Tuesday, December 05, 2006
exodus - a gutted city
It's been all over the news lately(?), but as usual, it's over-simplified, but I think that this is a harbinger of things to come.
There are all kinds of trumpetings about the economy and such, but really, it's the same old guys making the cash while the populace at large pays. Ill-conceived mega projects, Gateway this and twin your P3 that. Sell that and surplus this. Double down and spin the wheel. The VSE never went away (except for poor ol' Murray Pezzim R.I.P.)
The smart money is getting the hell out of Dodge, and has been since before this housing market got going. There was a write up in BC Business about it exerpted below.
Our economy is booming. So why are head offices leaving and taking jobs with them?
...the head-office picture in Greater Vancouver is bleak. ...in decline for more than a decade, both in number of headquarters and, more importantly, in the number of jobs ...
In metropolitan Vancouver, head-office employment also declined by 29 per cent 1999-2005.
These are the types of jobs that make a "world-class city" - as opposed to a vacation destination.
...over the same time period, those employment numbers climbed by a whopping 64.4 per cent in Calgary, 19.1 per cent in Toronto, 15.5 per cent in Edmonton and 28.4 per cent in Ottawa.
So why are people still flocking to Vancouver? Residential and Olympic construction. It sure isn't the training wage.
Should we care? Life is good, the provincial economy is booming (for now, anyway), employment levels have never been higher and the Olympics are coming. Do we really need more head offices? PricewaterhouseCoopers senior tax manager Ian Heine, says yes, unequivocally.
The Olympics are coming! The Olympics are coming! Strangely, that refrain sounds identical to the sky is falling! in my addled brain. And life is good. Cool. I'm feeling better now. I did like the caveat (for now, anyway). Was the writer being cheeky?
Greater Vancouver has often been criticized for relying too heavily on its natural attributes as the main draw...
Rightly so in my view. Everyone knows that this is the greatest place on Earth, we just are not sure why.
“People come here...And they finally get our culture: they see all of Vancouver living the lifestyle that we’re promoting.”
Just what is our culture? Coffee on Denman? Shopping on Robson? Admiring our friends' granite counter tops? Sailing in the morning, golfing in the afternoon, and skiing at night? Who does that? Our culture is a brand that has been foisted upon us. Most residents of the city can't even see the mountains - even on a clear day.
...there are financial and logistical challenges to the Vancouver headquarters.
"Distance from the big eastern consumer base, the length of flights to the east and the eventual need for an eastern warehouse, and the need for an eastern office that could outgrow the Vancouver office"
Those same challenges apply to all the rich foreigners and retirees that are rushing here too. It has been asserted, by others before, that retirees are going to want to be close to their families, so why would they be interested in moving here. It's all a bunch of hooey.
Vancouver started out as a mill town out on the frontier, and it is still very much like that.
It's just like Oz.