Metro Vancouverites oppose viaduct removal: poll

Plus, Telus trade-offs and West Coast Modern survival

Poll positions
Most Vancouverites are skeptical about the benefits of removing the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, according to an Insights West online poll. Just 36 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents polled are in favour compared to 40 per cent opposed and 23 per cent unsure.

While more than half feel removal would increase park space in downtown Vancouver (58 per cent) and create opportunities for new housing (57 per cent), 85 per cent say there is no guarantee the housing will affordable and almost three-quarters (71 percent) say developers will benefit more than average residents.

As for traffic, 70 per cent expect it to increase and only 32 per cent think people will walk more and use cars less. Three-quarters (75%) would like Vancouver city council to consider other options, including rehabilitation and replacement, and two-thirds (68%) say the estimated $200-million cost of removal would be better spent on other projects.

Give and take
Telus has given shareholders a raise—dividends will increase 10 per cent to 44 cents per share, the tenth double-digit dividend increase since 2011—but is shedding 1,500 full-time jobs. “We are increasing our efficiency initiatives by an additional $125 million in the fourth quarter, which will include a net reduction of approximately 1,500 full-time positions, a notable number of which are voluntary departures and early retirements,” said Telus president and CEO Darren Entwhistle in a statement. “These are very difficult decisions to make but a necessary element of aligning our organization with the growth, customer service and capital allocation activities we are implementing.” Telus has returned $12.2 billion or more than $20 per share to shareholders over the past decade. The company’s consolidated operating revenue grew 4.2 per cent to $3.2 billion in the third quarter of 2015 from a year earlier.

Saved from the ball
Although 1,141 demolition permits for detached homes are expected to be issued in Vancouver in 2015—more than any year in the past decade—West Vancouver’s historic Binning House has dodged the wrecking ball. The earliest example of West Coast Modern design, the 1941 house was almost sold to a developer by the Land Conservancy until UBC filed an appeal. It was recently purchased by 28-year-old realtor and West Van native Jesse Saniuk, who wants to restore and live in the house. (via North Shore News)