Vancouver's 5 best and 5 worst moments of 2010
Vancouver ranked higher for both violent crime and property crime than either New York or Toronto, according to a new report by the B.C. Progress Board. Our city had third highest crime rate of the 17 cities surveyed.
Though shocking, the statistics may not come as much of a surprise after the gang shooting earlier this month.
On December 12th, the city woke up to news of an overnight shooting at Oak and 22nd on Vancouver's west side. It was one of the worst mass shootings the city has ever seen. Ten people were injured, two of them critically.
The incident sent shockwaves through the city. Mayor Gregor Robertson, who lives less than a block away from the incident, and Vancouver Police Const. Jana McGuinness both called it "outrageous." Police and many Vancouver residents feared that the shooting was an indication of a new gang war. "I am unable to recognize my own city when ten young people are gunned down on its streets," community activist Sean Bickerton wrote in an article for VO.
Despite the shooting, the Vancouver Sun reported that 2010 was a calmer year for homicides than 2009 when a gang war over control of the drug trade erupted. Police promise that more arrests related to gang activity will be made in 2011, but will that keep our city safe?
2. Olympic Village goes into receivership
The glittering glass development in False Creek may look impressive, but it has become a major financial headache for the city. In November, it was announced that Millennium, the Olympic Village developers, had gone into receivership. The developers were unable to meet their loan obligations, amounting to nearly 750 million dollars, to the city. Vancouver may be able to recover some of the costs but a soft real estate market is expected to stall sales. Mayor Robertson has acknowledged that it will be difficult to return the investment to tax payers.
This is the latest development in the troubled story of the Olympic Village. After construction costs soared in 2008 and the world economy collapsed, the city used a U.S. hedge fund to guarantee the developer's almost billion dollar loan. So disastrous was the project, that a wikileaks cable revealed the U.S. consulate in Vancouver had credited it with Vision Vancouver's win over the NPA in the 2008 civic elections.
After the games, Millennium was unable to sell many of the units, owing largely to the poor real estate market. In December, tenants finally began to move into the promised social housing units but the project has been met with controversy. Activists say the number of units provided do not adequately meet the city's housing needs.
3. Cuts to the charitable gaming fund