Yep, I’m back to work.
And it’s a good thing, too.
I couldn’t take much more of this thing called a summer vacation.
No email, no Twitter, no city council meetings, no police board meetings, no deadlines—seriously, how is a civic affairs journo to survive?
It wasn’t easy, folks.
So what did I miss?
According to the gazillion emails I received and a glance I took at some of the other news agencies’ offerings, there wasn’t any one event in town that would have caused me to abandon the family on the beach.
- The City of Vancouver’s announcement that the 800-block of Robson Street, between Hornby and Howe, will remain closed to vehicles until…the end of the year!
Another bike lane?
It’s because the stretch of block has essentially been a real happenin’, chillin’ place to hang out sans ear-grating boom cars rolling by all exhaust like.
Mayor Gregor Robertson said so in so many words in a canned quote that came with the news release. Robertson noted the popularity of the experiment over the past two summers and during the 2010 Winter Games.
“It’s been a very popular destination for people to enjoy music, impromptu performances, creative types of outdoor seating and a place to relax and enjoy our downtown.”
It was also, by the way, a great place to get Olympic tickets from scalpers, as witnessed when I interviewed “Danny from London” about the fistful of tickets he and his mates were selling in February 2010.
The recently installed “Pop Rocks” seating, which is made out of recycled Canada Place sails, will remain on the street through September, or as weather permits.
Way back in December 2010, city council told city staff to examine the creation of a public square along that stretch of Robson.
- The City of Vancouver’s announcement that “6,000 and related spin-off jobs were created in the city’s housing and commercial/industrial sector as building permit values reached $1.1 billion during the first half of 2012.”
Before I go any further on this one, I should note I’m always skeptical about job numbers and the spin that goes along with them. So is my colleague Allen Garr, who is on the case. Look for his next column.
If, in fact, 6,000 jobs were created, where are these people working?
The city pointed to a 22-storey residential tower at 999 Seymour, a 36-storey office tower at 1021 West Hastings St., the Vancouver Hilton at 177 Robson St. and the Granville Safeway, which is part of a project that includes two residential towers and retail space.
Commercial and industrial construction in the first six months is up, too, according to the city, which believes its overhaul of its permits and licences department helped speed up development.
The city says processing time for single-family home construction permits was reduced from 15 to 18 weeks to six to eight weeks. Work is also underway to reduce the number of business licence categories from 640 to closer to 100.
- The opening of London Drugs at the Olympic Village! Or should I call it the Village at False Creek? Or just the Village? I’m thinking the opening of the drugstore and its huge selection of pain relief medication couldn’t come sooner for regulars of the nearby pub prone to tipping back one too many—or this journo, who just advertised a store opening.
I realize the Village/Olympic Village/Village at False Creek/Le Village/Villagio/Viva Village and its growing pains are news. But why is it that some of us media types believe the opening of a store or people queuing up to buy the latest Apple product or a 300-square foot condo is worth a story?
Man, I’m cranky.
Time for a holiday.