On a Personal Note – Giving Back to the Community
Giving back to the city where I have lived my whole life has always been important to me. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation has provided a great opportunity to get involved at both the national and local level in ensuring that women experiencing domestic violence have a safe place from which they and their children can make a transition to a better life. When my children were younger, together we volunteered, working with the families at Spring House and raising money for shelters through the annual Royal LePage garage sale. I continue to donate a portion of each sale to this important cause.
Three years ago, I agreed to join the Board of the Arts Club Theatre Company. ACTC was founded in 1958 as a private club for artists, musicians, and actors, and officially became the Arts Club Theatre in 1964 when the company opened its first stage, a converted gospel hall at Seymour Street and Davie. ACTC is now the largest theatre company in Western Canada offering over a dozen productions on three different stages to over a quarter of a million audience members each year.
One of the reasons I was enthusiastic about getting involved is that I appreciate ACTC’s deep connection to the community. Most Vancouverites have had memorable moments at Arts Club productions. In fact my history with ACTC goes back to 1973 when I had my first date there (!), and over the years I have enjoyed many of their fine productions. It is a privilege and a great responsibility to be a trustee of an organization that plays such a key role in the lower mainland.
The ‘Hood – Olympic Village
Long before I was involved with Arts Club and when the Olympic Village was still a bit of a ghost town, I could see the potential for a great neighbourhood located on the southeast corner of False Creek and close to downtown. The Olympic Village offered approximately 1000 residential units, area parks, a stunning waterfront walkway, and delightful public art installations. The Village is now fulfilling its promise. Today, along with the BMO Theatre Centre of which I am so proud, there is a great choice of restaurants, shops, and businesses.
The Village offers attractive townhouses and apartments at a range of price points from affordable to luxury, and appeals to a wide variety of buyers: downsizers, young people entering the market, and investors. This summer, one of my favourite developers launched The Creek. Calling it “Quintessential Vancouver”, Concert Properties quickly sold out Voda, the first phase of this five building development which is on the very last site on southeast False Creek. Development around the Village is also rapid with an additional 4000 residential units planned and under construction. Mountain Equipment Co-op, our beloved homegrown outdoor adventure store, has chosen a site next door to the Village for the location of its 45,000 sq. ft. flagship store scheduled to open in summer of 2018.
Vancouver’s Favourite Topic – “How’s the Market?
Every day we are seeing and hearing news about the Vancouver housing market. We’ve become a national and international news story about rising property prices, foreign investment, densification to accommodate a growing population, and character designation by-laws that seek to retain Vancouver’s heritage. In brief, there is concern about the affordability of housing in Vancouver. Although at the current time, we are seeing a very brisk market and rising prices, this is just part of a much longer term trend for Vancouver. Having been close to the market for many years, I have seen some slower times, but over the years, prices have continued to rise in what is a very attractive city. For me, the challenge remains the same. My job is to help my clients find housing that meets their needs, and fits with their lifestyle and budget. Some of you are finding opportunities with townhomes and apartments; some of you are finding that going a little farther afield works very well; and some of you are collaborating with friends and family to try out co-ownership