In The News

Just in time wasn’t it?

Jjust a few days after Justin Trudeau’s $600 million cabinet shuffle, SNC Lavalin raised it’s dirty head out of the swamp, like a monster that refuses to die.

SNC Lavalin is one of the biggest movers and shakers with Metro Vancouver transit projects and many former employees working for TransLink, civic government and at the Ministry of Transportation.

It is safe to say, SNC lavalin has tremendous influence in Metro Vancouver and BC.

SNC Lavalin is the lead company of the P-3 consortium that operates the Canada Line and in the final bidding,SNC Lavalin bid against SNC Lavalin! for the P-3 and to no one surprise, SNC Lavalin won!

The judge, overseeing the Susan Heyes lawsuit (She won but the judgment was overturned on appeal) against TransLink called the bidding process for the P-3 a “charade”!

The mainstream media, compliant as always, never raised an eyebrow.

Maybe the RCMP should take a look?

 

theo_moudakis_snc_lavalin

 

2 former SNC-Lavalin execs arrested, charged with fraud and forgery

Charges relate to bribes that RCMP allege were paid in exchange for obtaining contracts

 

 

It is also coming to light that both the Broadway subway and the Expo Line extension will increase house and accommodation prices, who would have thought!

“Our biggest transit investments have inadvertently displaced affordable rental with market condos,”

Good old Zwei has been telling people the same thing for almost 10 years and it is no coincidence that the term “demoviction” was coined in Vancouver.

SkyTrain is being built strictly for land use or in laymen terms, SkyTrain construction is the driver for land assembly, land speculation, the demolition of affordable housing and enriching land developers who get the same land up-zoned to higher densities to build unaffordable high rise condos for the monied set, especially overseas.

Building SkyTrain has nothing to do about good public transportation.

 

Election 2021: Liberal campaign promises may not achieve housing, transportation goals of British Colombians

The Liberals have promised to address housing affordability with first-time home buyer tax credits and savings accounts

Lisa Cordasco
Publishing date: Sep 22, 2021

Federal promises to increase affordable housing and expand rapid transit in the Lower Mainland could result in a higher cost of living, less-affordable housing and more climate destruction, according to some analysts and advocates.

During the recent election campaign, the Liberals made promises to address housing affordability with first-time homebuyer tax credits and savings accounts. They made other pre-election commitments to contribute up to $1.3 billion toward the construction of the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain expansion.

But housing and climate experts say neither set of initiatives will achieve its goals without integration.

“Our biggest transit investments have inadvertently displaced affordable rental with market condos,” said Alex Boston, executive director of Renewable Cities, a policy and planning think-tank at Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. “The Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project will actually increase carbon and congestion because it is facilitating urban sprawl.”

Jill Atkey of the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association agrees.

“We have dislocated policies. Transportation planning is separate from housing planning and housing planning is separate from school planning, even with health care, we’re building a giant hospital at St. Paul’s with no new housing planned, around it,” she said.

Both Atkey and Boston believe a new approach is needed where groups like TransLink work with municipalities, developers and the province to create housing alongside transit corridors, and for the federal government to demand such links before providing funding.

Atkey said she is disappointed that the election promises made by the Liberals have focused more on new-home ownership.

“We were hoping to see increased investment in affordable housing, but we didn’t see much of that in the Liberal platform. There was more of an emphasis on new-home ownership, which a lot of economists say is not a good idea because it simply stokes the demand for unaffordable housing,” said Atkey. “Even with those incentives for first-time homebuyers, unless you have an inheritance, you don’t have much chance of getting into the market, so what about the rest of us?”

Boston said first-time homeowners are being pushed to the suburbs, where their costs for transportation will increase. He said vehicle growth is 2 1/2 times the rate of housing growth.

“The further you are from employment hubs and services, the more you drive. Housing developments in places like Surrey, Langley and the Tri-Cities, for example, are being created to accommodate cars. They are not transit-oriented and they are not walkable. Instead, they need to create neighbourhoods around transportation corridors.”

Boston suggests TransLink partner with developers or non-profits to build affordable housing on transit-owned property, where SkyTrain stations and transit hubs are built, and he adds the federal and provincial governments must make that a requirement to receive transit funding.

“Single-family housing developments never pay for the cost of the infrastructure they need,” said Boston. “Densely populated neighbourhoods actually subsidize those costs.”

Atkey said the Liberals did make some election promises aimed at affordable rental housing but they’re not new initiatives. Most are enhancements to the continuing National Housing Strategy.

“They plan to double the existing Co-Investment Fund, but that is not a fund that has taken off here in British Columbia. We’d rather see a complete retooling of that program,” she said.

The Co-Investment Fund offers loans to underwrite housing developments, but Atkey said the requirements cut out most non-profit and co-op housing proposals.

“You need to get municipal approval processes before getting the federal funding committed, but municipalities want funding commitments before they will entertain approval processes, so it’s a catch-22,” said Atkey. “To get though the approvals process, a non-profit would have to put up close to $500,000 and that is a huge risk to take without the certainty of that final approval.”

Atkey says groups like hers will be watching with interest a new federal promise to examine the tax regime for large corporate owners of residential properties.

“For every unit of affordable housing we are building, we are losing two affordable housing units, so the solution is not just to build, but to preserve what we already have,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of details on this yet, but this could limit the excessive profits that result from rennovictions. We’d like to see assistance for non-profits to take over these properties. The provincial government is interested, but we haven’t heard much from the federal government.”

Atkey is also interested in a federal promise of a rent-to-own program, which the province already has.

Analysts like Boston and advocates like Atkey agree more integration is needed between programs that target health, transportation and housing plans along with more co-operation among governments to align their programs and funding priorities.

“The disconnect is we have strong provincial housing programs rolling out right now and they don’t really align with the federal programs,” concluded Atkey.

Boston said there are signs that various levels of government are understanding that integration is crucial: “There is big support provincially for strengthening sustainable land use and transportation policies. The UBCM has identified it as a priority, Infrastructure Canada is internally recognizing these linkages and that’s hopeful.”

Comments

4 Responses to “In The News”
  1. Haveacow says:

    The second article brought up a point about building affordable housing on Translink owned property. This is interesting because Calgary Transit, York Region Transit, the TTC and Montreal’s STM have all studied doing this by building housing on their Park & Ride Lots. When you look at it and study it very deeply, the results usually show commuter parking lots are poor use of this normally expensive land. When studied, the last one built here in Ottawa (in the northern Kanata high tech area) was costing thousands of dollars per parking space. It turns out that building housing literally within walking distance of transit, is a more financial viable use.

  2. Skylon says:

    This is not complete true. SNC did not bid against itself to build the Canada line. There was 3 groups of companies. SNC won because it had the lowest bid.

    From wikipedia:

    In 2003, ten companies or consortia submitted expressions of interest in the project.
    In December 2003, this was shortlisted to the following three consortia, which were given a request for proposal:

    1. RAVLink Transportation, which included Fluor Canada, Siemens AG Canada, MTR Corporation, and Balfour Beatty Capital Projects;
    2. RAVxpress, which included Bombardier, AMEC, Bouygues Travaux Publics, and Bilfinger Berger
    3. SNC-Lavalin/Serco, which included SNC-Lavalin and Serco.

    Bombardier did bid on the Canada line and if they won, Canada line would have been same as the Expo line with 80metre platforms. They lost to the criminal SNC-Lavelin.

    Zwei replies: Not entirely correct and one must remember that wiki has no researches, but depends on the public for additions and editing. Thus Wiki is a source of information, some of the information is not sound.

    Actually there were four bidders, which included Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier and SNC Lavalin, among others. As Siemens and Alstom wanted to use light rail vehicles instead of metro cars (to give any affordable chance at expansion) they were bounced from the bidding process.

    As the RAV/Canada Line was a politcal transit line, extolling the virtues of P-3 construction, it came to a shock that Bombardier’s ART system was proprietary and the other bidders were providing a non compatible system, with the Expo and millennium Lines.

    It was revealed in the Susan Heyes lawsuit against TransLink, that two final bidders were a consortium of SNC Lavalin/ROTEM and the Quebec Caisse and a SNC Lavalin/Bombrdier (Caisse?) consortium and with a conventional railway cheaper to build than the 4-Rail ART system, the SNC Lavalin/ROTEM bid won.

    When this was revealed, the presiding Judge Pittsfield called the bidding process a charade.

    I can see why Wiki has been edited such, because the real story is embarrassing. Anyways, internationally, the Canada Line is considered a classic White Elephant. In the real world, no one cares about the Canada Line and past questionable editing has been left to misinform people today.

  3. zweisystem says:

    By the way, Zwei provided an electronic clipping service for one of the Consortia bidding on the Canada Line and I can tell you the impression left by the bidding process, made Vancouver and BC an international laughingstock.

  4. Haveacow says:

    Much of the existing Skytrain Network has SNC Lavalin’s mark everywhere, this is a short and nowhere near complete list of the many things this company does for both the Expo and Millennium Lines.

    SNC Lavalin has designed the current generation of power or 3rd rails for the Skytrain. Now that can be done by many other companies, all the software that let’s the power distribution system talk to the Skytrain operating system is however, there’s. Not to mention all the hardware that supports this system.

    SNC Lavalin is also responsible for the current generation of Induction Rails (the 4th rail) on the Skytrain including nearly all of the innovations of the induction rail technology used in the last 25 years. It is responsible for the maintenance and its associated communication software and hardware, so that the induction rail can talk to the automation system. I don’t know if they own all the patents required (I assume they own quite a few of them though) but if you don’t use their stuff on a Skytrain type line, then your probably going to be forced whether you like it or not, to start almost from scratch and that would be wickedly expensive for any new Skytrain vehicle designers, in both cost and time. Could someone else design and build there own brand of Induction rails? Yes, but again really costly in both money and time.

    SNC Lavalin is also responsible for all the training of engineering staff as well as operations staff. All the textbooks, training material, the training program structure and testing (obviously). This type of knowledge and experience takes years, possibly a decade or more to build up.

    They have made themselves indispensable around the Skytrain’s operations. Unless a completely new technology or line is proposed, like LRT, you are stuck with them. So yes, when they did participate with the bid on the Canada Line they did have an open independent bid of there own but if the consortium that had Bombardier in it had won, they would have been immediately called on for their massive amount of engineering expertise involving the existing Bombardier equipment and operations. So yes they would have been making big money off both bids.

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