, the environment and climate.”

The BC Floodplain Map Inventory Report identifies the BC floodplain maps created or updated in the last ten years. It also describes how floodplain maps are used, the public availability of maps, availability of supporting data, and challenges and opportunities communities have experienced with floodplain mapping projects. This report helps to identify gaps in floodplain mapping and highlights the need for upto- date floodplain information in BC.

Seventy two BC local governments and First Nations participated in the research, which consisted of a survey and follow-up interviews.

“Communities around the province are grappling with many challenges, and floodplain mapping is just one example,” notes Dr. Nathan Vadeboncoeur, President of the not-for-profit Community Risk Network and a contributor to the research. “Many communities, in particular small and rural municipalities, lack the time and resources required to update their floodplain maps. Developing a clearer picture of what needs to be done around British Columbia to build flood resilience is an important step toward helping communities manage flooding.”

The report results suggest that better information about floodplain maps, guidelines for their development, data standardization, and stronger funding mechanisms will all improve the state of floodplain mapping in BC. Better floodplain maps will make communities, First Nations and the entire province more resilient.

Visit to read the full report.

Copyright ©2015 BCREA

What you need to know about age and pet restiriction bylaws

Thursday, October 29th, 2015


Download Document

Stratus at 2008 Rosser Ave., Burnaby 368 homes in a 45-storey tower in the Solo District by Appia Developments

Thursday, October 29th, 2015


Download Document

The Residence at Lynn Valley 1199 Lynn Valley Road North Vancouver by Bosa

Thursday, October 29th, 2015


Download Document

The Jervis 1171 Jervis Street 58 homes in a 19-storey tower by intracorp

Thursday, October 29th, 2015


Download Document

Vancouver Real Estate at “Low Risk” of “Problematic Conditions:” CMHC Report

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Report identifies four markets at high risk and most areas at increased risk of overvaluation, but remains confident Vancouver can support its prices

Joannah Connolly

There is “weak evidence of problematic conditions” in Vancouver’s housing market, according to the latest quarterly report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) issued October 29.

The corporation’s October Housing Now report, which is an update of August’s edition, said that Vancouver, Victoria and Canada as a whole are not suffering from overbuilding, overheating of demand or acceleration in house price growth – although there is  increased concern about overvaluation in 11 out of Canada’s 15 key housing markets. 

Every quarter, the CMHC examines real estate in 15 major metropolitan centres and identifies four high-risk indicators:

  • overheating of demand in the housing market (demand significantly outpacing supply);
  • acceleration in the growth rate of house prices;
  • overvaluation in the level of house prices; and,
  • overbuilding of the housing market (supply significantly outpacing demand, which can reflect excess new construction and/or a decline in demand for existing homes).

The report found Vancouver at low risk – unchanged from the previous report – of overheating, price growth acceleration and overbuilding.

The report said, “The indicator for overheating of demand is below its threshold in the second quarter, despite resale market conditions favouring sellers.”

However it said that it now detected a “moderate” risk of overvaluation in Vancouver real estate, considering that prices had increased since the previous quarter with no corresponding increases in economic conditions.

Victoria was found to be at low risk in all four indicators. 

This compares with Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Regina, which were all found to be displaying “strong evidence of problematic conditions.”

Of Toronto, the report said, “Inventories of both new and existing single-detached homes have been declining, which has contributed to rapid price growth in this segment. The continued rise in house prices has not been matched by growth in economic and demographic fundamentals, giving rise to strong evidence of overvaluation.”

Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, added, “Problematic overvaluation conditions in local housing markets could be resolved by moderation in house prices and/or improving economic conditions.”

© 2015 Real Estate Weekly

Whistler Real Estate Buoyed by Vancouver Detached Home Sale Frenzy: Agent

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Soaring single-family home prices and sales in the city are having a knock-on effect in ski town, says Whistler real estate agent

Joannah Connolly

The money being poured into single-family homes in Vancouver’s wealthiest areas is having an unexpected but beneficial effect on the previously struggling real estate market in Whistler, according to a luxury real estate agent in the ski resort town.

Shauna O’Callaghan, an agent with Macdonald Realty, told that the “secondary” effect of detached homes in Greater Vancouver going for record prices is that some of the families selling those homes are moving out of the city, with the proceeds of the sale funding their new “dream” life in Whistler.

“Generally we are seeing an increased influx in families, whether younger or older families, in Whistler,” O’Callaghan told “They tend to be Canadian families who have previously spent their weekends in Whistler and have recently benefitted from the sale of their Vancouver home, which is enabling them to live the dream in Whistler on a full-time basis.

“A typical scenario might be a family with kids who sold a West Side home for $3 million, and buy a similar home in Whistler for $1.5 million. The proceeds are enabling the parents to maybe work a bit less and enjoy the Whistler lifestyle more.”

O’Callaghan added that Whistler real estate activity has increased by 10 per cent in the past couple of years, and that housing inventory was getting increasingly tight in the resort town after a slow period a few years ago.

“We’ve seen a lot of new families coming in to live here full-time, and school registrations are up,” she said.

Empty-nesters are another demographic that is seeing an increase in Whistler, as older and retiring couples with adult children downsize from their single-family city homes to a more affordable Whistler property, and boosting their retirement coffers with the proceeds, according to O’Callaghan.

© 2015 Real Estate Weekly

Vancouver council votes to demolish viaducts

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Estimated cost of project, which includes building new road network, is $200 million

Mike Howell
Van. Courier

The Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts are coming down.

In a 5-4 vote Tuesday night, the ruling Vision Vancouver council agreed with a staff recommendation to proceed with a $200-million plan to demolish the elevated roadways that have served as a link from Chinatown and Strathcona to downtown since the 1970s.

“We’re basically trading an aging piece of infrastructure that’s under-used from a past century — a relic of a failed transportation policy — for an improved road network that can serve a dense new Northeast False Creek neighbourhood and connect the downtown and Chinatown and other neighbourhoods to False Creek,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson after hearing from more than 50 people over two days who largely supported the plan to tear down the viaducts.

Robertson credited Vision Coun. Geoff Meggs for leading the charge to remove the viaducts, a move supported by Vision councillors Tim Stevenson, Heather Deal and Raymond Louie. The vote, which occurred without Vision councillors Andrea Reimer and Kerry Jang present, has a place in the city’s history books since it overturns a decision made a century ago to build the original Georgia viaduct in 1915 before it was replaced with the existing structures.

“It’s important to keep in mind that the decision we make today could turn the page on a really long chapter in Vancouver’s history and spell the end of the freeway battle that defined the city in the 1970s,” Meggs said.

The decision came despite opposition from Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr and the three NPA councillors — Elizabeth Ball, Melissa De Genova and George Affleck, who cited concerns about costs, increased traffic, the delivery of a long-awaited park and unknown benefits to landowners.

“I actually think we’re creating a highway right through the middle of a park, and I think that’s a real problem,” said Affleck, noting he lives in Yaletown with young children. “The kind of traffic that we’re going to be seeing in this neighbourhood on the other side of False Creek is a real concern to me.”

Robertson and his Vision councillors pointed to suggestions from speakers and benefits outlined in a city staff report as reasons to free up the large swath of land under the viaducts. Some of the speakers represented the black community and urged council to commemorate the history of Hogan’s Alley while others cautioned politicians not to turn the land into a forest of expensive highrises.

There were suggestions that a First Nations longhouse be built and that any future arterial routes constructed to alleviate traffic changes from removal of the viaducts exclude Malkin Avenue so to preserve community gardens that exist on the avenue’s right-of-way.

The benefits identified in the staff report include:

  • Accelerating the construction of a long-awaited extension of Creekside Park, now promised to cover 13 acres of vacant asphalt that stretches along the seawall from Science World.
  • Creating up to 300 units of “affordable housing” on the city-owned blocks that straddle Main Street and examine ways to pay tribute to the historic neighbourhood of Hogan’s Alley.
  • Reconnecting the historic communities of Chinatown, Gastown, Strathcona, Thornton Park, Victory Square and the Oppenheimer district to the waterfront, which will include a reconstructed seawall.
  • The construction of an elevated pathway to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians on the downtown side at Dunsmuir Street and connect to Creekside Park.

Council’s vote was based on a plan recommended by city staff that said the viaducts need up to $65 million in repairs to keep them standing after a moderate earthquake. Traffic counts also showed the viaducts are underutilized — even at “45,000 person trips by vehicle over a 24-hour period” — and used at less than half of their designed capacity.

Key to the development of a new neighbourhood will be a road network anchored by a four-lane, two-way section of Georgia Street known as “the Georgia ramp” that will slope down and pass between Rogers Arena and B.C. Place Stadium, over top of Expo Boulevard, to a six-lane Pacific Boulevard.

Jerry Dobrovolny, the city’s head of engineering, said the road network will allow for 10 per cent more capacity for vehicles but will slow traffic by one to three minutes. Unlike the viaducts, Dobrovolny said, the network will provide a variety of routes into and out of downtown and accommodate future development.

Despite fears of residents living in Strathcona and other east side neighbourhoods that traffic will increase on their streets, Dobrovolny said the impact will be “none.” He cited studies that showed a large number of vehicles that use the viaducts originate from the Boundary Road corridor and Tri-Cities.

With the Evergreen Skytrain line from Coquitlam to Commercial Drive expected to open next year, along with the addition of B-line buses along Hastings, Dobrovolny said those transit improvements should see more people choosing to leave their vehicles at home.

“The modeling has shown that there will be no spillover effects on the neighbouring neighbourhoods,” he said, noting staff is studying the possibility that Malkin or National streets will be converted into a major arterial road to alleviate vehicle traffic on Prior and Venables.

Retired City of Vancouver engineer Ian Adam has long disputed the city’s claims about a replacement road network being more efficient than the viaducts.

“Anybody who thinks you can take down two major viaducts like that, which handles 60,000 people a day and a thousand heavy trucks a day — and not have some impact — they’ve got to be dreaming in Technicolor,” he told the Courier in August.

Adam since wrote a letter to council in advance of Tuesday’s vote, outlining a list of concerns in which he predicted congestion, increases in greenhouse gas emissions, delays with people and goods reaching downtown and Pacific Boulevard turned into “a quasi-freeway.”

“The proponents seem to see only the information they want to see, and any mention of negative issues is immediately dismissed,” he wrote.

Brian Jackson, the city’s head planner, said it was important for council to make a decision now to avoid mounting costs in the future. As a former Toronto planner managing that city’s waterfront, Jackson said Toronto waited until it was too late to consider demolishing the Gardiner Expressway.

“If it’s not done now before the Concord lands are developed, and before the park is delivered, the options for removal of the viaducts will either be gone or become that much more expensive and more complicated,” he told council.

The issues related to removal of the viaducts are complex. They involve negotiations with landowners, including Concord Pacific, and the provincial government. Concord purchased the former Expo 86 properties in 1988 from the government and will see its land increase in value once the lands are reconfigured.

The city anticipates the project will be paid for with development-related revenues, the sale or lease of lands, senior government contributions and “other strategic partnerships.” The city expects it will generate a surplus of $100 million once the project is finalized. The city’s staff report says the entire project, including building a new street network, housing, amenities and developing the park, could take until 2025 to complete.

© 2015 Vancouver Courier