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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:58 am
 


bootlegga wrote:
stratos wrote:
One of the problems here in Austin is that they build and or revamp infrastructure for current needs not projected needs of the future. So when all the road work was done a few years ago there was no improvement to drive time for people.


Actually the problem is that they build roads and they fill up faster than projected. The ring roads in Edmonton and Calgary were originally projected to have 40,000 vehicles per day tops - within a few years of opening them, parts or the roads are already seeing twice that.



I would agree with you except for the fact that Columbus Ohio and Austin Texas have close to the same population and similar demographics. Columbus infrastructure in regards to road design is far superior to Austin's. I know in the late 70's and early 80's they were planning roads based on 2010 projected numbers.

Austin in the 90's built roads to handle 1990's traffic.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:13 am
 


andyt wrote:
I seriously doubt that welfare recipients pack the voting power or have the money for donations and graft to sway elections or control politicians on either the provincial or municipal level. Things must just be very different where Bart lives.


They are.

https://www.facebook.com/mlive/posts/10152833853188896

That's just one example of Democrat-sponsored 'non-profit' organizations that transport people to the polls. The infamous ACORN group was disbanded over numerous substantiated cases of voter registration fraud and voter manipulation.

Curiously, the Democrats have a monopoly on this kind of thing.

When you Google 'Republicans' and 'voter fraud' all you find are stories of Republicans outraged by Democrat vote fraud.

Interestingly, in the various states where photo ID is now required for voting the charges of vote fraud have all but disappeared. Yet it's the Democrats who continually insist that requiring a photo ID for voting is 'racist' yet somehow it's okay to require photo ID for Obamacare.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:57 pm
 


Thanos wrote:
Sorry, but there's no way the City deliberately stymying affordable suburban/outer city developments in favour of boosting unaffordable (for most) inner city development hasn't affected prices. Buy an inner city lot for $1 million, demolish the existing single-family house, then build a multi-unit dwelling with each unit costing at least $500K? Except for double incomes or someone with an executive level job who can afford that? This City Council is distinctly unfriendly towards affordability, as witnessed by the major-league of villainy backstab they did on the low-income residents of the Midfield Trailer Park (and, no, that place wasn't where Ricky and Julian were doing their thing, it was where single moms and seniors on low incomes were living because they couldn't afford anything else). I stand by it, as I'm seeing it first hand, this left-wing city government in Calgary has been entirely more unconcerned (if not outright hostile) to any non-wealthy citizens and residents than any other so-called conservative council ever has been, and that includes when Ralph Klein was mayor. Yes, it's mostly a supply-and-demand crisis, but this current council has done everything it possible could to add that extra layer of difficulty to the average person in this town.

I'm only staying here because of my family. I hate being brusque about it because it feels morbid, but when my mom passes away I'm getting out of Calgary as fast as I can. Even the damn hellhole condos with their shitty management boards and excessive maintenance fees are now far too expensive. You mention a place like Barrhead? Well, that's the kind of place I'm going to have to end up living in because too many factors are just making it too difficult to stay in this town for much longer.


This all goes back to my original assertion - you can't just keep building out, you have to eventually start building up.

I remember an article from e Edmonton Journal a while back that noted that Edmonton will spend over $1 billion in the comimg decades to build new suburs. That because the city pays for infra like roads, sewers, etc and relies on property taxes to pay for them. I would guess Calgary is facing similar costs. I would try and find you tye link but I'm on my tablet and it's terrible for cutting and pasting things like that.

As fore idea knocking down one old house and putting up a triplex or quadplex, I think it's brilliant as it solves two problems at once (making existing neighbourhoods more dense & revitalizing older neighbourhoods). Some developers have begun doing it here too and I fully support it.

While you're correct that not everyone can afford it, many can and it's a far better option than a condo for families.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:32 pm
 


Winnipegger wrote:
A few years ago, Glen Murray was mayor of Winnipeg. He's from Montreal. He thought limiting urban sprawl was an issue, that encouraging people to live in apartment or condo towers was the answer. But most people don't want that. And Winnipeg has land.


I don't think it was Murray not recognizing the lack of geographic constraint. As with Hume and Keesmaat, for I think for him it was all about the social engineering. They believe, with a conviction bordering on the religious, that if you squeeze people together tightly enough, they will be forced to become more communalistic and their politics will consequently move to the left. They can then gerrymander the wards/ridings to seal the deal.

For them, the dense, "progressive" urban core is a diamond, and we're the coal. They're especially fond of squeezing the socioeconomic layers together.

When he tried to switch to federal politics under the Liberals (a move that his fellow urban snob Adam Vaughan would more successfully replicate years later), Murray's hubris convinced him that he could win as an MP in one of those suburban areas he had held in such contempt as mayor. It would have been like Vaughan running for a federal seat in Scarborough. Thanks to that hubris, my province is now stuck with him.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:05 pm
 


Murray grew up in my childhood neighborhood and was a couple of years behind me in high school. Believe me, there was nothing geographically constrained about that sprawling, affluent suburbia save that it is on an island. Maybe the open spaces of Winnipeg put the zap to him but he didn't learn it as a kid.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:43 pm
 


Zipperfish wrote:
Average house price in Vancouver is coming up on a million.


$1,002,200 as of yesterday.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:48 pm
 


Thanos wrote:



Quick Remax search ranging from Red Deer to Strathmore to Fort MacLeod says that prices for house/condos are about $100-150K lower than in Calgary, which means despite the influx the areas outside of Calgary/Fort McMeth/parts of Edmonton are still affordable.


No shit eh? Go to Langley or Maple Ridge and house prices are about half what they are in Vancouver. All of Metro Vancouver has influx of people, but the big increase in housing costs is Vancouver - Burnaby is already cheaper. WTF this has to do with building condos or left wing councils is beyond me. Prices go up where people are willing to pay them, pure and simple. Left or right councils have nothing to do with it. Your argument is just ranting, has no merit.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:44 pm
 


This is getting off topic, but I have one idea to contain house prices: Raise minimum down payment. Government created CMHC to help average working people who couldn't afford a house. My mother told me when she and Dad bought their first house (when she was pregnant with me) in the early 1960s, minimum down payment was 50%. When I bought my house in 1990, minimum without mortgage insurance was 25%, minimum with 10%. Today minimum without is 20%, minimum with 5%. By making the initial purchase more accessible, home builders have raised the price. Corporate executives feel if a certain percentage of the population can't afford their product, that's Ok. As long as a large enough proportion can. They're out to maximize profit. So helping young couples afford the down payment has just raised the purchase price so the minimum down payment is what it was. This is not helping. In fact, it results in home owners being slaves to the bank longer. So:
  • raise minimum down payment without mortgage insurance to 25%
  • raise minimum down payment with to 10%
  • deny any mortgage insurance application with down payment of 25% or more

That just sets it back to what it was in 1990. But there's the risk that banks will demand home owners pay a smaller down payment to ensure CMHC takes the risk, not the bank. When a house is foreclosed, equity in the house is supposed to pay for legal expenses, real estate fees, cost to prepare the house for sale, etc. The whole point of mortgage insurance is to cover those costs for a house with little equity. So with larger down payment, mortgage insurance shouldn't be necessary. But banks may insist on mortgage insurance anyway. If CMHC receives an application with less than 25% down, but the home buyer has sufficient resources to pay that, should the application be denied anyway?

Raising down payment will reduce amortization period, so reduce consumer debt. But will also make first time home ownership more difficult. That will reduce demand, so should put pressure to reduce real estate prices. This may sound difficult for young couples, but in the long term is a good thing.

By the way, premium for mortgage insurance with a down payment of 5% is 4.90%. The premium is added to mortgage principle, so starting principle is 99.90% of purchase price. And some banks add a mortgage application fee, also added to the principle. The system is set up to screw you. It's time to unwind.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:58 pm
 


The govt already tightened mortgage rules. Tighten them too much, and they'll piss off a lot of people: those sitting on a nice pile and wanting to sell, and all the families the Reformacons are trying to court who want to buy their first house. Your prescription may drive down prices, but since fewer people would be able to buy, it won't really open the market up any.

Best way to drive down house prices is to clamp down on immigration.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:03 pm
 


andyt wrote:
The govt already tightened mortgage rules. Tighten them too much, and they'll piss off a lot of people: those sitting on a nice pile and wanting to sell, and all the families the Reformacons are trying to court who want to buy their first house. Your prescription may drive down prices, but since fewer people would be able to buy, it won't really open the market up any.

Best way to drive down house prices is to clamp down on immigration.


Can we do that in Edmonton too? Stop inter-provincial migration? :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:08 pm
 


I think the oil price drop might accomplish that. BC actually has net in migration from other areas of Canada - but sure, we'll take some of the inter-provincial people if y'all take your fair share of the new Canadians.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:25 pm
 


I'm pretty sure we already get our share of Philipinos, but as soon as oil's back up I'm sure we'd be happy to take more :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:42 pm
 


bootlegga wrote:
This all goes back to my original assertion - you can't just keep building out, you have to eventually start building up.


When you have the land and the wealth to keep building out, as Calgary (just like Winnipeg or Regina) does because we're not locked in by a mountain range or a large body of water, then doing both upwards and outwards makes perfect sense.

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I remember an article from e Edmonton Journal a while back that noted that Edmonton will spend over $1 billion in the comimg decades to build new suburs. That because the city pays for infra like roads, sewers, etc and relies on property taxes to pay for them. I would guess Calgary is facing similar costs. I would try and find you tye link but I'm on my tablet and it's terrible for cutting and pasting things like that.


I absolutely do not believe either Calgary or Edmonton when the councils and city managers say the expansion is getting too expensive. Even if it is, assuming that each new house built costs $10K in infrastructure, then slap on an additional $10K at the point of purchase for the developer to download to the buyer as a levy or surtax to generate more money for the city. Each new home is getting nailed with about $2000 in property taxes anyway so the city makes back whatever infrastructure costs per house within five to six years. Anyone who can't get an additional $10K added on to a mortgage for this kind of levy on a new house in the $300K range probably shouldn't even be given one.

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As fore idea knocking down one old house and putting up a triplex or quadplex, I think it's brilliant as it solves two problems at once (making existing neighbourhoods more dense & revitalizing older neighbourhoods). Some developers have begun doing it here too and I fully support it.


I don't necessarily disagree. As much as I detest Nenshi I found his idea on legalizing more basement suites entirely logical. The problem for the existing neighbourhoods where these suites were going to go was the parking problems that were going to be created. Odds are that each occupant of a basement suite is going to have at least one vehicle, probably more if it turns into a general roommate situation with multiple occupants sharing the suites. The inner city neighbourhoods are not exactly known for having attached or detached garages per home the way the next ring and then outer ring of districts do. The old neighbourhoods in the 80 to 100 year range were built when about one out of ten people had a vehicle. They all street park today and most of them don't even have a driveway or parking pad to use. Add in tiny narrow alleyways that are barely navigable for today's garbage trucks and parking in the back is eliminated too. Doubling or tripling the number of people in an area by rezoning for additional suites would have unleashed pure chaos for parking. Without these suites right now the streets in the older neighbourhoods are already stuffed with parked cars. Legalize those suites and the parking issues would become pure insanity.

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While you're correct that not everyone can afford it, many can and it's a far better option than a condo for families.


Allowing more new suburban developments would have maintained a level of affordability so that new buyers wouldn't have been forced into the "$500K-plus for an inner ring duplex or $500K-plus for an average sized outer ring house" scenario. The cities were either not thinking about the effects of their actions, which is entirely typical of urban liberals when they end up with municipal political power, or they just didn't care because they weren't going to depart from their precious 'sustainability' theories. They took the stresses of Vancouver and Toronto, most of which are caused by topological factors, and imported them en masse to Calgary and Edmonton where those same factors do not exist at all. That condo you mentioned? Hell, those fucking things are now getting out of the reach of average people. That's how bad it's gotten in such a short period of time since this kind of civic/social re-engineering mindset took over the city governments.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:19 pm
 


I agree. Cost of housing is insane. Government can't do anything directly, we don't want "house price controls" similar to "rent controls". That makes everything worse. When I was in Toronto 1987-1990, a major topic was how much housing costs were insane at that time. Turned out Toronto went through a major real estate price jump in 1984. The provincial government decided the way they would "cool down" the real estate market, was to impose a land transfer tax. That was their solution: yet another tax. And they thought that would help reduce the cost? I know, they hoped it would hinder "flipping", but what it really did was an additional cost that home buyers had to pay. This is a major problem, but every time government tries to do something, they make it worse.

The only solution I could see is flood the market with new houses. Surplus supply to drive prices down. In Winnipeg, we have a lot of land within city limits that still hasn't been developed. For example, between Elmwood and Transcona. That's being filled in. And communities outside the city are building. I keep hearing city councillors complain that more people are moving to bedroom communities. They're doing so to get away from city taxes. City councillors want a way to force them to pay taxes too. Um, what?!? Are they stupid? This is how citizens tell the city that their policies are garbage, and they're not going to take it any more. When citizens tell councillors to fix it, they don't. So people move. So councillors, and our previous two mayors, demand that the excessive taxes are charged to those who've escaped. [bash]

Oh, there is another issue. A hell of a lot of "certification" for workers. In 2009, my natural gas clothes dryer broke. The technician told me to replace it would require not only a new dryer, but a permit fee to have a natural gas appliance installed, plus a licensed pipe fitter to connect the natural gas line, plus an appliance installer to install the rest. Plus the cost of the appliance. Furthermore, brass flex tubes are not allowed any more. Now you need a double wall stainless steel flex tube.

My dryer came with the house; didn't have a manufacture date on it, but I called the manufacturer to ask when that model was made. Either 1962 or 1961. So it's older than me. The bearing for the blower broke. This particular appliance repair shop was actually willing to repair, and was familiar with this brand. He had a blower at his shop from the same model dryer, removed the bearing and took it to a company that specialized in rebuilding bearings. Then brought a it back and swapped the blower with my blower. It was clean as if brand new. A V-belt connected the motor to the blower, same V-belt as a car. The belt broke when he removed it, but it looked like the original belt. So replaced the belt with a new one. The dryer worked perfectly ever since. It'll probably last another half century. Total cost for the repair was less than the license fee alone for a replacement.

When I was 18, I worked on the setup crew at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. Part of my job was to operate a powered lift jack specially designed to carry a long stack of chairs, not a standard pallet. It was called a "Gator". I was paid minimum wage and worked overnight. The "lead hand" taught me to operate a "Gator" on the job. Today you need a license to operate a "Gator", and must be a union member designated as a "Gator operator". How many "certifications" are now required for house construction? All this just impedes construction, and raises prices.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:14 am
 


I think the big problem with people against sprawl is that they are not very good at math.

Edmonton is sorta shaped like a circle about 13km in radius, it has an internal volume of about 530km^2.

If it was 14km in radius it would have 615km^2. 85km^2 more for just adding 1km more of sprawl. 16% more space.

At 16km in radius it would have 804km^2 of more volume. 55% more space and just another 3km in all direction.

The only planning issue is that the city keeps trying to push higher density in it's core for some insane reason. Rather than building new high rise buildings on the outside. If you put a huge amount of the office jobs in the same physical location it will cause traffic problems unless you plan and build and spend in scale. However, not trying to smash everything into one location and it's a whole lot easier to keep traffic flowing.

The exact argument of needing ultra high density to combat traffic to make transit work, is the cause of the traffic problem.

Now very few cities have a nice flat area to expand into, but just about all cities have crammed everything into a center location for no good reason.

Does an office high rise need to be beside another? Does it work better somehow? Or is everything much easier if stuff was a bit more spread out. And all communications is done by electronic means, which means it doesn't matter where an office building is.

A city bus works better on the highway than it does blocking up the inner core of a downtown area.


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