Tuesday, November 3, 2015


There is an undeclared war raging in the "Lower Mainland" of British Columbia and even though no blood is being shed, there will continue to be many casualties. Taxpayers, home owners, and new immigrants from China, to name the most obvious.  Trapped like a viper in a basket, the city of Vancouver is desperate to maintain to its decades-old hegemony over all neighbouring cities, and though the combined population and wealth of Burnaby and Surrey overtake it, the Vancouver political elites will continue to sneer contemptuously at harder working sister cities. In addition, the Vancouver municipality will never cease fighting an ideological battle with the Liberal Government in Victoria (they literally hate Premier Christy Clark), and that campaign is at the certain expense of all other communities in B.C. Vancouver is always demanding more power and taxing authority for itself, and constantly generating greedy schemes that will only serve to limit citizen's right to enjoy their freedoms and their property.  Like any trapped predator, Vancouver is dangerous.  I love my own city, Burnaby, and I find repugnant Vancouver's perpetual plotting for ever more power.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing a few stories which should matter to those who call Metrotown Burnaby their home.

Burnaby B.C. - Historical Development,  book  1995
"Suburb of Happy Homes" - the condescending label applied
to Burnaby in a VANCOUVER  SUN article published in 1942.

METROPLACE building,  Burnaby  Metrotown
METROTOWN was a powerhouse location even before the current 
development boom. The Metroplace Tower is just one of many 
recent projects that are completely transforming the community.

Top Burnaby Metrotown Realtor 
Loses License to Sell for One Year
Assuming that advertising doesn't stretch the bounds of truth,  Lester Lin has been a very successful realtor of late.  Here is an example of one of his advertisements -  "#1 Listing Realtor in Burnaby", scraped from the Internet.

Lester Lin - #1 Listing Realtor in Burnaby

If you read his other display ads in the back issues of the Real Estate weeklies you can see what an impressive position he maintained in the marketing of high-end properties, many of them in prosperous South Slope, behind Burnaby Metrotown.

When a realtor of this stature gets censured by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia it's a Big Deal, or at least I thought so.  The Council slapped Mr. Lin's hands in a decision rendered on August 17, 2015 and it was published on the Council's website on September 22.  As far as I can determine, no  news agency covers these releases, but they should, because such unethical practices make the public suspicious about the industry in general, and even mistrustful of other realtors who have spotless records.  Mr. Lin actually runs his business from offices in East Vancouver, but clearly Burnaby is his target market.  For the coming year he cannot write contracts himself, while he undergoes remedial training, but of course he has junior realtors at hand to service his client base. 

For a complete copy of the Disciplinary Decision, go to
the Website of the Real estate Council of British Columbia.

The R.E.G.B.V. statistics released this morning (Nov. 3) show that residential property sales went up almost 20% compared to October 2014.  There is an immense amount of money changing hands each month,  and honest mistakes are costly enough. Deliberate fraud or deceptive practices can only be wiped out by strict enforcement of standards and greater efforts at educating the public - especially new arrivals from Taiwan and China who are not accustomed to our laws and business practices.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Drone overflights - Burnaby Metrotown

Ronald J. Jack

DJI Phantom 2 over Burnaby Metrotown - Feb. 2015

This could be fun.  I am looking for interesting U.A.V. (Drone) video taken over Burnaby Metrotown.  A good start is this mix of daytime - dusk - early evening coverage I found on YouTube.  It was posted on the FLYIN PHANTOM YouTube account in January of 2015.

DJI Phantom 2 with GoPro 4
The excited film maker also posted a photo of his new gear.
He used a DJI Phantom 2 U.A.V., that he purchased for less
than $800, and mated it with a GoPro 4 camera.  A good combo!

As I find other Burnaby Metrotown U.A.V. video I will add SCREENSHOTS and LINKS here.  I am particularly keen to see U.A.V. video of major construction sites and the Skytrain stations in the Metrotown corridor.  I will share any video of quality that I find.

Drone video capture - Kingsway at Metrotown, Burnaby
Screen capture - U.A.V. is looking straight down Kingsway.
The Sovereign, which hosts "The Element" Hotel,  currently
dominates Metrotown. It is Burnaby's tallest structure. 

U.A.V.  Recently Made Local News
A few may remember when a U.A.V. operated above Richmond, made the local NEWS.  In April of 2014 the local affiliate of  CTV NEWS did a story on a drone video that had been web-published on YOUTUBE.  The U.A.V. operator  skillfully captured a steady continuous shot of a passenger aircraft landing at Vancouver's airport (YVR), and the report mixed official outrage with dire predictions of a U.A.V. bringing down an big aircraft.  If they haven't done so yet, YVR will eventually install disrupters around their property that will disable any hobbyists who get too close with U.A.V.s.

Dangerous Drone Flight - Vancouver Airport - YVR

Thursday, October 29, 2015

THE LAST HALLOWEEN - Burnaby's only VALUE VILLAGE soon to be just a ghost of the past

Ronald J. Jack

KINGS CROSSING - Edmonds at Kingsway, Burnaby, B.C.
KINGS CROSSING -  7350 Edmonds (cor.  Edmonds and Kingsway)  Burnaby.
Three towers -  stepping up from 26 - 36 storeys high.

I often compose Blog articles while I'm sweating on the treadmill at a local gym. It's a useful trick that keeps me from staring down at the digital display, and counting the minutes.  I work out at the well-equipped CLUB 16 in High Gate Village Mall where, if the weather is cooperative, I can also enjoy the view of Mount Baker looming on the American side of the border.  Pounding the treadmill I can further distract myself by watching the wacky antics of drivers who use a busy parking lot shared by a McDonald's and ME-n-ED's pizzeria. Off to the East I can just make out the shoulders of the VALUE VILLAGE property on Kingsway. (see photo below) The popular thrift store occupies the building left by a chain-grocery which relocated to Metrotown over two decades ago.  Developers have been drooling over the site for years, and now "V.V." has had its lease run out. The doors close on November 21st and there is simply no replacement, because land values in our area rule out construction of a stand-along thrift store with apron parking. Employees with seniority have the option of transferring to other locations.   It's good to hear they didn't all lose their employment.

KINGS CROSSING development site - Burnaby, B.C. - Oct. 2015

None of this is news, as such.  The property was purchased a few years ago and the development proposal went through the usual Public Hearing process.  The developers planned on using every inch of the land, with three high-rise condo towers, an office building, a retail podium and a hefty inventory of parking -  898 residential stalls and 529 commercial parking stalls.  In order to get their tower plans approved by the NDP controlled municipality, the developer paid a stiff  $14.93 million "density bonus" - and the entire amount of that density tax will we passed on to the purchasers of individual unit.  The sky-high costs will, as usual, be entirely blamed on labour, materials and market demand.

G.V.R.D. Parking Tax
Parking is always an issue with me. One of  the reasons I use the CLUB 16 gym in High Gate Village Mall, is because they offer FREE parking, and it is ample. When Kings Crossing is completed I wouldn't count on their parking being FREE, as it is in nearby Metrotown.  The  G.V.R.D. gets away with taxing ALL commercial parking stalls in "Greater Vancouver" - using that money to lubricate the public transit system.  [The G.V.R.D. is our UN-ELECTED 4th level of government.] The reason Metropolis - Station Square - Crystal Mall  continued to have free parking after the tax came in, was that mall owners absorbed the GVRD tax.  Their generosity has been reciprocated, I think, as we all continue to choose Metrotown over most other retail destinations, and the lots are already filling up by mid-morning.  Because the Station Square parking decks were knocked for redevelopment of the site, Metroplis parking on the weekends is now a challenge.  The jury is out on the important question of whether the re-opened Station Square will continue to provide free parking to retail customers.   

Value Village property in Burnaby will redevelop as KINGS CROSSING

I will miss the old Value Village store, as will thousands of competitive browsers. Their book department usually has a better selection than CHAPTER'S offers in Metrotown Mall,  and I have sent many students to V.V. buy very cheap copies of the Classics.  I drop in about once-a-month to look over their DVD selection, as I am a film buff.  I know for a fact that fully  3/4 of my CRITERION Collection DVDs came out of that Edmonds store.  I saved a bundle.  While I hasten to add that the HMV store in Metropolis has a good offering of the CRITERION basics,  their full retail price is a real bruising.

KINGS CROSSING Sales Centre - Edmonds in Burnaby

TOWN CENTRES - a half century of managed growth
For newcomers to Burnaby who wonder why the city does not have a single-unifying "downtown", (although we all agree on Metrotown) and why high-rises are shooting into the sky in all four corners of the city - here is a map from a study published in February 1966.  When the municipality decided on the "Town Centre" approach, they designated three new Town Centres -  Brentwood,  Metrotown  and Lougheed.  At the time less was expected of Edmonds, and it was designated a "District" It was finally upgraded to a Town Centre by vote of City Council in September of 1994.  Edmonds has its own Skytrain Station and forest of condo towers, and there is every indication growth will continue until Metrotown ridge is completely developed.

I am really enthused by the name "Kings Crossing" and I congratulate CRESSSEY for choosing it.  I also like the project logo, but I do find it curious that it is so similar to that of METROPOLIS at Metrotown.

What do you think?

Metropolis at Metrotown - signage

HALLOWEEN SPIRIT at  CLUB 16,  Highgate Village

Halloween Costumes in Burnaby - Oct. 30, 2015

The staff at CLUB 16 fitness center in Highgate Village put a bowl of Halloween candy on the counter this morning.  Naughty! Still, they look great in their costumes and I thought I would share a photo. Trevor Linden you have spirited staff.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Coming Attractions - Burnaby Metrotown

METROPOLIS SHOPPING CENTRE - Burnaby Metrotown - Oct 2015
METROPOLIS Shopping Centre  -  Burnaby Metrotown
Assessed Value -  $1,078 Billion.  Nothing in Vancouver comes close.
And the Parking is still FREE !  Over 8000 parking stalls.
SILVER CITY is promoting SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond Film.

This is just a temporary barker page, to register the title and set up a Blogger address.  I will be tinkering with the template and setting up my format quite soon.  METROTOWN is Burnaby's central shopping district and its trendiest place to live. Currently the urban area is BOOMING, and I enjoy watching it grow. In this Newsy Blog I will share what I am seeing and what I am hearing. Stay tuned.