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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday Evening in Vancouver

The night was so pretty tonight that I just had to take a few pictures.  I soon discovered that although I had my camera, I'd forgotten to reinsert its memory card after the last time I uploaded photos to my computer.  My cell camera came to the rescue.

I  can take photos with my cell phone as long as there is still a bit of light. My camera isn't much better but the camera does seem to have clearer shots even though it is older than the cell phone.

So here are a few photos captured before the light completely faded.


I like the way the crescent moon can be seen just below the blossoming tree. There is a faint hint of pink in the sky as the sun was just setting.


In this photo the sky looks blue though I didn't touch it up. You can't see the pink blossoms very well because of the poor light.


You can see some of the trees have no blossoms at all. The tree in the photo with the church steeple is a totally different tree from all the others in my photos.  But am not sure the name of it. I just know it has different blossoms altogether.  I always like the illuminated cross on the church steeple at night, especially in winter.


In this photo you can make out the blossoms a bit better. At least you can tell they are pink. I must have snapped this photo just a few seconds or minutes before the other photos and while there was still a bit more light.

Here is a long view of the moon.

On the news I heard we are about 6 weeks ahead of schedule as far the blossoming of apple, cherry and peach trees and the arrival of Spring.  I think that puts the annual Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Festival at risk because it doesn't start until April 2, 2015.

 Last year I missed going for walks and enjoying the many cherry blossoms we have in Vancouver.  The weather was inclement and with too much rain all the blossoms fell to the ground before I could get out to enjoy them.

 Perhaps this year I can get a few photos.

But it looks like I'd better be quick since the blossoms are maturing so fast!

Added, February 24, 2015

I also managed to get this photo of a  rapidly changing main street in the city. So many businesses have come and gone.  More changes are on the way soon. I've heard from small business owners that the rents are too high but then the rents are high everywhere so what to do?

One popular and well established restauranteur said he was closing his establishment not for lack of business but for onerous taxes. This country is just getting ridiculously taxed.

View of a rapidly changing city street. Many businesses closing and new ones opening.

We don't pay as much as some of the European countries perhaps.  Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands all pay well over 50% tax but only on  high income earners. I think (I haven't researched it yet ) that these countries also provide more services to all their citizens while we in Canada have seen the slow erosion of services we once received.

What is the point of paying high taxes if you don't receive services and the services you need?

If  citizens are taxed in a burdensome way and the businesses too, how can anybody keep their businesses going and hire people so those people can have an income and keep the economy going?

Yet, the local governments and the provincial government (the federal government is often the culprit too) want to implement even more taxes.

No sooner was the Mayor reelected in November 2014 when  he said wanted a review of Council salaries. He felt they should get a raise for all the hard work they have to do.   That's a lofty sentiment.  However there are many in this province, including this most expensive City of Vancouver, who are barely making $10 an hour.  That is if they are lucky enough to be employed. How can they live on that and pay more for services of any kind?

In January 2015, the average monthly apartment rentals in Vancouver were $1584. If you were looking to purchase a home in the Greater Vancouver area (larger than Vancouver proper where prices are much higher), the benchmark price of a detached property in December 2014 was just over a million dollars.  The benchmark price of an attached unit was closer to half a million dollars.

The price of homes has gone steadily higher, year after year. It is mostly foreign buyers because most Canadians working for Canadian wages certainly cannot afford these prices. Prices are all relative to the consumer with many foreign investors thinking our real estate is "cheap" compared to where they come from.  A lot of these buyers do not even live here and their properties sit empty.  This scenario tells me that we as a province or country have done very little to ensure limited foreign investment and protections for citizens. (This became a bit of an issue in the last municipal election).  I am all for investment but there needs to be a balance.  Especially for those expected to pay the taxes to keep everything running.
The benchmark price for detached properties increased 8.1 per cent from December 2013 to $1,002,200. - See more at: http://www.rebgv.org/news-statistics/home-sale-and-listing-activity-reach-historical-norms-2014#sthash.0m2jJcS7.dpuf
The benchmark price for detached properties increased 8.1 per cent from December 2013 to $1,002,200. - See more at: http://www.rebgv.org/news-statistics/home-sale-and-listing-activity-reach-historical-norms-2014#sthash.0m2jJcS7.dpuf
The benchmark price for detached properties increased 8.1 per cent from December 2013 to $1,002,200. - See more at: http://www.rebgv.org/news-statistics/home-sale-and-listing-activity-reach-historical-norms-2014#sthash.0m2jJcS7.dpuf

Translink (the transportation authority in the Greater Vancouver area) also wants to subject the ratepayers to increased taxes to implement improvements to public transportation.  The City's mayor is the chairman of  the transit authority's Board of Directors and he is in favour of the increase.  He and many other high profile people, all of whom earn a far higher wage than $10 per hour, have mounted an enormous campaign to get voters to vote "Yes" to the increase in taxes.  It would amount to approximately $150 extra per year on top of our already high property taxes (due to the value of the land).

I was wondering who is funding the "Yes" campaign or where the money comes from.  Then today I read that the money being spent on the "Yes" campaign is $8M dollars and it comes out of taxpayer dollars. I presume that means the funds are coming from the Translink budget though I could be wrong.  Anyway, it is highly annoying to have my tax money being spent on a campaign I do not agree with just so that they can win a vote for a tax increase that I do not agree with to give it to a Board that is not capable of managing itself in the best interests of the tax paying public. Also to be asking for more money in this economic climate is the height of stupidity and arrogance.

Have a look here at what our public transit executives get paid in comparison to Seattle and Chicago executives. I've read that our executives have a broader scope of responsibilities and while that may be true I still think the salaries are outrageous.





On top of these overly handsome salaries, these CEOs have bungled the transportation budget over the past few years. Ineffectiveness coupled with bloated salaries means I intend to vote "no" in the transit referendum.  I don't want to give more money to bloated quasi government authorities despite the fact that we do indeed need to make more improvements to our transit system for a good many reasons.

I am tired of those at the pork barrel.  I'm also tired of elitist politicians who seem to think that the average taxpayer has magical pockets of money to pull out whenever there is a need.

As if this wasn't enough, my mother (and many other seniors) got a more than 10% increase in their monthly costs for residential health care. This is courtesy of the provincial health care system. Meanwhile, these same seniors only got a pension increase to match the cost of living index (COLA).  An increase of just under 2%

Is this any way to treat the elderly?

I am getting very fed up with our politicians.

That's my rant for this week.

Those of you who know me well know I never rant.

I have to be very disgruntled to get to that point.

My next post will be more positive.


Joining in with Our World Tuesday

12 comments:

  1. I see that spring has arrived in your place. I guess it'll take a little time before it comes to us in this part of the world.

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  2. Good someone has spring; ours is buried under several feet of snow for the time being. Enjoy.

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  3. And early spring can't be all bad. Love the photos.
    Meredith

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  4. Vancouver is so pretty when the skies are blue, sun is shining and there are blossoms on the trees! Lovely!

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  5. Your pictures are lovely! I would have imagined you'd have snow but it looks like Spring is trying to arrive by the look of the blossoms. California's winters are so unusual the past few years with very mild winters. My trees and flowers are very confused and already sprouting new leaves. It does help in the sense that the veggie seeds are already sprouting, too! :-)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  6. Hi Joyful! It's so interesting that you have cherry blossoms blooming, and we have sub-zero temps and snow! It really does matter where you live.
    Isn't it amazing what great photos we can get with our phones? I think my phone takes great pics too. So cool to see the moon way up in the sky. I hope you had a peaceful weekend!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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  7. The pictures taken with your cell phone are amazingly good ! In Belgium the income taxes are also 50 % and for everybody !! We all think that high incomes should be taxed more. Except the public transport which is lousy, the social services are good, except the legal pensions which are too low compared to the other European countries.

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  8. Hello, lovely blossoms.. We do not have any signs of spring here, only snow on the ground.. I love your pretty moon and sky shots, gorgeous images.. I think there should be tax reform all around to be fair to everyone.. Wishing you a happy day and week ahead!

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  9. How wonderful to see the spring blossoms! It's still the dead of winter here with below zero F temps at night so I love seeing that it is spring somewhere. I'm an ostrich with my head in the sand when it comes to politics. Too upsetting and I can't do anything about where it's all headed so why make myself crazy. Sorry it's the same in Canada.

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I do love to read all your comments and will do my best to return the courtesy. I am no longer on Google + so cannot comment on your blog that way. I tried to open this blog to Anonymous Users but only get Spam so I've eliminated the option. Thank you for stopping by.

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