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The reconfiguration of downtown Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, 1980-2006 : a case study of Kelowna's… Marten, Tina Inez Lissa 2009

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THE RECONFIGURATION OF DOWNTOWN KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA, 1980-2006: A CASE STUDY OF KELOWNA’S NEOLIBERAL DOWNTOWN TRANSFORMATION by Tina Inez Lissa Marten B.A., Okanagan University College, Kelowna, BC, 2005 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in The College of Graduate Studies (Interdisciplinary Studies) [Sociology and Geography] THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Okanagan) JULY 2009 © Tina Inez Lissa Marten, 2009 ii ABSTRACT During the last twenty-five years, the City of Kelowna, located in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, has been experiencing rapid urban growth. The city has transformed from a mostly rural agricultural area with a resource-based economy into an urbanized neoliberal Census Metropolitan Area with a post-Fordist economy. This thesis examines the neoliberal urban reconfiguration of Kelowna’s downtown, where one area, Ellis Street, has been transformed due to an economic stimulus, whereas another area, Leon and Lawrence Avenues have been starved, devoid of investment. Kelowna’s population has changed due to in-migration. The city is now hailed as a retirement Mecca in BC, and as a paradise to live, play and work, but this growth has affected Kelowna’s residents in different ways. On the one hand, the city attracts retirees, labour and capital, but at the same time, there has been an increase in poverty and homelessness. Subsequently, the changes to the city’s urban fabric have been quick and profound through gentrification, development and redevelopment, gated and walled communities, and the building of highrises. Some of the most drastic transformations framing this contradictory change have been in the downtown core, where redevelopment has manifested itself through gentrification of old homes, urban infill and luxury highrises. The population of the downtown has also changed with the wealthy taking up residence and in doing so pushing out the poor. This thesis investigates the neoliberal transformation of Kelowna’s downtown, studying the impacts of these changes on the city’s social, economic, political and spatial realm. It further investigates the agents who have been instrumental to prepare Kelowna for neoliberalism. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................. II TABLE OF CONTENTS ...........................................................................................................III LIST OF TABLES........................................................................................................................V LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.....................................................................................................VI LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS .................................................................................................. VII ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................................................VIII DEDICATION ............................................................................................................................ IX CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION......................................................................................... 1 CHAPTER TWO: THEORY ...................................................................................................... 5 2.0 INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................... 5 2.1 NEOLIBERALISM ............................................................................................................ 6 2.2 URBAN MORPHOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS OF CITY SPACE......................... 31 2.3 THE LOCAL GROWTH MACHINE, PLACE ENTREPENURIALISM, GROWTH COALITIONS AND RESISTANCE ..................................................................................... 36 CHAPTER THREE: METHOD ............................................................................................... 44 3.0 INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................. 44 3.1 RESEARCHING NEOLIBERALISM IN THE CITY OF KELOWNA ...................... 44 3.2 CONCLUSION.................................................................................................................. 58 CHAPTER FOUR: KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA ................................. 59 4.0 INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................. 59 4 .1 KELOWNA’S LATE FORDIST AND POST-FORDIST YEARS............................... 61 4.2 KELOWNA’S NEOLIBERAL PERIOD........................................................................ 68 4.3 THE NEOLIBERALIZATION OF HOUSING ............................................................. 73 4.4 CONCLUSION.................................................................................................................. 86 CHAPTER FIVE: THE NEOLIBERALIZATION OF THE URBAN BUILT ENVIRONMENT IN KELOWNA, BC .................................................................................... 87 5.0 INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................. 87 5.1 THE DOWNTOWN RESEARCH AREA....................................................................... 89 5.2 THE NEOLIBERAL RESTRUCTURING OF THE CITY OF KELOWNA .............. 90 5.2.1 CITY OF KELOWNA PLANNING DOCUMENTS, 1990s – EARLY 2000s...... 94 5.3 REGULATION OF THE URBAN BUILT ENVIRONMENT.................................... 105 5.4 CONCLUSION................................................................................................................ 121 iv CHAPTER SIX: NEOLIBERAL AGENTS OF CHANGE AT WORK: A CASE STUDY OF KELOWNA’S DOWNTOWN TRANSFORMATION .................................................. 123 6.0 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................... 123 6.1 KELOWNA’S AGENTS OF CHANGE........................................................................ 124 6.2 TRANSFORMATION OF KELOWNA’S URBAN BUILT ENVIRONMENT........ 144 6.3 KELOWNA’S COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT ZONE ................................. 154 6.4 CONCLUSION................................................................................................................ 161 CHAPTER SEVEN: CONCLUSION..................................................................................... 163 BIBLIOGRAPHY..................................................................................................................... 169 BOOKS .................................................................................................................................. 169 JOURNAL ARTICLES........................................................................................................ 172 MAGAZINE ARTICLES..................................................................................................... 173 PAMPHLETS AND REPORTS........................................................................................... 174 UNPUBLISHED SOURCES................................................................................................ 175 INFORMALLY PUBLISHED ELECTRONIC SOURCES.............................................. 176 PUBLIC DOCUMENTS....................................................................................................... 179 ONLINE PUBLIC DOCUMENTS ...................................................................................... 182 ONE SOURCE QUOTED IN ANOTHER .......................................................................... 184 APPENDICES…………………………………………………………………………………185 APPENDIX 1: BEHAVIORAL RESEARCH ETHICS BOARD APPROVAL……….185 vLIST OF TABLES Table 4.3.1: Downtown Kelowna Residential Units per Housing Type, 1998-2007……………83 vi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Illustration 4.0.1: Kelowna, located in British Columbia, Canada………………………….......59 Illustration 5.1.1: Downtown Research Area…………………………………………………....89 Illustration 5.2.1: Barren Land along Gordon Drive…………………………………………….93 Illustration 5.3.1: City of Kelowna, Hierarchy of Planning Documents…………………….....107 Illustration 5.3.2: Martin Lofts…………………………………………………………………111 Illustration 5.3.3: Downtown Tax Incentive Area……………………………………………...119 Illustration 6.1.1: Preload on Ellis Street and Clement Avenue………………………………..140 Illustration 6.2.1: Looking North on Ellis Street.…………………………………………...….147 Illustration 6.2.2: Looking South on Ellis Street……………………………………………….147 Illustration 6.2.3: A Fortified Highrise Entrance on Ellis Street……………………………….149 Illustration 6.3.1: Area of the Proposed Comprehensive Development Zone………………….154 Illustration 6.3.2: Rendering of the Proposed Comprehensive Development Zone……………155 vii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ALR Agricultural Land Reserve ASP Area Structure Plan BC British Columbia BIA Business Improvement Area CD21 Comprehensive Development 21 (another name for CDZ) CDZ Comprehensive Development Zone CLC Canada Lands Company CMA Census Metropolitan Area CN Rail Canadian National Rail DCC Development Cost Charge DCSTF Downtown Centre Strategy Task Force DKA Downtown Kelowna Association EDC Economic Development Commission MLS Multiple Listing Service NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement OCP Official Community Plan OSTEC Okanagan Science and Technology Council UDI Urban Development Institute viii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am immensely thankful for the tremendous support and encouragement that I have received during the past four years - it has been a long and exciting journey. I am especially grateful to my parents, Eva and Günther, my beloved partner Jens and my boys, Sven-Erik and Nicholas. You have always believed in my ability to bring this project to completion, and you have been immensely patient with me - even when my stress levels peaked. Thank you also to my friends, Dr. Luis Aguiar and Dr. Robert Whiteley, whom have shown their support in many conversations and discussion. Thank you for being always interested in my work and willing to lend an ear. But undoubtedly I am most thankful to my mentors and supervisors, Dr. Ricardo Trumper, Dr. Patricia Tomic and Professor Bernard Momer, who, with a magical mix of questions, critical commentaries, advice, and yet more questions, have helped me sort my thoughts and find the right words to express myself. You have not only kindled my sociological and geographical imagination, but also given me tools to use it! Another thanks to my class mates, Joanne Carey and Kristin Stratulat, who endlessly discussed neoliberalism with me. You helped expand my understanding and thinking. Moreover, I am especially grateful to Dr. Dixon Sookraj, my External Examiner, who accommodated this thesis’ review under a very tight time line. Thank you for your swift review! I am further very thankful to Dr. Marvin Krank, the Dean of UBC Okanagan Graduate Studies, who helped to re-structure my academic timeliness in times of crisis. Without your willingness and continued support to work around my family’s needs, this project would not have been completed. A most heartfelt thank you! Thank you also to the great staff at UBC Okanagan Graduate Studies, who repeatedly answered my (recurring) questions and helped with all the forms and paperwork. It has been a pleasure working with you! Last but least, thank you to the staff at the UBCO library, which helped me dig for reference materials and order many books. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you all for your love and support! ix DEDICATION To Sven-Erik, Nick and Jens 1CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION Post-Fordist transformations have been of interest to researchers for the last thirty years. The emergence of neoliberalism and its effects on the urban landscape in this period has concerned particularly sociologists and geographers. For example, geographer David Harvey has continually been intrigued and fascinated by the effects of neoliberalization on a city,1 whereas sociologist Pierre Bourdieu has been more interested in uncovering how neoliberalism reworks relations of labour and capital, 2 and sociologists Richard Sennett and Zygmunt Baumann have written extensively on neoliberalism’s impacts on people. 3 Urban sociologists and geographers, like Neil Brenner and Nikolas Theodore and Jamie Peck and Adam Tickell, have examined how neoliberalism has re-worked space and place, 4 and Peter Winn and writer Naomi Klein have documented neoliberalisms bloody revolutions extensively.5 This thesis focuses on Kelowna, British Columbia (BC), a city that in the last 2 decades has transformed from a non-metropolitan area into a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA).6 I study the neoliberal transformation of Kelowna’s downtown by contrasting two specific areas. On the one hand, I analyse the redevelopment of a few blocks of Ellis Street, which received a tremendous economic stimulus. On the second, I considered two nearby parallel streets forming 1 David Harvey, “The Right to the City,” New Left Review 53 (September – October 2008) (online version) (accessed May 7, 2009). 2 Pierre Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance: Against the Tyranny of the Market (New York: New Press, 1998); and Firing Back: Against the Tyranny of the Market 2, (New York: New Press, 2003). 3 Richard Sennett, Der flexible Mensch: Die Kultur des Neuen Kapitalismus, (Berlin: Berlin Verlag, 2000); Zygmunt Bauman, The Individualized Society, (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2001). 4 Jamie Peck and Adam Tickell, Neoliberalizing Space, (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 2002); Neil Brenner and Nikolas Theodore, Spaces of Neoliberalism: Urban Restructuring in North America and Western Europe, (Malden, Mass: Blackwell, 2002). 5 Peter Winn, ed. Victims of the Chilean Miracle: Workers and Neoliberalism in the Pinochet Era, 1973- 2002 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004); Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2007). 6 A Census Metropolitan Area defines an area with more than 100,000 inhabitants, of which at least 50,000 live in the urban core. Statistics Canada, “Census Dictionary,” reference/ dictionary/geo009.cfm (accessed April 29, 2009). 2a depressed area, which has been characterized by a complete lack of interest of neoliberal forces. My area of interest, Kelowna, located in the Okanagan Valley in BC, underwent a unique transformation during the past 25 years. During that relatively short time span, what was once a rural community turned into a sprawling city; orchards and farms turned into walled communities and exclusive resorts, as well as highrises, hotels, strip malls and big box stores. Most often Kelowna has been hailed as a four-season playground, a great place to live and work, and a retirement Mecca in British Columbia.7 The population has increased primarily due to in- migration of retirees and investors. Large numbers of people have bought property in Kelowna for vacation, retirement or speculation, triggering an unprecedented building boom. However, these rapid transformations of the urban landscape have influenced people in Kelowna in different ways: while the economy continues to attract labour and capital, there has been an increase in poverty and homelessness.8 Consequently, Kelowna’s urban fabric has changed quickly and profoundly, especially since the urban built environment is continually being transformed through gentrification and redevelopment. Some of the most drastic transformations have been experienced in the downtown core where affluent populations are buying up property, taking up residence and pushing out poorer populations. The concurrent explosion in housing prices coupled with an acute shortage of affordable and adequate housing has impacted vulnerable populations greatly. 7 Bernard Momer, “The Small Town that Grew and Grew and...: A Look at Rapid Urban Growth and Social Issues in Kelowna, BC,“ in Beiträge zur Geographie Kanadas II,ed. Christoph Stadel, Salzburg: Salzburger Geographische Arbeiten, (1998), 65-80; p:66. 8 Kelowna Drop-Inn and Information Centre in collaboration with the Kelowna Homelessness Networking Group, Report: Census of Kelowna Homeless Individuals, Fall 2004, 11.04.FINAL.pdf (accessed April 09). 3As increasing numbers of residents cannot afford to live in Kelowna anymore, there have been more poor, marginalised and/or homeless individuals and families.9 In this dissertation, I investigate the neoliberal transformation of Kelowna’s downtown: I record and examine spatial and social ramifications of this radical fast-paced economic, political and ideological change. Harvey’s10 seemingly simple but vexing question, how neoliberalism impacts a city, dominated my thinking during this investigation. My analysis of Kelowna’s downtown adds to the emerging body of knowledge of neoliberalism. Whereas much of the research on neoliberalism and the city has focused on large cities,11 my empirical study of a mid-sized city that only in 2001 became a CMA will contribute to Canadian research that examines neoliberal metamorphosis like the one in Kelowna. In the next chapter, I review the body of sociological and geographical literature that theorizes neoliberalism, examinations of its manifestations in the urban built environment, as well as neoliberal agents of change. In chapter 3, I describe the methodological steps I have taken to investigate Kelowna’s neoliberal urban reconfiguration. In chapter 4, I offer an overview of the historical transformation of Kelowna to set the background for understanding the impact of neoliberalism in its urban built environment. In chapter 5, I analyse this impact, focussing especially on the bureaucratic processes of regulation of the urban space. I investigate key planning documents from the City of Kelowna, paying particular attention to plan contributors and their relations to the City in their attempts at creating a climate conducive to 9 Poverty and Homelessness Action Team - Central Okanagan, “Towards Ending Homelessness in Kelowna. Poverty and Homelessness in Kelowna,” Towards_ Ending_ Homelessness_ in_Kelowna-Pages_1-2.pdf (Accessed April 29, 2009); Kelly Hayes and Wayne Moore, “Poverty Survey Paints Bleak Picture,”, (accessed May 4, 2009); Poverty and Homelessness Action Team – Central Okanagan, Central Okanagan Community Affordability Survey Report 2009,, (accessed May 4, 2009);. 10 Harvey, The Right to the City. 11 David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005); Brenner and Theodore, Spaces of Neoliberalism; Peck and Tickell, Neoliberalizing Space. 4erasing barriers to capital intervention in the urban build environment. In chapter six, I identify and examine who has been able to shape and influence the economic, political and social climate of Kelowna in preparation for its neoliberal urban reconfiguration. In the concluding chapter, I reflect on the current period (2009), when neoliberalism is at a crossroad worldwide. As the impact of this moment is being felt in the city, I wonder what kind of new accommodations by capital are already in process and what the impact on the city and its habitants this new era will bring with it. I hope this thesis contributes to that understanding. 5CHAPTER TWO: THEORY 2.0 INTRODUCTION This chapter introduces the literature and in particular the theories that influence my analysis. It arises from my studies in sociology and geography. Over the course of my studies I have developed an understanding of neoliberalism and its transformative power over urban space that will allow me to interpret the transformations experienced in the city of Kelowna, in particular, its downtown, during the past decade. Here, I focus on the effects of contemporary forces of neoliberalism over urban space in an interdisciplinary manner with particular attention on how neoliberal discourses, policies and practices reconfigure key aspects of urban space, the built environment and the social relations structured there. I aim at developing the tools to understand actual change of physical and social structures, or in other words, to read how the actual physical layout of the city and its social relations result from the actions of neoliberal forces. In this chapter, I review the theories that are the basis of my empirical work. The first section of this chapter looks at the development of neoliberalism first as an economic theory and then as a political and ideological project. Then I review studies concerned with the backbone of neoliberalism: the rule of the “market” and the quest for “free trade” through privatization, welfare program deregulation and state restructuring. Even though the more general characteristics of neoliberalism are the same, there may be local flavours, as not every place is the same, not every history is identical, and not every neoliberal restructuring wave follows the same pattern. The connecting tie, I suggest, is that the implementation of neoliberalism, seemingly paradoxical, is deliberate and requires political will. Many argue that under neoliberalism, the state has become a tool for an ideological and political project to restore class power anew to dominant classes. I examine how and why neoliberalism in Canada has penetrated many levels of public and private life. I analyze how the state has been reworked - with the state’s direct or indirect complicity - into an ally of capital, 6and how people’s relations to the state have changed and how the state is ridding itself of social responsibilities, forcing people to fend for themselves. I am especially interested in examining the discourses that support neoliberalism and force its socialization. To illustrate a successful attempt at neoliberal discourse creation and dissemination I look at the example of Alberta during the reign of the Conservative Ralph Klein government in the past decade. In the second part of this chapter, I turn my attention to geographical theoretical influences that can be used for the examination of social relations in urban spaces. I review geographical inquiries into the spatial urban evolution, in particular urban morphology, the study of the evolution of urban development over time, an ideal tool to investigate socio-spatial processes of neoliberalized space. 2.1 NEOLIBERALISM In capitalism, the dominant elites - always trying to avert looming capital crises –fight continually to keep capital accumulation as unrestricted as possible. Therefore, they engage in a continuous attempt to re-structure the world according to their needs, all the while creating structures that allow and support their quest for incessant capital accumulation. In the 1980s the predominant Keynesian version of capitalism was in crisis and the economic elite was feeling threatened with annihilation and loss of power and capital.12 Neoliberalism became the tool of the dominant classes to help restore their power.13 Here I understand neoliberalism first as an economic theory, second as economic and political practice and third as hegemonic discourse. Thus, neoliberalism and its ramifications have not been accidental, but rather a deliberate political and ideological project of the dominant classes’ world wide, aiming at restructuring 12 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 13 Ibid. 7markets for capital accumulation while reinforcing elite’s power.14 Drawing on parallels that the late sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (2003) makes with economic globalization, I believe the following quote holds true for neoliberalism: “Economic globalization is not a mechanical effect of the laws of technology or the economy but the product of a policy implemented by a set of agents and institutions, and the result of the application of rules deliberately created for specific ends […] the product of a more or less consciously concerted policy.”15 Neoliberalism is deliberate and needs enabling circumstances for successful implementation. The economic theory of neoliberalism became popular in the 1940s with the Mont Pelerin Society, an elite club, whose members feared that the influence of the dominant classes was waning.16 For them, neoliberal economic policies were a vehicle to restore their riches. In fact, in 1947, the economist Friedrich von Hayek found the Mont Pelerin Society based on the belief that “essential conditions of human dignity and freedom” were threatened.17 Membership was exclusive and included influential members from academe (mainly the realm of economics), historians and philosophers,18 as well as the press (to embed journalists, who could disseminate the idea(l)s to the masses).19 Within the realm of the Mont Pelerin Society, von Hayek began to formulate a body of economic theory, based on his views of Adam Smith’s ideas. Smith became a classic guideline for the economic theory of classical liberalism, and his ideas are still found in neoliberal economic theory. Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations that state intervention in commerce, agriculture and manufacture needed to be abolished to achieve liberalism. The market needed to be left to its 14 Bourdieu, Firing Back; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism; Klein, The Shock Doctrine. 15 Bourdieu, Firing Back, 84-85 (my emphasis). 16 Ibid.; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 17 The Mont Pelerin Society, “Statement of Aims,” (accessed June 7, 2007). 18 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism; Klein, The Shock Doctrine. 19 Jamie Peck, “Neoliberalism on the Loose”( paper presented at a research talk at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, March 15, 2007). 8own mechanisms, without state interference. As a result, a harmonized market would emerge, a “state of “natural” health when all was in balance.”20 Classical liberals believed that all individuals should enjoy social, political and economic liberties. Through the implementation of the balanced market, an “invisible hand” would create social harmony, thus improving everyone’s condition. At the same time, however, believers of classical liberalism took no issue with unequal distributions of social goods, property and wealth and the resulting social disparities, poverty and malaise. The belief that in a “free” market society people are free to develop to their own potential unrestricted by governments, and that the social order achieved in this form is the most efficient because it is based on perfect competition, is the basis of neoliberal theory. To this day, members of the Mont Pelerin Society “see danger in the expansion of government, not least in state welfare, in the power of trade unions and business monopoly, and in the continuing threat and reality of inflation.”21 In the 1950’s and 1960’s, as the leader of the University of Chicago School of Economics, the influential neoliberal economist and Mont Pelerin Society member, Milton Friedman, became paramount in the training and teaching of neoliberal economics globally. In fact, the Chicago School trained in classical neoliberal economic theory, “not just as a school but as a School of Thought.”22 As representative of the Chicago School, Friedman became an organic intellectual of neoliberal ideas worldwide. According to author Naomi Klein, for the Chicago School “the economic forces of supply, demand, inflation and unemployment were like forces of nature, fixed and 20 Klein, The Shock Doctrine, 57. 21 The Mont Pelerin Society, “Statement of Aims,” mpsGoals.cfm#foot2 (accessed June 7, 2007). 22 Klein, The Shock Doctrine, 56. 9unchanging.”23 Supply and demand “existed in the perfect equilibrium, supply communicating with demand the way the moon pulls the tides.”24 Thus, Friedman, with his belief of a balanced “free” market, influenced his disciples according to the idea that markets were to be made “pure” and “free” from government interference. He “dreamed of de-patterning societies, of returning them to a state of pure capitalism, cleansed of all interruptions – government regulations, trade barriers and entrenched interests.”25 Therefore, “the mission of the Chicago School was one of purification.”26 Clearly, neoliberal economic principles were in stark opposition to the Keynesian economics of the time and the post WWII welfare state. Over the second half of the twentieth century, Chicago School economists, in collaboration with the United States’ government, engaged in a variety of economic experiments to transform the world’s dominant economic system around the world into market driven economies.27 Klein argues that many Chicago School graduates became accomplices to economic terrorism, when they helped with the provision of economic blueprints. These students wrote PhD theses and produced models for economic development and market purification. As Harvey argues, they created neoliberal “utopian project[s] to realize a theoretical design for the reorganization of international capitalism.”28 Therefore, in a sense, these blueprints were at-the- ready neoliberal strategies for use in economies that had to be purified and converted to 23 Ibid., 57-58. 24 Ibid., 58. 25 Ibid., 57 (my emphasis). 26 Ibid., 61. 27 See Klein’s The Shock Doctrine for a detailed description of collaboration between military dictators and neoliberal economists. 28 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 19 (author’s emphasis). 10 neoliberal economies. Upon implementation, they became “political project[s] to re-establish the conditions for capital accumulation and to restore the power of economic elites.”29 Neoliberal economic theory has not only benefited the upper classes economically, but as a political project30 and as ideological discourse31 it has consolidated the elites’ social position: “The evidence strongly suggests that the neoliberal turn is in some way and to some degree associated with the restoration or reconstruction of the power of the economic elites.”32 Harvey’s words convey that the implementation of neoliberal economic theory is no coincidence; it is a deliberate project implemented at certain times --times of shock and crises-- by dominant classes in the deliberate attempt to free the market from government interference. In fact, according to different authors, neoliberal policies have often emerged during situations of natural or fabricated instability, a state of ‘emergency,’ such as forced political change, like a coup, terrorism, war, or environmental disaster. For example, the 1973 September 11 coup in Chile, the 2001 September 11 attack in the United States, the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, the 2004 Asian Tsunami, or the 2005 Hurricane Katrina are moments of instability attached to neoliberal action. In fact, timing is crucial for the successful introduction of neoliberalism.33 Peck and Tickell write, “[economic] crisis proved to be important moments in its [neoliberalism’s] ongoing transformation.”34 Moreover, Klein has argued that there is a correlation between the magnitude of shock and ease of imposition of neoliberal policies. She suggests that the greater the disorientation and 29 Ibid., (author’s emphasis). 30 Ibid. 31 Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance; Bourdieu, Firing Back. 32 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 19. 33 Bourdieu, Firing Back; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism; Winn, Victims of the Chilean Miracle; Klein, The Shock Doctrine. 34 Peck and Tickell, Neoliberalizing Space, 40. 11 chaos that people suffer the easier is the imposition and implementation of neoliberal policies. It makes sense to suggest that the general public, while trying to adapt to the chaos and change, and while trying to regain some sense of balance and meet their most basic survival needs, is extremely challenged to comprehend a neoliberal turn. How can the public understand the situation of turmoil as a situation of political change and foresee its ramifications, especially when neoliberal policies are all too often ‘cloaked’ as remedial emergency measures? I understand this situation as deliberate: people are kept in a state of (sometimes prolonged) crisis, which grants the dominant classes’ firstly additional time to implement economic neoliberalism, and secondly, create a hegemonic neoliberal political project. This problem is compounded by the fact that architects of neoliberal policies, in collaboration with dominant classes, have become more adept at creating situations that serve as gateways for the imposition of neoliberal policies. Overall, the dominant classes have become shrewder over the past decades, as they have had more opportunities to practice neoliberal state reconstruction and neoliberal statecraft.35 During the 1970s and 1980s, the world experienced a significant crisis of capitalist accumulation. High unemployment and rising inflation in Europe and the United States created an economic situation that worried the global elite: “when growth collapsed in the 1970s, when real interest rates went negative and paltry dividends and profits were the norm, then upper classes everywhere felt threatened.”36 Harvey suggests that the upper classes were worrying their position of privilege and power was threatened. This capital crisis, with its shrinking profits, prompted corporate elite’s into action. In addition, at the same time this unique economic climate 35 For a very detailed example and thorough analysis of neoliberal state restructuring in Chile in the 1970s, again, see Winn, Victims of the Chilean Miracle. This book demonstrates the terrors of forced neoliberal restructuring of Chile, where Pinochet, with the help of the “Chicago Boys” and backing by capital, brutally restructured the country after a military coup in 1973. Moreover, this book is an excellent read for all those who want to understand how brutal neoliberal restructuring is upon implementation, how the Chilean people suffered, and the grave ramifications that neoliberal restructuring brings. It also shows how the project becomes hegemonic and remains strong in democratic environments. 36 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 15. 12 provided an exceptional opportunity to herald neoliberal economic policies as a cure-all for what was wrong with the economy: being too sluggish, suffering from high unemployment and rising inflation.37 The answers to the economic crisis of the time were purposeful and crafted,38 “[t]he upper classes had to move decisively if they were to protect themselves from political and economic annihilation.”39 The answer was a strategy based on increased powers for the corporate and business sector while simultaneous imposing fiscal austerity measures upon the state to save money and reduce state expenditures.40 For example, the Volcker Shock41 introduced sweeping reforms that rid the government of social responsibilities while simultaneously granting more powers to the dominant classes.42 Alternatively, Alberta’s Klein government, elected in June of 1993, promised to eliminate deficits, and reduce social spending and personal taxes. In order to fulfill its election promises, the Klein government created a “discourse of globalization” aimed at making Alberta “a more competitive player on the international market place.”43 During that time, in more countries around the globe, as neoliberalism became the new prevailing economic model, state power was eroded, the welfare state dismantled, and the state restructured according to neoliberal interests. 37 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism; Klein The Shock Doctrine. 38 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 39 Ibid., 15. 40 Claude Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever It Wants”: Moral Regulation in Ralph Klein’s Alberta,” The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 32(3) (1995): 365-83; Winn, Victims of the Chilean Miracle; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 41 Named after Paul Volcker, the United States Federal Reserve chairman, who increased interest rates in the US. By 1981 the interest rates rose to 21%, pushing many people into bankruptcy. Outside of the US, soaring interest rates on given loans pushed developing countries into crisis: their loans became much more expensive and their increased financial burden negatively impacted their ability to repay their loans. 42 Winn, Victims of the Chilean Miracle; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism; Klein, The Shock Doctrine. 43 Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever It Wants,” 371. 13 Neoliberal theory adheres to the belief that the market is sacred and that “all human interactions should become domains of the market.”44 When everyone becomes a free agent in the neoliberal market economy, everyone’s potential can be unleashed and maximized. Only then will human beings succeed at their full potential - when their entrepreneurial potential is unrestricted. In the same logic, neoliberal theory argues that people’s positions in society are results of their interaction with market forces, albeit forgetting and denying that some are simply born into positions of privilege. In addition, the corporate elite suggests that all people will benefit greatly when corporations reap huge benefits and the rich get richer, “[a]n unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone.”45 From the 1970’s onwards, in many parts of the world, within the logic of neoliberal economic theory, the role of the state has changed drastically from the role of the Keynesian welfare state to a deregulated neoliberal state. The main policies of the neoliberal recipe were privatization, deregulation and restructuring. In the name of efficiency, public companies were ‘renovated’ to make them more attractive to potential buyers, and then sold to the private sector. People were laid off and unionization disallowed. As a direct result, many profitable public common goods such as highways, hospitals, water, utilities, banks, schools, universities and key industries were placed in the hands of the corporate elite. In sum, in the attempt to reduce their own regulatory role, governments restructure the economy and labour relations according to capital’s interests, while attempting to create new markets.46 Throughout this process, governments rid themselves of social and environmental responsibilities, passing them off to the private sector. In fact, neoliberal economic restructuring 44 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 3. 45 Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo Garcia, “What is ‘Neo-liberalism’? A Brief Definition,” Economy 101, Global Exchange, /econ101/ neoliberalDefined.html (accessed September 15, 2006). 46 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 14 erodes the services and provisions of the welfare state to the people, while creating structures that support capital. Interestingly, the state does not retract or shrink with less social responsibility and reduced social spending.47 Moreover, despite eliminating social services, public expenditures to businesses are not reduced. Contrary to public claims, corporations are continually subsidized with tax breaks and other benefits. The state becomes “an indispensable partner of capital.” Harvey explains that the “creation of a ‘good business climate’ was a priority. This meant using public resources to build appropriate infrastructures for business particularly in telecommunications coupled with subsidies and tax incentives for capitalist enterprises. Corporate welfare substituted for people welfare.”48 A ‘good business climate’ is a climate where capital can operate freely, supported and protected by government, but at the same time unrestricted by human rights regulations and/or worker protections. Capital and organized labour hold diametrically opposed goals. Contrary to capital’s interests, worker’s rights prevent capital from exploiting workers, and worker’s solidarity prevents capital’s attempts of de-unionization. Neoliberal theory argues that unions and solidarity are continual impediments to market freedom, stifling competition, productivity, and restricting worker mobility.49 Therefore, when workers’ feelings of cohesiveness and social solidarity are broken, and there is no organized labour (anymore), neoliberal economies can thrive.50 In that sense, the erosion of worker’s rights and social protections, and the push to break unions, are inversely related to the success of neoliberalism.51 Neoliberalism must therefore be understood as a deliberate attack on labour and social solidarity. 47 Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever It Wants,” 380. 48 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 47. 49 Bourdieu, Firing Back; Winn, Victims of the Chilean Miracle; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 50 Ibid. 51 Peck and Tickel, Neoliberalizing Space. 15 More so, during state restructuring, neoliberal theory calls for severe austerity measures to public expenditures, such as social services. According to the neoliberal perspective of Alberta’s government, “the government should not be held responsible for the fulfillment of all society’s needs.”52 Claude Denis quotes former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein: “government doesn’t and indeed, cannot have all the answers, all the money or all the compassion.”53 In the attempts to dismantle existing welfare provisions, spending reforms for social security, education, health care, elder and childcare are first proposed, and later implemented. The result is two-fold: first, there is a very drastic reduction of the social safety net. People are forced to make do with less. Over time, these austerity measures tear the social fabric,54 especially once poverty and class polarization become systemic and entrenched. Instead of providing services through the state, the responsibility for social well-being is handed off to the individual, forcing individuals to become self-reliant and solve problems individually, without state support. During Alberta’s neoliberal turn, “the Albertan government insists that Albertans must become more responsible for their own well-being […] the goal is not to make [social] welfare unbearable […] But it has to be uncomfortable enough that people will try and find an alternative way of living.”55 In addition, this neoliberal rhetoric suggests that those who still need and draw on social welfare are failures in the sense that they fail to realize their entrepreneurial potential in the market. And this is the second ramification of neoliberal welfare restructuring: the perception of users of social services changes. In a social climate where people’s successes or failures are understood in relation to the market, those people who need social service support are seen as 52 Denis,“Government Can Do Whatever It Wants,” 378. 53 Ibid. 54 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 55 Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever It Wants,” 380. 16 failures and therefore a burden. Over time, especially as the neoliberal doctrine becomes entrenched and hegemonic, welfare users are seen as “borderline deviants.”56 Indeed, there is an active assault on the idea of the ‘common good’ under neoliberal discourse. Notions of community and solidarity are aggressively and continually attacked. Feelings of social cohesion, solidarity and civic duty are replaced with feelings of individual entitlement,57 especially as competitive strivings of individuals emerge and community cohesion begins to erode and break down. The individual is socialized58 and habituated59 with the idea of ‘individual responsibility,’60 creating a push for an individuated society,61 within which “one’s place in society becomes no longer as a (wanted or unwanted) gift.”62 Instead, one’s position in society results from individual-to-market interactions. Baumann even suggests that individuals today suffer from a ‘problem of identity,’63 meaning people fail to develop a person-specific identity, one where people define themselves collectively through struggles within society. In contrast, identity is rather defined according to what sells best in the market and what character traits have the best market marketability. More so, neoliberalism forces one to continually adopt new identities in accordance with changing and dynamic market forces. 56 Ibid. 57 Ibid.; Baumann, The Individualized Society. 58 Cindi Katz, “Vagabond Capitalism and the Necessity of Social Reproduction,” Antipode 33(4) (2001), 709-728. 59 Bourdieu, Firing Back. 60 Baumann, The Individualized Society. 61 Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity (London: Sage Publications, 1992). 62 Baumann, The Individualized Society, 144. 63 Ibid., 147. 17 “In other words, the quandary tormenting men and women […] is not so much how to obtain the identities of their choice and how to have them recognized by people around – but which identity to choose and how to keep alert and vigilant so that another choice can be made in case the previously chosen identity is withdrawn from the market or stripped of its seductive powers.”64 It is no accident that people are feeling neoliberal transformations as restraints on/in their lives. Groups that have historically had less power are most severely impacted by neoliberalism, and as a result, suffer the most, for example, minorities, children, women, the poor and the disadvantaged.65 In most cases, their suffering and disadvantage increases as the market expands and intensifies, and as neoliberalism grows more entrenched.66 Neoliberalisms implementation is path-dependent,67 meaning that there are certain steps to be taken before neoliberal economic theory can grow into a more over-reaching political and ideological project. For example, Peck and Tickell write the first neoliberal “developed” transformations came in the 1970s when Margaret Thatcher, in Great Britain, and Ronald Reagan, in the United States, began implementing neoliberal economic policies.68 That neoliberal turn presented a shift from neoliberalism as abstract intellectual theory to implemented economic theory, and only thereafter neoliberalism became a concrete political and ideological project. Throughout that time, the focus of the Thatcher and Reagan’s governments was to rework the state, rolling-back the existing welfare state. During a second set of neoliberal transformations, in the early 1990s, there were efforts to roll-out neoliberalism through 64 Idem, (author’s emphasis). 65 Winn, Victims of the Chilean Miracle. 66 However, at times neoliberalism can also create unusual side effects. In Chile, Heidi Tinsman writes, as the economy was restructured, large numbers of women entered the labour market, which gave them some economic freedom in the sense that they could earn their own wages and were not solely dependent on their husbands anymore. A perverse situation ensued, where they entered into relations of exploitation in the factory, which however presented options to leave exploitative and abusive relations at home. Heidi Tinsman, “More than Victims: Women Agricultural Workers and Social Change in Rural Chile,” 261-297, in Peter Winn, ed., Victims of the Chilean Miracle (Durham: University Press, 2004). 67 Brenner and Theodore, Spaces of Neoliberalism; Peck and Tickell, Neoliberalizing Space; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 68 Peck and Tickell, Neoliberalizing Space. 18 neoliberalized institutions, in addition to manifest and to institutionalize neoliberalism as a political and ideological project. In fact, neoliberal theory, upon implementation, has destructive and creative moments,69 thus engaging in “creative destruction.”70 During periods of neoliberal destruction, or “roll-back” moments, the state is deregulated and dismantled,71 whereas during periods of creation, or “roll- out” moments, there is an “emergent phase of active state-building and regulatory reform.”72 These neoliberal waves constitute an entrenchment of neoliberal reform and signal a shift from neoliberal economic theory to neoliberalism as implemented political and ideological theory. However, neoliberalism has not only been experienced in Britain and the USA. In fact, today it is lived in most areas around the world. Canada is no exception. Just to mention one example relevant to this thesis, the federal government froze its social housing funds in 199473 downloading its responsibilities to provide for non-market housing to the provinces. The provinces in turn, tried to download as many of these responsibilities to the municipal governments. This downloading exemplifies how the state’s welfare provision in the form of social housing was stopped, and subsequently the provision of affordable housing eliminated. The federal government is not in the business of providing non-profit housing any more: this responsibility now rests with provinces and municipalities. As a result, there have been very few non-market housing units been built while there definitely is a growing need.74 Rather than establishing a single pattern of action, neoliberal theories can show ‘local flavours,’ especially 69 Brenner and Theodore, Spaces of Neoliberalism. 70 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 3. 71 Peck and Tickell, Neoliberalizing Space, 37. 72 Ibid., 33. 73 Bruce Porter, “The Right to Adequate Housing in Canada,” in David Hulchanski and Michael Shapcott, ed., Finding Room: Options for a Canadian Rental Housing Strategy (Toronto: CUCS Press, 2004), 69-80. 74 David Hulchanski, “A Tale of Two Canada’s: Homeowners Getting Richer, Renters Getting Poorer,” in David Hulchanski and Michael Shapcott, ed., Finding Room: Options for a Canadian Rental Housing Strategy (Toronto: CUCS Press, 2004), 81-88. 19 during processual implementations. Depending on the circumstances of the state/ economy/ place under neoliberal assault, there can be and are different outcomes. As such, neoliberal policies have been implemented differently, at different paces and with differing patterns. In part, this is due to the particular conditions of the areas where it is imposed and the specific needs that those who prepare for neoliberalism create. Like already suggested earlier, and following Bourdieu’s logic, neoliberalism is a product of policies implemented by different agents and ‘their’ institutions.75 Even though neoliberalism is seen as contradictory at times, it remains steadfast in its goals. It remains capitalism - reborn under the cloak of neoliberal policies with the goal of creating a ‘utopia of unlimited exploitation.’76 Overall, the implementation of neoliberalism must be understood because of unique political and economic precursors in a geographic area, a continual and ongoing process,77 growing more entrenched over time. Under neoliberalism the state is reworked in either “active or passive complicity“78 because the state plays an instrumental role for capital.79 This process of neoliberal restructuring is in no way a passive dismantling of the state apparatus, but instead the state participates in its restructuring. In being so malleable and responsive to the economic neoliberal discourse, which reflects capital’s desires, the state becomes a vehicle for the economic elites to increase (their) capital.80 The use of neoliberal economic theories to restructure the state is like a dual attack: these theories simultaneously attack and abolish that part of the state that is seen as resistant to 75 Bourdieu, Firing Back. 76 Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance. 77 Peck and Tickell, Neoliberalizing Space. 78 Bourdieu, Firing Back, 86. 79 Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever It Wants;” Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 80 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 20 the interests of elites, while they (these theories) also construct and create new neoliberal state structures that support the further progression and entrepreneurial activity of a neoliberal state.81 Neoliberal state restructuring results in negative implications for the state and its citizens: In practice, there is a loss of democracy. In neoliberal states, key positions within government are filled with individuals from the business and corporate elite.82 Throughout the restructuring, capital is freed from regulation, which increases its mobility.83 For example, in municipalities there is less public involvement in municipal government.84 It is replaced by special interest groups and members of the business community representing capital, such as the Chamber of Commerce or other pro-growth organizations.85 The shifting state responsibilities, and a “shift from government (state power on its own) to governance (a broader configuration of state and key elements in civil society) [… where] the practices of the neoliberal and developmental state broadly converge,”86 with the resulting regulatory framework and legislation tend to benefit capital. Harvey explains, “in many of the instances of public-private partnerships87, particularly at the municipal level, the state assumes much of the risk, while the private sector takes much of the profits.”88 In the neoliberal world, there reigns an “economic democracy,” “a new definition 81 Ibid. 82 William Carroll, Corporate Power in a Globalized World (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2004); Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 83 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 84 Ibid. 85 Eben Fodor, Better Not Bigger: How to Take Control of Urban Growth and Improve Community (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2001). 86 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 77. 87 Public-private partnerships are partnerships between the public sector and the private sector that are jointly funded. However, these partnerships do not share the profits equally, all too often granting more profits and benefits to the private sector, leaving the public sector with the risks and costs. A recent example of a public-private partnership in Kelowna is the new Bill Bennett Bridge. Financed, developed, constructed and serviced by SNC Lavalin, the bridge is a public-private partenership between the people of BC and SNC Lavalin. 88 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 77. 21 of democracy which excludes 99.9% of the world’s people,”89 where “citizenship [is reduced] to an economic status.”90 To quote sociologist Jerry Harris “One dollar, one vote.”91 Only those with capital hold decision-making powers. Therefore, over time, the state increasingly looses control over capital, and capital begins to escape the nation or government that it previously ‘belonged’ to.92 Deprived of funds, states/cities are then required to resort to other strategies of capital attraction. Ironically, in order to welcome capital, the state is forced to embrace more neoliberal policies. To entice capital, governments embrace market-oriented concepts that make the movement of goods and capital easier. At the municipal level, cities must also attempt to entice capital, which often happens through “place-marketing, and regulatory undercutting in order to attract investments and jobs.”93 Moreover, less funding for cities often translates into fiscal reforms of city government, budgetary cuts and economic restructuring,94 for example privatization (of infrastructure maintenance and/or construction) and public-private partnerships. Thus, cities attempt to attract capital and business investors through urban renewal projects, which promise to economically regenerate the city.95 These urban renewal projects, often 89 Jerry Harris, “Globalisation and the Technological Transformation of Capitalism,” Race & Class 40 (2/3)(1998/1999), 21-35; 32. 90 Ibid., 33. 91 Ibid., 31. 92 Ibid. 93 Helga Leitner and Eric Sheppard, Economic Uncertainty, Interurban Competition and the Efficacy of Entrepreneurialism (1998), as cited by Brenner and Theodore, Spaces of Neoliberalism, 20. 94 Brenner and Theodore, Spaces of Neoliberalism. 95 Erik Swyngedouw, Frank Moulaert and Arantxa Rodriguez, Neoliberal Urbanization in Europe: Large- Scale Urban Development Projects and the New Urban Policy (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 2002), 195-229; Brenner and Theodore, Spaces of Neoliberalism; Patrick Loftman and Brendan Nevin, Prestige Projects, City Centre Restructuring and Social Exclusion: Taking the Long-Term View, in Malcolm Miles and Tim Hall, ed., Urban Futures: Critical Commentaries on Shaping the City (New York: Routledge, 2003), 76-91. 22 comprised of pro-growth policies, flagship developments96 and prestige projects,97 work under the logic of “the promotion of a future vision.”98 This vision could include economic growth, “smart growth,”99 rejuvenation and regeneration of derelict areas, and/or place marketing for global recognition. Sometimes, “a mix of projects is presented, [but] regardless of the efficacy of such a mix, the main objective of these projects is to obtain a higher social and economic return and to revalue prime urban land. [The explicit goal of a city is then] to improve the tax base […] via a sociospatial and economic reorganization of space.”100 In fact, as Capital News reporter Jeff Nagel explains, the provincial government of BC experiences a huge windfall when there is a lot of real estate activity. In 2006 alone, BC’s “red-hot real estate market [fuelled] a huge and growing windfall for the provincial government that’s on track to top $850 million this year. With every house or condo that changes hands at ever higher prices, Victoria [the capital of the province of BC] gets a cut through its Property Transfer Tax.”101 This 2% tax, implemented in 1987, has earned the government $302 million in the 2001-02 fiscal year and $625 million in the 96 Phil Hubbard, “Urban Design and City Regeneration: Social Representations of Entrepreneurial Landscapes,” Urban Studies 33(8) (1996), 1441-1463. 97 Loftman and Nevin, Prestige Projects, City Centre Restructuring and Social Exclusion. 98 Swyngedouw, Moulart and Rodriguez, Neoliberal Urbanization in Europe, 202. 99 In urban planning “Smart Growth” pertains to a planning theory that aims to grow a city in its center through densification, with the main goal to avoid sprawl and urbanization. The smart growth rational is based on calculated growth, where there are anticipated outcomes to steer the growth (Fodor, Better Not Bigger). Smart growth initiatives include the building of communities with a variety of housing, well-connected transportation networks, local employment, recreation and shopping in walking proximity. Growth happens in these ‘smart communities,’ thus ceasing to put pressures on outward expanding growth, preserving agricultural lands and environmentally sensitive areas. For a list of “10 Smart Growth Principles” see AboutUs/SGPrinciples/ tabid/133/Default.aspx (accessed May 12, 2008). For more information on the Smart Growth movement in British Columbia, go to “Smart Growth BC” (accessed May 12, 2008). For smart growth in action and how it is being implemented in BC communities see “Smart Growth on the Ground”, which is a partnership between the University of BC’s Design Centre for Sustainable Sustainability, the Real Estate Institute of BC and Smart Growth BC. Go to indexnscp.asp (accessed May 12, 2008). 100 Swyngedouw, Moulart and Rodriguez, Neoliberal Urbanization in Europe, 204. 101 Jeff Nagel, “Victoria Cashes in on Boom with Real Estate Tax,” Capital News, 3 February 2006. 23 2004-05 fiscal years.102 Clearly, governments profit when there is a lot of activity in the real estate and development market, especially when prices are increasing. As another example of government intervention in the real estate industry, Harvey writes that there have been sixty documented cases in the State of New York, where “revenue-strapped municipalities are now regularly using the power of eminent domain to displace low- and even moderate- income property owners living in perfectly good housing in order to fee land for upper-income and commercial developments that will enhance the tax base.”103 This accumulation by dispossession,104 whereby resources are redistributed to the upper classes, gives witness to neoliberalism’s regressive redistributive powers, one of “the main substantive achievements of neoliberalization.”105 However, creating conditions that welcome capital is easier than holding on to that capital, since global capitalists hold no allegiance to any one nation, state, region or city; they invest where profit yields are the largest, as well as facilitated.106 Cities are forced to create capital enticing situations, become entrepreneurial and create a good climate for business:107 “[C]ity government was more and more construed as an entrepreneurial rather than a social democratic or even managerial entity. Inter-urban competition for investment capital transformed government into urban governance through public-private partnerships. City business was increasingly conducted behind closed doors, and the democratic and representational content of local governance diminished.”108 For example, for urban renewal projects the municipal government assumes the risks, whereas the private sector enjoys the profits. The city gains a larger tax base, but the public subsidizes the 102 Ibid. 103 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 164. 104 David Harvey, The New Imperialism (Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004). 105 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 159. 106 Harris, Globalisation and the Technological Transformation of Capitalism. 107 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 108 Ibid., 47. 24 private sector that earns and takes away the profits,109 depriving the city and the public of any long-term benefits. Moreover, as soon as profits have been accrued, capital is ‘off’ again, looking for another investment, because capital needs to accumulate incessantly. This continual quest for profits, coupled with the technological revolution of the 1990s,110 “has propelled investment away from manufacturing and into global speculation.”111 Harris explains, “the ability to transfer money worldwide instantaneously led to […] an explosion of financial speculative markets.”112 The speed and ease of money movements and fund transfers creates very volatile markets113 that can change nearly instantaneously, especially since investors can direct capital with the stroke of a key. At the municipal level, speculation often fuels more speculation, as buildings and land present commodities that have a worth arising from performance indicators.114 At the city level, speculation often begins small and then quickly progresses to a much larger scale.115 For example, at the beginning of a speculation cycle, small projects are gentrified, then entire blocks and districts. Geographer Michael Freeman argues that the projects of speculation get bigger, especially once external companies show interest in an area, increasing the scale and scope of speculation, yielding larger profits.116 Thus, another repercussion of neoliberalization has been increased speculation and a global diffusion of capital,117 resulting in a 109 Fodor, Better Not Bigger. 110 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 111 Harris, Globalisation and the Technological Transformation of Capitalism, 22. 112 Ibid. 113 Ibid.; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 114 Michael Barke, “Morphogenesis, Fringe-Belts and Urban Size: an Exploratory Essay,” in T.R. Slater, ed., The Built Form of Western Cities (London: Leicester University Press, 1990), 279-99; Igal Charney, “Property Developers and the Robust Downtown: the Case of Four Major Canadian Downtowns,” The Canadian Geographer 49(3) (2005), 301-312. 115 Mike Freeman, Commercial Building Development: the Agents of Change, in T.R. Slater, ed., The Built Form of Western Cities (London: Leicester University Press, 1990), 253-276. 116 Ibid. 117 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 25 power shift granting more powers to corporations and the business sector, but as the 2007 crisis of sub-prime in the US shows, making the global financial system vulnerable. Once a real estate market begins to pick up, land is often purposefully withheld to push prices up further. There is a definite correlation between future expectations of land use and land costs. “[I]n a city where the future expectations of urban growth are high, there will be a greater tendency to withhold land from the current development, thus forcing up the price and the density use on the land that is developed in the current period.”118 Giving into this logic of a ‘casino mentality,’119 where speculations with commodities, and increasingly information,120 have been normalized and legitimized, cities have become “venues for frenzied real-estate development and property speculation.”121 In cities, aided by credit from banks and investors, investors speculate with (future) land developments and real estate: factual as well as virtual, meaning that real estate speculation thrives with selling and buying of not-yet-built real estate. For example, the Globe and Mail reporter Gary Mason writes that in Vancouver investors from China, Korea, Iran, Europe and Russia currently buy condominiums.122 Of the 2,925 condominium units slated for completion in 2009, 98% have been sold, and of the 714 that are to be built for 2010, 83% have been sold. Many of those units exist only on paper. As Mason also explains, an unfinished condominium penthouse at the Shangri La sold for $16 million. That same condominium, not yet built, (and planned with less square footage) three years ago, was for sale for $5.3 million.123 Often the same unit is sold and resold several times over a short period. Increased speculation, coupled with commodification of 118 Barke, Commercial Building Development, 285. 119 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 133. 120 Harris, Globalisation and the Technological Transformation of Capitalism. 121 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 133. 122 Gary Mason, “Just Who is Buying Vancouver’s Zillion-Dollar Condos,” Globe and Mail, May 17, 2008. 123 Ibid. 26 everything and the technological transformation, lead to a ‘financialization of everything,’124 whereby speculation has become more legitimated and normalized. In the city, the anticipation of what is to come in the future125 drives urban growth. For example, and according to speculatory logic, if there is anticipated economic growth, then there will be an in-migration of people and an expansion of consumption, especially in housing.126 In truth, speculative real estate developments are private initiatives127 to create ‘good’ pro-growth climates, often supported and subsidized by governments. This could be through land use planning, zoning and by-laws, gateway projects or public-private partnership infrastructure projects. Overall, speculation is integral to the success of neoliberalism in the sense that capital can accrue very fast in this climate. In addition, money itself does have value, but that value is influenced by the exchange of information about potential for growth or loss. 128 This value is then further influenced by governmental policies that regulate economic activities and capital movement. When money can move fast and at moment’s notice, then the potential for profit increases. However, as capital moves about globally in a highly volatile and unrestricted manner, the global market itself becomes increasingly volatile and there are many telltale signs of uneven (global) development.129 Actually, uneven development propels neoliberalization,130 especially since resulting inequalities invite more neoliberal ‘policies of betterment’: the cyclical nature of uneven development continues. Due to the sweeping commodification of everything, nations, countries, regions, cities 124 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 33. 125 Fodor, Better Not Bigger. 126 Ibid. 127 Ibid. 128 Harris, Globalisation and the Technological Transformation of Capitalism. 129 Ibid; Bourdieu Firing Back; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 130 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 27 and neighbourhoods become markets, and the neoliberal state’s role is instrumental in the redistribution of capital. The municipal government, as a state body, must attract capital, but in doing so is also influenced by that capital. In that sense, capital only rewards states with temporary access and use of the capital, if the state is able to contribute to growth of the capital. Thus, the more accommodating a municipal government can be, the more successful it will be in capital attraction and retention. In the process, however, the political and economic authorities often have to bend over backwards to gain access to capital and appease the desires of capital. The interests of the dominant classes are diametrically opposed to the interests of the working classes.131 The goals of economic and political elites are to create and protect structures that support and allow unfettered capital accumulation. To implement their neoliberal strategies the dominant classes must alter the public’s perception of neoliberalism, as well as government- capital relations, thus shaping a discourse that portrays neoliberal practices as beneficial to the public, and restructuring of the state as a logic subsequent step. The public is taught to believe that the state functions best in ‘unrestricted’ markets, and that neoliberal structural readjustments and reforms are in everyone’s best interest.132 The neoliberal discourse of free trade emphasizes that the market rules in everyone’s best interest. In this context ‘free’ does not mean free and uncontrolled. Rather, the goal of the neoliberal discourse is to make people believe in a myth of an unregulated market, a self- regulating entity. In reality, the market is socially constructed according to the needs and wants of dominant classes. This discourse further promises the working classes a trickle of wealth coming ‘down’ from the upper classes. The neoliberal discourse purports that upper classes, with 131 Richard H. Robbins, Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism (2nd edition, Toronto: Allyn and Bacon, 2002); Bourdieu, Firing Back. 132 Bourdieu, Firing Back. 28 the help of neoliberal economic theory, will eliminate poverty on a domestic and global level, but only if markets and trade are free.133 As sociologist Pierre Bourdieu argued, the neoliberal discourse is a strong discourse, “For neoliberal discourse is not like others. Like psychiatric discourse in the asylum … it is a strong discourse that has behind it the powers of a world of power relations which it helps to make as it is, in particular by orienting the economic choices of those who dominate relations and so adding its own – specifically symbolic – force to those power relations.”134 And this discourse presents itself as the cure-all to today’s problems, no matter if the problem is of an economic, political or social nature. The neoliberal discourse is based on the notion that social relations are restricting.135 Instead, each individual must be responsible for him/herself,136 and every individual shall act like an entrepreneur in his or her everyday relations. Social relations become relations of the market place. Moreover, the neoliberal discourse suggests that private property and personal responsibility are paramount, trumping social relations and solidarity. Social solidarity is seen as restricting to each individual’s self-fulfillment, and, according to neoliberal belief, forms of social solidarity must be dissolved. Collective human rights must be eroded in favour of individual rights. As Thatcher so famously said in May of 1979, “economics are the method, but the object is to change the soul.”137 This cultural transformation138 was manifest in the belief that the individual and his/her “freedom” are more important than the sum of individuals and society. Arising from that logic, after the internalization of a neoliberal discourse, social cohesion exists 133 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 134 Bourdieu, Firing Back, 95. 135 Ibid; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 136 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 137 Bourdieu, Firing Back, as quoted in Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 23. 138 Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever It Wants.” 29 only in temporary relationships, because social bonds have been replaced with market relations.139 Dominant classes, with the help of governments, “make moral regulation”140 which creates the cultural transformation of society, and which is necessary to give people the tools to embrace the ideals of neoliberalism. In this process, the media is very important: they serve, as a vehicle to disseminate the ideals of the dominant classes141 and bring neoliberalism to the masses, so that it can penetrate all aspects of people’s lives, forcing internalization of is principles.142 The anti-social neoliberal discourse pushes for an individuation of society143 and is based on individual self-responsibility and success in relation to a market-oriented and self- commodifying entrepreneurial lifestyle. Social solidarity and connectedness become hindrances on the personal quest for market success. Thus, neoliberal discourse suggests there are “particular” ways of being human “that are legitimized and naturalized through moral regulation”144 into a culture-economy,145 where people show a moral behaviour that is in fact of an economic nature. In this culture-economy, people are in constant competition with one another: for property, for subsistence, for resources, for their own well-being. Failure to thrive and become rich rests with the individual,146 who fails to seize opportunities, lacks self-discipline and is unable to maximize personal potential. The neoliberal common sense upholds social 139 Bourdieu Firing Back; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 140 Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever It Wants.” 141 Ibid; Fodor, Better not Bigger; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 142 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 143 Baumann, The Individualized Society. 144 Mariana Valverde, “Moral Capital,” Canadian Journal of Law and Society 9 (1994), 212-232, as quoted in Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever it Wants,” 368. 145 Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever It Wants.” 146 Sennett, Der Flexible Mensch; Bourdieu, Firing Back. 30 inequalities and wealth polarization as legitimate. For example, in the city, people have internalized the social segregation of classes in the sense that rich upper classes have a right to the best land and properties, just as it has been internalized that the poor live in the derelict areas of town. After all, neoliberal ideology states that people get what they deserve. Those living in derelict and disinvested areas of town must simply have little market potential. This dominant discourse is disseminated with the help of the media,147 as well as reproduced during interpersonal interactions,148 mainly between “those associated with social reproduction”149 of the neoliberal culture-economy. The neoliberal belief system is passed on and accepted as the dominant discourse, especially since social reproduction is more stationary than capital, and occurs in all milieus and realms of the neoliberal state.150 Over time, the tenets of neoliberalism become the new common sense. Eventually, the implementation and internalization of neoliberalism is not only seen in people’s interactions and beliefs, but are also translated and manifest in the urban built environment. Newly built neoliberal urban realms reflect aspects of neoliberalism in city reconfiguration, layout, building design and style, as well as zoning, or intended human use of this urban environment. It is at this juncture that an interesting paradox arises: neoliberal policies are manifest in a ‘free’ market ideology, whereas cities are planned based on the regulation of space. To examine Kelowna’s experience with neoliberalism, and to understand how neoliberal policies influence and change urban space and people’s use thereof, an investigation of the neoliberal urban reconfiguration is warranted. 147 Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever It Wants.” 148 Katz, Vagabond Capitalism and the Necessity of Social Reproduction. 149 Ibid., 708. 150 Ibid. 31 2.2 URBAN MORPHOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS OF CITY SPACE While neoliberal theory argues for the deregulation of space, today’s neoliberalized urban spaces are in practice heavily regulated. To develop an understanding of this contradictory situation, a geographical inquiry into the morphology of urban space, or the historical evolution of urban space over time, is beneficial. Urban morphology helps to analyze neoliberalism’s power to rework the urban built environment. Space has held many different meanings for geographers in the past, and as such, inquiries in spatial geography focussed on space in either absolute or relative terms.151 The early geography (until the 1970s) centred on positivistic and quantitative approaches to examining space, where space was understood to be objective and empirical. From this perspective, space was rather understood as “an absolute container of static, though movable, objects and dynamic flows of behaviour.”152 “A kind of absolute grid, within which objects are located and events occur.”153 Relations and events occurred in this absolute space based on geometric patterns. This approach excluded relations between people and places and denied the importance of social vectors in socio-spatial relations. Generally, geographers studying urban morphology used topographical maps and town plans, as well as plans depicting settlements with the goal to establish settlement patterns. Their approach was historico-geographical, looking at historic patterns of urban development over time. Results, however, often proved inconclusive, since knowledge of simultaneously accompanying social and economic relationships within the areas 151 Phil Hubbard, Rob Kitchin, Brendan Bartley and Duncan Fuller, Thinking Geographically: Space, Theory and Contemporary Human Geography (London: Continuum, 2002). 152 Brendan Gleeson, “A Geography for Disabled People?” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 21(1996), 387-396; p. 390, as quoted in Hubbard, Kitchin, Bartley and Fuller, Thinking Geographically, 13. 153 Mark Curry, “Postmodernism, Language and the Strains of Modernism,” Annals, Association of Geographers 81 (1995), 210-28; p. 5, as quoted in Hubbard, Kitchin, Bartley and Fuller, Thinking Geographically, 13. 32 of study were often unknown or not considered.154 Space was considered neutral, and the forces and processes that shaped it were too often simply excluded from the investigation. This has changed and today’s morphogenetic work includes critical inquiries into urban reconfiguration, like the work by geographers Deryck Holdsworth and Gunter Gad155 in Canada. These analyses are is inclusive of critical examination of people,156 forces and processes that rework city space. Therefore, the use of urban morphology to examine the economic, political and ideological forces that socially construct cities is essential, because the physical structure of the urban built environment serves as a historical mirror of the interplay of the aforementioned forces. The urban built environment reflects how the landscape has been influenced by different agents of change (land entrepreneurs and select members of the planning, real estate, development industry and business),157 and thus developed over the course of time. Additionally, the understanding of dialectical relationships between individuals and the urban built environment is paramount for a critical inquiry. Current examinations of space are more relational, questioning spatial problems more analytically and critically, where the “understanding of space prioritizes analyses of how space is constituted and given meaning through human endeavour.”158 From this perspective space is not neutral, but a product of socio- spatial relations. 154 JWR Whitehand, “The Basis for an Historico-Geographical Theory of Urban Form,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 2, No. 3, Change in the Town (1977), 400-416. 155 Gunther Gad and Deryck Holdsworth, “Corporate Capitalism and the Emergence of the High-rise Office Building,” Urban Geography 8 (1987), 212-231, as quoted in Igal Charney, “Property Developers and the Robust Downtown: the Case of Four Major Canadian Downtowns,” The Canadian Geographer 49(3) (2005), 301-312. 156 Charney, Property Developers and the Robust Downtown. 157 Harvey Molotch, Strategies and Constraints of Growth Elites, 1, in Scott Cummings (ed.), Business Elites and Urban Development: Case Studies and Critical Perspectives, (Albany, State University of New York Press: 1988), 25-47. (accessed May 28, 2007). 158 Hubbard, Kitchin, Bartley and Fuller, Thinking Geographically, 13. 33 “The relationship between space, spatial forms and spatial behaviour is not contingent upon ‘natural’ spatial laws, but is rather a product of cultural, social, political and economic relations; space is not essential in nature but is constructed and produced; space is not an objective structure but is a social experience.”159 Over time, a more critical inquiry into political, economic, social processes, as well as ideological forces that shape space over time, has become the focus of geographical spatial studies. This theoretical shift in the analysis of space has constituted the beginning of a critical spatial inquiry that challenges space as a neutral entity upon which human activity patterns are simply imbued. One of the most prominent theorists examining space as socially produced is the late sociologist Henri Lefebvre, who attempts to understand what space is, and to decode how space is produced. He argues that space is a social product based on the assumption that relations between society and space are produced and maintained in triangular processes. For Lefebvre, the first spatial process entails a ‘spatial practice,’ meaning there are daily occurrences, movements and migrations of people in space. These daily interactions with the space and those interacting within that space reproduce it (the space). Their (inter)actions give the space legitimacy, and further, socially construct it as space.160 For example, the city is the space where people conduct their daily interactions (socialize within it), and while doing so, socially reproduce that space. Their social interactions grant that space legitimacy. That city space constitutes the “sites, circuits and environments through which social life is produced and reproduced,”161 and presents a realm where social vectors, such as class, power and gender relations are reproduced and legitimized. 159 Idem, 13-14. 160 Lefebvre, The Production of Space (London: n.p., 1991). 161 Alison Blunt and Jane Wills, Embodying Geography: Feminist Geographies of Gender. Dissident Geographies: An Introduction to Radical Ideas and Practice (Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2000), 90-112; 77. 34 For Lefebvre, the second spatial process addresses ‘representations of space’ or how space is represented and socially reproduced. In Lefebvre’s words, representations of space are “the way in which the power, knowledge, and spatiality of the powerful is inscribed in space.”162 Space is represented using different means, for example, the media, maps or books. These help to make sense of space.163 It is the representation of space in public discourse where particular spatial practices are reproduced. That is, people are socialized to behave a certain way within a certain space. They acquire, following the logic of the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, the cultural capital to participate in the urban space,164 which is coded165 and elicits specific behaviours.166 Space is always represented from particular ideological viewpoints and inherently hegemonic. To conduct oneself properly, one must internalize the rules and regulations upon which the spatial practice is based (or the sum of all the components of urban built environment). Finally, the third spatial process identifies ‘spaces of representation’, referring to spaces within which people live their daily lives.167 This includes the private, as well as public realms of space. It is within this space that people’s conduct and actions are subjected and influenced by the political and ideological processes that shape and govern the everyday,168 and where people experience the present political and ideological forces. In sum, for Lefebvre, combined, these three spatial processes make up the space that contains society’s social relations and within which these social relations are produced and 162 Lefebvre, The Production of Space, as quoted in Sallie Marston, “The Social Construction of Scale” Progress in Human Geography 24(2) (2000): 219-242; 221. 163 Hubbard, Kitchin, Bartley and Fuller, Thinking Geographically. 164 Pierre Bourdieu, “The Forms of Capital” in Mark S. Granovetter and Richard Swedberg (ed.), The Sociology of Economic Life, (Westview Press, 2001): 96-111. 165 Lefebvre, The Production of Space; Paul Knox and Steven Pinch, Urban Social Geography (4th edition, Toronto: Pearson Education Ltd, 2000). 166 Dolores Hayden, The Power of Place (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997). 167 Lefebvre, The Production of Space. 168 Hubbard, Kitchin, Bartley and Fuller, Thinking Geographically. 35 reproduced. Thus, space is not stagnant, but rather fluid and changing over time. Hence, critical inquiry into socio-spatial relationships examines interactions between people and space, as well as the resulting spatial forms and behaviours; the urban built environment; the actual layout of the city; the permissible land uses and the physical structures built within this urban realm, as reflections of the forces that socially, politically and culturally constructed the space, “crucially, all three make up ‘space’; analytical priority cannot automatically be given to one over any of the others.”169 Space is constructed from a culmination of forces. In a similar line, Knox and Pinch argue that space, under neoliberal impetus, is not only a medium for dominant classes to accrue capital and to spatially entrench their class position, but that dominant classes manipulate space according to their interests. Moreover, the restructured urban spatial organization170 also influences the socio-spatial dialectic171 between classes, where “people create and modify urban spaces while at the same time being coordinated in various ways by the spaces in which they live and work.”172 Three characteristics can be identified from the sociospatial dialectic between classes. They include, first, that space constitutes social relations, where within the characteristics of the site influence the form and shape of the settlement.173 Second, space constrains the social relations occurring within it, especially since the physical layout and architecture of the space regulate the human behaviour.174 And third, space mediates social relations in the sense that: “a wide variety of social practices, including 169 Ibid., 15 170 Knox and Pinch, Urban Social Geography. 171 Edward Soja,” The Socio-spatial Dialectic” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 70 (1980), 207-227. 172 Knox and Pinch, Urban Social Geography, 8. 173 Ibid. 174 Ibid., 9. 36 patterns of everyday life”175 can occur. Thus for Knox and Pinch, “space, then, cannot be regarded simply as a medium in which social, economic and political processes are expressed. It is of importance in its own right in contributing both to the pattern of urban development and to the nature of the relationships between different social groups within the city.”176 In summary, the examination of urban morphology not only reveals the character of an area, but also offers a very detailed examination of street layout and city blocks, the location and character of public and private city space and their metamorphosis over time. Critical inquiry of this nature, coupled with a socio-spatial approach to examining space, is useful for understanding the processes and identifying the people or groups that have power to shape urban space and its physical landscape. 2.3 THE LOCAL GROWTH MACHINE, PLACE ENTREPENURIALISM, GROWTH COALITIONS AND RESISTANCE Molotch makes a strong argument that US cities are dominated by a “small or parochial elite whose members have business or professional interests that are linked to local development and growth,”177 or in other words agents of change. He argues that these elites use the space of the city to pursue their interests, living within this space, but also using the space as a commodity for trade in the urban economy.178 They use their power to influence public authority with their interests and, together, elites and public authorities create economic developments, in turn enhancing their local business interests. Thus, they create a “growth machine,” with strategies 175 Idem. 176 Ibid. 177 Harvey Molotch, Strategies and Constraints of Growth Elites, 1, in Scott Cummings (ed.), Business Elites and Urban Development: Case Studies and Critical Perspectives, (Albany, State University of New York Press: 1988), 25-47. (accessed May 28, 2007). 178Molotch and Logan, Urban Fortunes. 37 that intensify land use and increase the land’s exchange value. The growth machine becomes an “apparatus of interlocking pro-growth associations and governmental units”179 in the attempt to increase the elite’s fortune, wealth and power, where the city itself becomes a profit-generating instrument. Further, geographers Jane Wills and Allison Blunt argue that space is a resource, and the urban built environment with its infrastructure must be understood as “part of capital.”180 To be more specific, this capital is the buildings and infrastructure within the urban built environment.181 However, this capital is very stationary, or fixed, since the physical nature of a landscape transforms and changes rather slowly. In short, this capital is tied up in the urban built environment. This spatial trapping of capital presents a challenge to place entrepreneurs in the sense that it is a hindrance to new development and the creation of more capital. “Previous rounds of investment become obstacles to the further development of capitalism and, as new markets are sought for more productive investment; existing nodes of accumulation lose their positions of strength.”182 It becomes clear that capital investment into the urban built environment can simultaneously, at some time, be a stifling point to future development. This contradiction is being tackled by space entrepreneurs who continually try to find ways to use space in a manner that will bring them profits. To maximize profits, owners of capital will invest their capital wherever they receive the highest returns for their investments. Harvey calls this the ‘spatial fix’, whereby capital owners escape low returns and crisis by investing elsewhere.183 The result is that areas with profit potential are receiving funds, 179 Ibid., 102. 180 Allison Wills and Jane Blunt, Dissident Geographies: An Introduction to Radical Ideas and Practice, (Pearson Education: Harlow, 2000), 77. 181 David Harvey, Social Justice and the City (Edward Arnold: London, 1973). 182 Wills and Blunt, Dissident Geographies, 56. 183 Harvey, Social Justice and the City. 38 funnelling these into specific areas. In the urban built environment, this is seen in some areas blossoming from active investment, whereas other areas are suffering from active disinvestment. Over time, areas are then shaped by financial support or lack thereof, depending on development cycles. Place entrepreneurs buy and sell commodities of land and buildings for profit.184 They thrive on buying low, then selling high, trying to make the largest possible profit. After purchasing land, they attempt to increase the value of the land through economic intensification. This could be in the shape of land and building improvements (for example renovations and gentrification) or streetscape improvements (for example planting trees, installing flower baskets and benches). Advertising and public relations are also an integral component to selling the place entrepreneurs’ project in order to entice people to become part of that particular place and/or project. Whipping people into frenzy over real estate projects (e.g. buildings and their features) or specific areas of town (e.g. the downtown core) are known tactics of the growth coalition. A case in point of these strategies is seen in staged real estate project releases. As new developments are constructed, opportunities for purchase are made available - albeit only in phases - where each phase is released only with an extensive PR campaign. According to the logic of place entrepreneurialism, with every round of advertisement and PR prices increase. Ideally, for the price entrepreneur, every fresh phase attracts new potential buyers. I identify this phenomenon in Kelowna. Members of the growth machine and place entrepreneurs will collaborate with other place entrepreneurs and/or different levels of governments, to succeed in their quests for maximum profit. In doing so they compete with one another, but at different levels and at different times: as such, on the one hand, they vie to create the best conditions for their developments and profits, 184 Domhoff, Power at the Local Level. 39 but on the other, they stand to benefit when the overall economic activity and intensity of economic activity increases. Molotch explains that “area-wide intensification, ordinarily in the form of increments in the basic economy which, in turn generate[s] labour in-migration and other economic growth (e.g. wholesale and retail trade), benefits the investments of all local property entrepreneurs.”185 Nonetheless, there is a “nested” hierarchy between growth machines, depending on linkages and connections with other growth machines and growth coalition members.186 In general, the way that growth machines function is not staid, but rather plastic and place specific, giving each local growth machine a local flavour. There are a few characteristics that growth machines share and their pathologies show this. Molotch argues that the growth machine is synonymous to the concentration of economic power in the hands of a few, leaving little room for competition and hardly any attempts to dilute this power. All of this is aided, as Molotch further argues, by a hegemonic view, which suggests people of higher classes are deemed more “public regarding” than others. “Their specific personal or group or class interests in fortune building in the locality are left unexamined.”187 All too often, placement, control, decision making and creation of public policy are geared at supporting the interests of the growth elite, albeit cloaked in a discourse that promises benefits to all. “Growth machines service elite interests, promote social inequality and harm the environment.”188 Moreover, the leadership of those attached to the local growth machine is not questioned, allowing power to remain concentrated. This oversight allows the local leadership that is part of the growth elite to remain 185 Molotch, Strategies and Constraints of Growth Elites, 1. 186 Ibid. 187 Ibid., 3. 188 Logan and Molotch , Urban Fortunes, 97. 40 devoted to their own good, even at the expense of other local interests.189 Ultimately, public welfare is not important, but reforming public institutions to suit and support the interests of the local growth machine is of utmost importance. At the core of the local growth machine are those that have ties to the land and buildings of a particular area, such as real estate investors, financial institutions and those that service the needs of these place entrepreneurs. It must be understood that “political parties, elected officials at the local, state and congressional level, and business trade and development associations are intrinsic components of the growth machine.”190 Real estate lawyers, accountants, property management firms, advertising agencies, construction supply houses, title companies, merchants, etc. can also be part of the local growth machine. In short, all those with a stake in growth in a region, and as such the success of the growth machine itself, will support and defend the growth machine. At times, it might be hard to imagine who is interested and in what capacity, since motives are not always clear, “even museums, universities and social service organizations may come to support the growth goal either to increase patronage or to curry favour from the elites who give money and serve on their boards of directors.”191 And last, newspapers are integral to the growth coalition, printing and disseminating the dominant ideology and limiting dissenting narratives. But hegemony is never complete, those most vested to the health and social well-being of the land, its occupants and its infrastructure, also have goals that contradict the goals of the growth machine. There can be a clash of goals, especially when those with socially sustainable interests in the land want to preserve the place, whereas the growth machine wants to modify it to yield maximum profits. As a result, community members are all too often negatively impacted 189 Molotch, Strategies and Constraints of Growth Elites, 4. 190 Ibid., 2. 191 Ibid., 1. 41 by decisions of the growth machine. After all, the intrinsic goals of the growth machine are land and place exploitation for profit. Even though local opposition to the growth machine are often only little hurdles to land development in the overall development process, this opposition is integral to the dynamics of the growth machine. Without opposition, a more critical examination of the workings of the growth machine would not exist. To date, examination of dominant elites and workings of power have been the focus of researchers like sociologists C. Wright Mills,192 Barry Wellman,193 John Logan and Harvey Molotch,194 Pierre Bourdieu195 and William Carroll.196 And while much of current research focuses on disadvantaged and marginalized populations, it is extremely important and timely to investigate and scrutinize how power functions and works. Domhoff has tackled this gap in the research examining how power operates at the local level, suggesting that power structures at the local level come in the shape of local growth coalitions.197 These coalitions are land based with the overall goal of land use intensification. He further evocates that the easiest way to intensify land use is to stimulate growth, which is usually followed by an increase in population. The economic elites that he researched attempted to attract corporate employers to the region. If successful, the workforce expanded, the housing market intensified and people spent their wages, as a result boosting the local economy. 192 C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959). 193 Barry Wellman, “Network Analysis: Some Basic Principles,” Sociological Theory Vol. 1 (1983), 155- 200. 194 John Logan and Harvey Molotch, Urban Fortunes. 195 Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance and Firing Back. 196 Carroll, Corporate Power in a Globalized World. 197 Domhoff, Power at the Local Level. 42 Domhoff restates that the discourse of growth is “based in this idea that growth is about jobs, not about profits.”198 And then cites Molotch, “Perhaps the key ideological prop for the growth machine, especially in terms of sustaining support from the working-class majority, is the claim that growth "makes jobs." This claim is aggressively promulgated by developers, builders, and local chambers of commerce. It becomes part of the statesman talk of editorialists and political officials. Such people do not speak of growth as useful to profits--rather, they speak of it as necessary for making jobs.”199 The newspapers disseminate the ideological discourse of growth200 and without much critical discussion become a tool of the dominant classes, especially since the media plays a crucial role in the socialization of neoliberalism. Domhoff’s perspective illuminates my analysis of Kelowna’s growth coalition. To reiterate, a place is not only a public or private realm where social transactions occur, but also in turn a place of socialization for those attached to it. People influence space and space influences people. Yet, as historian Dolores Hayden wrote, “class, ethnic and gender history [are] shaping the landscape in ways that have barely been studied”201 and a critical exploration is warranted. I am convinced that people must understand what meaning a place holds in order to connect to the social order that is reproduced within that space. An individual who is unable to ‘read’ a landscape is robbed of a connection, and of the possibility to understand existing relationships, including their own. As the influential sociologist Mills stated, a person’s ability to understand history and one’s own biography within history is paramount to what he calls a sociological imagination. This sociological imagination allows a person to place themselves within the social milieu and history of their time. As a result, that person is capable to understand their relation to and place within broader society. A geographical imagination allows people to 198 Domhoff, Power at the Local Level, 320. 199 Idem. 200 Denis, “Government Can Do Whatever It Wants.” 201 Hayden, The Power of Place, 3. 43 develop mental maps of the surrounding world, and seeing themselves situated within. The self- positioning of people is in turn influenced by their own internalizations of the social vectors at work. As Hayden and scholars Laura Vaughan, David Clark, Ozlem Sahbaz and Mordechai Haklay point out, cognitive mapping can be extremely powerful in shaping people’s perception of space,202 for example to establish for themselves if a place is liveable or not. In order to give meaning and to understand the urban built environment, people must have an imagination that allows for an understanding of their place within this world. In other words, without an understanding of the complex social forces and agents at work, and how they shape and reshape the urban built environment, an imagination and subsequent critical inquiry becomes impossible. 202 Hayden, The Power of Place; Laura Vaughan, David Clark, Ozlem Sahbaz and Mordechai Haklay, “Space and Exclusion: Does Urban Morphology Play a Part in Social Deprivation?” Area 36(2) (2005), 146-163. 44 CHAPTER THREE: METHOD 3.0 INTRODUCTION A city is a culmination of processes and forces (external and internal) that combined organize its economic, political, physical and social make-up.203 To examine and uncover the forces that have driven the transformation of Kelowna in the last decade, I have used a combination of qualitative research methods.204 3.1 RESEARCHING NEOLIBERALISM IN THE CITY OF KELOWNA My research is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing from a variety of qualitative research methods in sociology and geography. For the collection of my primary data, I used the following strategies: I conducted general internet searches, specific internet searches on the City of Kelowna website, an in-depth search on a specialized realtor database (called Kinnexis), and countless regular searches of Okanagan media websites. I also conducted in-depth interviews. In the remainder of this chapter, I describe the rationale and method of each search in more detail. 203 Knox and Pinch, Urban Social Geography. 204 During my research, I encountered a methodological challenge while collecting data. While there are many groups involved in shaping a city, it is not always possible to expose those working from behind the scenes. Secrecy, and business conducted behind closed doors, allows hidden powers to steer and influence business initiatives and transactions. It is extremely difficult for ‘outsiders,’ or those that do not belong to the business dealing, to bring light to this secrecy and to follow decisions arising from business interaction with a city’s planning department that shape the physical structure of the city, the urban built environment. To illustrate, the City of Kelowna Planning Department and senior staff regularly engage in meetings, such as luncheons with local business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce or with leaders from the development and real estate industry at the Urban Development Institute, which is publicly attainable knowledge, while the content of conversations is ‘private.’ Moreover, City Planning policies allow those with interests and capital means to come together in so-called pre- development application meetings, where potential developers meet with Planning Department staff in order to talk about possible developments. There can be several of these meetings before an official application is filed. In fact, these meetings are deemed a regular component of the development process of the 21st century in North America. At the City, as I have learnt, there are no publicly accessible records of these pre-development application meetings. These aforementioned strategies do not only help to conceal the actions of those who actively shape the urban built environment, they also conceal the level of influence that individuals and/or groups have. Thus, these strategies preclude public participation in the decision-making process of city planning and help actors to remain hidden from the public’s view, making it difficult to determine which developments and planning initiatives are initiated and induced by negotiations between profit-seeking developers and city officials, especially since both groups are often driven by financial incentives. 45 I began my primary research with a general internet exploration on topics of re- development in Kelowna’s downtown, searching for information pertaining to highrise redevelopments and ‘their’ development companies. During this research, I tried to identify developers and their involvements in redevelopment initiatives by tracking board and association memberships, as well as other real estate and development industry involvements, as available in the public domain. Moreover, I searched for information relating to re-development initiatives in Kelowna’s downtown areas, paying particular attention to three downtown areas: Leon and Lawrence Avenue, as well as Ellis Street and the grounds belonging to the Canada Lands Company Ltd. (CLC) along Sunset Boulevard. I also searched for information about the proposed downtown Comprehensive Development Zone, which is a major re-development initiative, proposed for a specific area of downtown, that I will discuss as a case study of neoliberal urban restructuring in chapter six. Thereafter I conducted a much more specific search of the City of Kelowna website.205 Specifically, I searched the website for four types of information: First, for information on the status of submitted development applications, trying to uncover if and at what time development permits had been granted. I focussed especially on highrise development applications located in my research areas of Leon and Lawrence Avenues, Ellis Street, and Sunset Boulevard. Second, I collected city documents like the City‘s Official Community Plans (OCP), its amendments, zoning bylaws, and other planning documents, for example strategic plans, concept plans and citizen surveys. I studied the 1995 OCP and its major updates from March 2002 and February 2004. I paid particular attention to more specific plans like the Kelowna Downtown: a People Place, 206 within which the City, in close collaboration with community members and 205 City of Kelowna, “Home,” (first accessed in September of 2005). 206 City of Kelowna Planning Department and Urban Systems Ltd., Kelowna’s Downtown: a People Place (October 1999), iii. 46 groups, developed strategies with the goal to keep Kelowna’s downtown economically and civically viable. I also analyzed the following reports from various websites of City departments: the 1998 Inner City Shore Zone Concept Plan,207 the October 1999 Kelowna’s Downtown: a People Place, the May 2004 Community Strategic Plan Update, Preliminary Survey Results,208 the 2006 Citizen Survey Detailed Report,209 the November 2006 Report from the City of Kelowna Affordable and Special Needs Housing Taskforce,,210 and last the Housing Resources Handbook 2007.211 I studied these reports to learn how Kelowna’s urban built environment is planned and regulated. I also wanted to uncover who has steered Kelowna’s development and planning during the past decades, paying particular attention to continual involvement of individuals, groups and/or associations. In addition I identified and studied minutes from the Mayor’s Entertainment Task Force, the Affordable and Special Needs Housing Task Force and, most importantly, the Downtown Center Strategy Task Force. I read these minutes in addition to the task force mandates, to examine the interactions of those involved in the task forces, and to understand how strategies for downtown redevelopment were developed and subsequently asked for in front of city council. The minutes from the Downtown Centre Strategy Task Force, a statutory Council committee established in 2004 and dedicated to strategically transforming parts of Kelowna’s downtown, were especially interesting. From these minutes I gleaned the names of individuals, 207 City of Kelowna, Inner City Shore Zone Concept Plan (1998). 208 City of Kelowna, “Community Strategic Plan Update, Preliminary Survey Results,” (May 2004)>PDFs/%5CStartegic%20Planning/Community%20Survey%Results%2Epdf (accessed July 24, 2007). 209 Kettle Valley Research, 2006 Citizen Survey Detailed Report (August 2006). 210 City of Kelowna, Report from the City of Kelowna Affordable and Special Needs Housing Taskforce (November 2006). 211 City of Kelowna Community Development and Real Estate Development, Housing Resources Handbook 2007. Benchmarks and Resources for Affordable, Special Needs and Rental Housing (2007). 47 groups, and associations involved in preparing downtown for redevelopment and transition. Many of these individuals and groups, as my later discussion will show, have been ongoing influences in Kelowna’s transformation. I have recorded their names and cross-referenced them with contributors to planning initiatives.212 This knowledge, gathered from the public domain, has allowed me to link members of Kelowna’s business as well as real estate and development industry directly to city planning directives. This understanding has also helped me recognize that the urban built environment is shaped and re-worked over the long-term, as is seen in the commitment and investment that many individuals, groups and associations have shown over the past decades - towards a downtown transformation that will likely last for several decades. However, one limiting factor during this search was the lack of documents availability prior to 1996 on the City’s website, the main exception being the OCP from 1995, which I did access via the internet. As a result, I studied older (pre-1996) documents in person in one of the planning rooms at the Planning Department. Third, I reviewed maps from the City’s website. Maps are useful, because they “show spatial patterns and relationships.”213 Data presented in a map, depending on the scale of the map, represent a mapping of social relations, for example points (e.g., historical monuments, schools, parks, towns or cities), lines (e.g., roads and transportation ways, or political boundaries) and areas (e.g., water features, parks, or city districts).214 Upon careful study of the physical features in the urban built environment, as well as their size and location, one can develop an understanding of socially significant patterns.215 In this sense, maps can convey how 212 Carroll, Corporate Power in a Globalizing World. 213 Margot Northey and David B.Knight, Making Sense: a Student's Guide to Research and Writing (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2001), 90. 214 Keith Hoggart, Loretta Lees and Anna Davies, Researching Human Geography (London: Arnold, 2002). 215 Ibid. 48 “individuals or groups relate to one another.”216 To illustrate, if one were to look at a city with many gated communities, the walling and gating of the communities is represented with physical barriers surrounding the community (the cluster of housing) and a street design where only one, often private street will connect the gated compound to the city’s public road system. It must be noted, however, that even though maps offer useful information, they are at the same time also selective and present an abstraction of reality.217 To be even more explicit, maps always represent the bias of the person compiling the information, but still serve as very valuable representation of a particular way of viewing the world. I also viewed many maps: old maps from historical books, orthographic maps, in addition to computer generated maps, especially those that one can self-compile on the City’s website.218 I printed the street sections of the properties that I am researching and taped them together into one long street section. In addition, I printed maps showing the zoning and legal addresses of the properties that interest me. Overall, these maps helped me develop a spatial understanding of my research areas and depicted how the properties and streets in my research area have changed over time. Fourth, I accessed the digital archives of the City to locate old council agendas. I looked at Council agendas dating back to 1996, when they were first computerized.219 I searched through the old council agendas trying to find rezoning applications of properties located on Leon and Lawrence Avenues, since rezoning applications must be discussed in front of City Council and therefore must be publicly announced, for example in the local newspaper, before any kind of permits are approved and subsequently granted. The Council agendas provided 216 Kristin G Esterberg, Qualitative Methods in Social Research (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2002), 162. 217 Northey and Knight, Making Sense. 218 City of Kelowna, “City Maps,” (accessed August 10, 2008). 219 Many properties on Ellis Street have been individually rezoned to allow for highrise redevelopment, a process that has often pitted developers against the general public in front of City Council. 49 record for rezoning application to change and alter the urban built environment of select areas of the downtown, and were often an indication of an impending impetus for change. I also used this information to learn more about the potential development itself, since these rezoning announcements proclaim who applies for the rezoning and development application, as well as describe the features of the development. Furthermore, I conducted an in-depth search of the Kinnexis database, an internet service database mostly used by realtors and appraisers. Within Kinnexis, one can access data pertaining to real estate listings, such as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), property sales information, and tax records up to the 2006 tax year. I used the Kinnexis database to study the tax records and MLS listings of properties located on Leon and Lawrence Avenues.220 MLS tax records show the civic address, contact information and legal description of the property, and the properties sales activity (if there was any). In addition, the MLS database allows access to all past and present sales listings, provided the properties were listed with MLS when they were for sale in Kelowna (which is the usual case when a property is listed for sale with a local realtor). The MLS listing offers information on the listing status of a property (e.g., for sale or offer pending), describes the actual listing (e.g., description, features, and layout of property), lot and title information, legal and tax information, the property’s zoning, in addition to information about previous sales and/or sales attempts. In general, this information describes the sales history of specific properties and shows in what area property transfers occurred. More specifically, this information shows if a property has sold for its assessed price or a lower/higher price. In addition, it also shows what areas have experienced the least/ most sales activity. From this database, I recorded the taxation information for each of the specified 220 I wanted to determine the level of sales activity in the area of Leon and Lawrence Avenue. At the time I began this research, it appeared there was no sales activity in that area whatsoever even though the city had rezoned the area already in the 1990’s, allowing for highrises. I wanted to uncover if there had been any sales in the area, and if, when properties had changed hands. 50 properties on Leon and Lawrence Avenues, attempting to develop a pattern of sales activity or lack thereof. Moreover, I copied the old available MLS listings for the properties of interest on Leon and Lawrence Avenues. In general, I used the Kinnexis tax records in conjunction with data that I collected from the British Columbia Assessment Authority, as I will explain shortly. I cross-referenced the Kinnexis property information to verify zoning, as well as the actual registered use of the property. Overall, the information that can be collected from Kinnexis is quite extensive, especially since old and expired MLS sheets remain accessible within the Kinnexis database, and grant access to past and current sales, as well as sales attempts. This information helped me to establish patterns of sales activity in my research area, and allowed me to establish how often properties had been sold, and where specifically. This information serves as an indication of change and transformation, especially as temporal redevelopment patterns emerged. As another important resource I regularly accessed and studied the websites of The Capital News, The Daily Courier, The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail and Castanet (a local internet news source). I systematically followed the news during the 2005-2008 period, searching for news relating to Kelowna’s downtown, such as highrise redevelopments, privatization, and what is called the ‘militarization’ of space.221 I clipped newspaper articles from the local daily newspaper The Daily Courier, the thrice weekly The Capital News, the national Canadian daily The Globe and Mail, as well as local monthly and bi-annual magazines like Okanagan Life, the Okanagan Life Real Estate Relocation Guide, Okanagan Home, and Okanagan Q, also for the period from 2005-2008. These news sources provided me with a local perspective and helped me 221 Don Mitchell, Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, 2000); Mike Davis, City of Quartz (London: Verso, 1992). 51 analyse the current discourse surrounding, and also supporting, Kelowna’s downtown reconfiguration. I also looked for news coverage explaining what shall happen to social service providers in the area of my interest (for example, a supposed relocation of the Kelowna Gospel Mission, a homeless shelter located on Leon Avenue, especially piqued my interest), poverty and homelessness, staff transfers and restructuring at the City (especially in the planning department), re-development strategies and initiatives brought forward by the City, and public opinions as expressed in letters to the editor, to name a few. Additional research included visits to the BC Assessment Authority office and the City’s Planning Department. At the BC Assessment office, I studied publicly accessible microfiches to collect more in-depth information about properties on Leon and Lawrence Avenues. I engaged in a multi-step process to gather this information: The first step was to locate each one of the properties in the BC Assessment microfiches. Once found, I recorded the property’s BC Assessment role number and the legal street address of the property. The second step was to obtain more specific property information. On the second set of microfiches, I used the previously investigated BC Assessment role number to find more detailed property information. I especially studied the second set of microfiches looking for two things: who owned the property, and how the property value had changed since the last assessment (e.g., from the 2005- 2006 tax year). The third and last step included investigating property sales activity for the Leon and Lawrence Avenues area. This involved examination of a third set of microfiches. Since sales data at the BC Assessment office is grouped by year and geographical area, I only looked for sales in the section of the Central Business District, pertinent to my research. Overall, I studied all the different microfiches from 1996 onward and carefully recorded all the gathered information. 52 The City has archives that are not open to the public. One of those archives is located at the Planning Department and another one at the City Clerk’s office. While I was successful in gaining personal access to some materials housed in an archive at the Planning Department, I could not access any materials in the archives of the City Clerk’s office.222 As already mentioned, the archives of the City Clerk’s office were also inaccessible to my research inquiries. I had to rely on information from one of the city’s clerks.223 I wanted to examine old Council agendas looking for re-zoning and development applications. Since re- zoning applications must be approved by Council, they show what area was re-zoned to allow for highrise redevelopment and subsequent transformation. Apparently all the data from the City Clerk’s office is to be computerized and transferred from old hand-written index cards into some sort of computerized order. I also “walked” the research area, following the urbanist Jane Jacob’s advice that to understand a city “you’ve got to get out and walk.”224 Physically walking an area under research is important because it allows the researcher to develop a feel for the area, form a mental map225 and establish if and how the area is different from surrounding areas. I spent time in my research area, not only watching interactions of people, but also examining the urban built environment itself. For 222 I attempted to gain access to planning documents compiled prior to 1996, which pertains to those planning documents that had not been digitized yet and were therefore inaccessible through the City’s internal website search engine, by making an appointment with a planner from the City’s Planning Department. While the planner retrieved the requested documents for me from the internal Planning Department library, I was unable to access other City’s documents, as they are not catalogued in a manner accessible to the public. The only way to access a document is by knowing exactly what specific document to ask for. This presents a serious challenge while researching: there might be specific documents and reports that could offer better insights, but unless one knows about their existence, one cannot ask for them. For a more thorough discussion on challenges to conducting research, see Esterberg, Qualitative Research Methods. 223 There is no actual physical space for researchers to conduct research and the old data is in some sort of ‘in-between’ state, inaccessible. 224 Jane Jacobs, “Downtown is for People,” The Exploding Metropolis (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1958) 225 Hayden, The Power of Place. 53 example, I investigated how space became militarized226 with security features like gates, cameras and security patrols. As another example, I observed changes to the urban built environment, such as highrise buildings and Kelowna’s first private elevated walkway between buildings,227 located on Pandosy Street, which allows people to cross from the parkade on Lawrence Avenue to an adjacent office building without entering the public realm of the street.228 As part of my geographical research, I studied old photographs and maps. The old photographs came mostly from books from the Okanagan Historical Society, and a few local historians. These photos show Kelowna’s downtown during past decades. The visual imagery helped me establish a historical mental picture of city space allowing for better comparisons to today, especially since previous building styles and street layout are different from today’s. The sidewalk width, parking stalls and building facades have changed over the past decades. I also found old maps that illustrate how some city streets looked in the past. For example, I found historical pictures of downtown and an old map showing Lawrence Avenue in 1905.229 With the help of that map, I was able to derive how many properties were located in one section of Lawrence Avenue in 1905, and to establish if the number of properties has remained the same until today, or if there had been property (sub)divisions or amalgamations. I used that information further to cross-reference my research in regards to property lines and size, especially as compared to more recent times. 226 Mike Davis, “Fortress Los Angeles: The Militarization of Urban Space,” in Michael Sorkin, ed., Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space (New York, Hill and Wang: 1992), 156-180. 227 Trevor Boddy, “Underground and Overhead: Building the Analogous City,” in Michael Sorkin, ed., Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space (New York, Hill and Wang: 1992), 123-155. 228 Ibid., Mitchell, Cultural Geography. 229 Ursula Surtees, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada: A Pictorial History (Kelowna, BC: Kelowna Centennial Museum, 1987). 54 However, the main component of my research was interviews. With UBC Okanagan Behavioural Research Ethics Board approval,230 I conducted a total of 15 interviews. I interviewed developers (local and from abroad), planners from the City and real estate agents in the city. I also interviewed individuals in executive and management positions at City Hall, the Downtown Kelowna Association, the Urban Development Institute, the Canada Lands Company Ltd, the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Commission. The interviews were semi-structured. They were to be taped with the permission of the interviewee, transcribed verbatim and returned to the interviewee for revisions and approval. After contacting potential interviewees and securing an interview appointment, I sent them an interview guide in preparation for the actual interview. That gave the interviewee an idea of what I was going to ask, and allowed him/her to prepare for my questions.231 This strategy proved to be quite successful, as it allowed the interviewee to think about the questions ahead of time, and at the same time did not prevent me from raising new questions arising from their answers. Some interviewees gave me written material, made suggestions and/or offered to establish contacts with others for additional interviews. The interviews generally lasted approximately 30-60 minutes, although I also had two interviews that lasted nearly 90 minutes. Some interviewees were particularly eager to share information; others enthusiastically showed maps and pictures. I also had two interviewees who were forthcoming with information during the interview, but later eschewed contact with me when they had to revise and approve the transcripts. Maybe their reluctance has to do with the fact that Kelowna is quite small and has only recently begun to grow more dramatically. Kelowna’s development community is very tightly knit and there are not that many local developers with highrise building interests and abilities. Actually, high-rise 230 See UBCO Behavioral Research Ethics Board Certificate of Full Board Approval in the Appendix. 231 Esterberg, Qualitative Methods in Social Research. 55 building expertise and technology have been imported, mainly from Vancouver, the next closest city with a thriving high-rise building industry. I have been very careful to protect research participants’ anonymity. I have kept research participants’ identities as confidential as possible,232 by numbering the interviews from one to 15. In order to ensure research participants’ anonymity, and to maintain their confidentiality, I deliberately omitted any specific information about the research participants, like their job title, occupation or gender, which is necessary when research is conducted in a small community.233 The date, time and location of the interview are not cited in order to ensure that no reader of this thesis will guess a research participants’ identity. In addition to the interviews, I collected names and capacity of people in the development community from the public domain, as the information became available to me. I carefully recorded in what capacity I became aware of the person, for example through a newspaper article or news report, as contributor to a report, or in conjunction with a particular development. It was my hope to identify those that have abilities and powers to influence the development and physical shape of the urban built environment in Kelowna, and to prepare the city for transformation. Cross-referencing the collected information, I not only uncovered individual’s involvements in general city reconfiguration, but also their specific involvement in re- development initiatives, taskforces, and as facilitators for neoliberalism’s implementation. I compiled this information, with other relevant sources, into flowcharts with the purpose to reveal people’s connections and subsequent possibilities to influence the shaping of the city’s urban realm. For this task, I relied on John Logan and Harvey Molotch’s234 work on local growth 232 Ian Gregory, Ethics in Research (New York, Continuum: 2003). 233 Ibid. 234 Logan and Molotch, Urban Fortunes. 56 machines, as well as William Domhoff’s235 and William K. Carroll’s236 exploration of elite social organizations and corporate elites. Carroll237 has been especially successful in showing the escalating involvement of corporate elites and their interests in the economic, political and increasingly also the social realm, by mapping individuals/elites intricate web of involvements. With the help of his methodology, recording and cross-referencing, I was able to identify Kelowna’s local elites, and understand how they are connected to one another. Domhoff, in conjunction with Molotch and Harvey, taught me to understand that urban gatekeepers are instrumental to the growth machine and its interests, especially when pushing for never-ending redevelopment and transformation of the urban built environment. In addition, I compiled all the information on highrise developments in Kelowna that I could find. This included information about each of the highrises that have already been built or that are still to be built in the downtown, focusing especially on those highrises that are located in my research areas of Leon and Lawrence Avenues, Ellis Street, and Sunset Boulevard. I wrote down the (proposed) location and name of the building, the owner, developer and features of the building, as well as the estimated cost and anticipated completion date of the building. I also recorded other materials pertaining to highrises, for example advertisements for condominium living and promotional materials explaining how “green and sustainable” highrise redevelopments are. Overall, the total number of new highrise developments showed the magnitude and scale of redevelopment that Kelowna’s is subjected to and gives witness to the extent of the transformation of the city’s urban built environment. 235 Domhoff, Power at the Local Level. 236 Carroll, Corporate Power in a Globalizing World; and William K. Carroll, Corporate Power and Canadian Capitalism (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1986). 237 Carroll, Corporate Power in a Globalizing World. 57 Furthermore, I compiled the accumulated information about each of the properties under examination on Leon and Lawrence Avenues into one spreadsheet. On this spreadsheet, I recorded the legal address of the property, its role number, any information on the registered owner, zoning, as well as the assessed value for 2006 and 2007. With the help of this information, I worked out if a property’s value had increased or decreased from 2006 to 2007. Combined, these numbers suggest that there is a definite relationship between development cycles of urban areas, property prices and speculation.238 Before I conclude, I briefly reflect on my research experiences on a personal level. Living in Kelowna and being an activist, the current neoliberalization of Kelowna affects me personally, in my community involvement and in my academic life. Living in Kelowna since 1992, I hold many personal experiences of a city under neoliberal transition. I have seen the urban reconfiguration of Kelowna’s urban built environment in the downtown core first-hand. I have been a witness to the increasing numbers of poor and homeless in the streets. I have read and collected letters to the editor from people unable to pay for rent and food. I also studied the past three Kelowna Homelessness Surveys,239 which show that the numbers of homeless on Kelowna’s streets have increased. I have observed the waves of gentrification that have seen old space torn down and/or converted, only to be sold for millions later to an investor. Having read 238 Barke, Morphogenesis, Fringe-Belts and Urban Size; Fodor, Better Not Bigger; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 239Kelowna Drop-In and Information Center in Collaboration with the Kelowna Homelessness Networking Group, Report on the Spring 2004 Census of Homeless Individuals in Kelowna; Kelowna Drop-In and Information Center in Collaboration with the Kelowna Homelessness Networking Group, Report. Census of Homeless Individuals in Kelowna Fall 2004, (accessed March 10, 2006); Poverty and Homelessness Action Team Central Okanagan, Survey and Assessment of Homelessness in Kelowna, Spring 2007, (September 4, 2007) 20Survey% 20Spring %202007.pdf (accessed August 10, 2008). 58 and studied neoliberalism with a sociological and geographical imagination, I am by now very aware which transitions and changes arise from neoliberalization. 3.2 CONCLUSION My research has been varied, since I needed a wide-ranging approach to uncover who has power to shape and influence urban planning and development in Kelowna, and to document the extent of their involvement in city planning. Moreover, it was imperative to understand how neoliberal agents of change and institutions form temporary alliances in preparation for neoliberalization, and to document their efforts. Looking back, my methodology has evolved over time. With every obstacle encountered, I had to develop another strategy, but I also learned from this evolving process. Researching, while continuously modifying and fine-tuning my strategies, propelled by the “desire to advance knowledge and understanding,”240 I learned to keep my eyes and imagination open. Gathering information is often a multi-faceted process and it is only later, with patient and careful analysis, that the researcher can make sense of the collected materials. In that sense, with every bit of information gathered, the neoliberalization of Kelowna became more clear, and the workings of neoliberalism more transparent. Piecing the collected information together a narrative emerged that I describe in the following chapters, chronicling the neoliberal transformation of Kelowna. 240 Gregory, Ethics in Research. 59 CHAPTER FOUR: KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA 4.0 INTRODUCTION The Okanagan Valley, where Kelowna is situated, is located in the Southern Interior of the Province of British Columbia (BC). Kelowna is the largest settlement in the Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO),241 and the city itself is positioned on the shores of Okanagan Lake,242 as seen in Illustration 4.0.1. Illustration 4.0.1: Kelowna, located in British Columbia, Canada. Source: Map drawn by Tina Marten (2009). Kelowna is easily accessible by car as it lies approximately 400 km’s east of Vancouver, 600 km’s west of Calgary, and 150 km’s north of the American border. In addition, the city is linked to the world beyond BC through its international airport, which was expanded to the tune 241 The Regional District of the Central Okanagan encompasses a land area of 2,904 km². BC Statistics, “Regional District 35 – Central Okanagan: Statistical Profile 2007,” rd_35.pdf (accessed July 10, 2008). 242 Okanagan Lake is 135 km’s long and up to 5 km’s wide at its widest point. International Lake Environment Committee, “Data Summary Okanagan Lake,” database/nam/dnam-51.html (accessed June 22, 2008). 60 of $1.35 million dollars.243 It is hoped that the “investment of $1.35 million for the airport expansion will stimulate the local economy by bringing additional international flights to the Okanagan, boosting tourism and other business opportunities,” Ron Cannan, Kelowna’s Member of Parliament, publicly stated in 2007.244 The climate of the Okanagan Valley is arid, with hot summers and temperate winters, 245 since Kelowna annually receives over 2000 hours of sunshine and comparatively very little rain.246 Kelowna is surrounded by rolling hills and mountains, with at least four alpine and cross- country ski resorts,247 and a fifth ski hill (Kelowna Mountain) currently being constructed within city limits.248 Federal and regional government policies allow for wind powered, as well as motorized watercrafts on Okanagan Lake, which many people use to engage in water sports activities of all sorts. There is an annual Dragon Boat Festival, currently one of the largest sporting events, attracting over 4500 competitors in approximately 160 dragon boating teams.249 In addition, there are more or less 16 golf courses250 and there are at least 50 wineries within an hour’s drive. In short, Kelowna is heralded as a four-season playground and the “Hawaii of the North.”251 243 Western Economic Diversification Canada, “Canada's New Government commits $1.35 million for Kelowna International Airport expansion,” October 13, 2007, (accessed July 10, 2008). 244 Ibid. 245 City of Kelowna, “About Kelowna,“ (accessed July 8, 2008). 246 Tourism Kelowna, “Climate,“ (accessed July 8, 2008). 247 In close proximity to Kelowna there are the following four ski hills: Big White by Kelowna, Silver Star by Vernon, Crystal Mountain by Westbank and Apex by Penticton. 248 Kelly Hayes, “Kelowna Mountain,“, January 17, 2007, bin2/newNews/ news_list.cgi? method =show_story&id=25902&query=search (accessed Jan 18, 2007). 249Dragon Boat Festival, “The Festival,“ (accessed July 10, 2008). 250, “Home,” search courses.cfm (accessed June 22, 2008). 251 Momer, The Small Town that Grew and Grew, 66. 61 Today’s Kelowna is a unique place in more than one way: First, it is a ‘white fortress’252 city; second, it is a retirement ‘Mecca’ for seniors and third, it is heralded as the “most cost competitive place for business,”253 suggesting the workforce is docile,254 while talented.255 In this chapter I discuss the unprecedented economic and housing boom that has transformed the city in the past years, fuelling social polarization and aggravating existing social inequalities. I argue that neoliberalism is a propelling force in this transformation. Kelowna’s uniqueness arose throughout the past 25 years as the city was transforming from a predominantly rural agricultural area with a resource-based economy to a post-Fordist, urbanized neoliberal CMA, where agricultural lands have given way to a paved neoliberalized urban built environment. This uniqueness is socially constructed and far from coincidental, a product of collaboration between dominant (white) elites. Then, I focus on the post-Fordist turn. I emphasize the demise of industrial production, the restructuring of agriculture and the decrease of agricultural lands around the city. Next, I concentrate on the rapid urbanization of the current period of Post- Fordist neoliberalism. 4 .1 KELOWNA’S LATE FORDIST AND POST-FORDIST YEARS Kelowna, due to its geographical location, may be identified as a hinterland community. Travel beyond the Okanagan Valley was, and to a certain extent still is, cumbersome, especially in winter, as the valley is surrounded by mountains that make road conditions challenging. With the 252 Luis LM Aguiar, Patricia Tomic and Ricardo Trumper, “The Letter: Racism, Hate and Monoculturalism in a Canadian Hinterland,” Carl E. James (ed), Possibilities and Limitations:. Multicultural Policies and Programs in Canada (Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2005), 163-174. 253 Economic Development Commission, “Doing Business in Kelowna: Manufacturing,“ (accessed July 28, 2008). 254 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard. 255 Vilano Matt, “The Best Place to Build a Data Centre in North America,“ CIO, February 13, 2008, 6&slug=& (accessed September 10, 2008). 62 building of the airport in 1958,256 and its further expansion in the last few years to accommodate international flights, the area has become more accessible. Kelowna has the appeal of its milder climate (if compared with other parts of Canada), its rural and ‘natural’ character and its sense of being a safe and fun place to live. The city is located on the shores of a large lake, in the Okanagan Valley, with important settlements on either side of the lake. To connect both sides of the city a ferry service across the lake existed until 1959. This made the movement of cars and people possible. In 1958, after two years of construction,257 the Princess Margaret Floating Bridge258 was completed, linking the west side of the lake to the city proper,259 making movements of people and goods faster, more dependable, and in general, easier. In the 1960s, people worked in light manufacturing and the service and forestry industry.260 One of the largest employers at that time was the BC Fruit Processing Ltd., which had been in operation since 1946.261 In 1961 the population was 13,188262 and the Okanagan Valley was “an amalgamation of fairly small and isolated groups of communities, an area where the main economic production was tied to ‘nature,’ agriculture, fruit production and forestry.”263 During the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, agricultural production began to decline and 256 City of Kelowna, “Airport History,” (accessed September 11, 2008). 257 Surtees, Kelowna, British Columbia, BC. 258 Government of BC, Ministry of Transportation, “Bridge Opening Remembered 50 Years Later,“ (accessed August 30, 2008). 259 Momer, The Small Town that Grew and Grew and... 260 Mark Zuehlke, The B.C. Fact Book: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About British Columbia (Vancouver: Whitecap Books, 1995). 261 Sun-Rype, “Our History,” (accessed September 11, 2008). 262 BC Statistics, “British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1921-2006,” (accessed September 5, 2008). 263 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard, 128. 63 recreation, tourism and light manufacturing started to increase in importance.264 The first shopping centre, attached to the Capri Hotel, opened in 1959. It was known as the Capri Hotel and Shopping Centre.265 Western Star, a truck manufacturer, opened its factory in 1967, where trucks were built for three and a half decades from locally manufactured parts and components.266 In 1970 Brenda Mines (copper, molybdenum, silver and gold), located in Peachland (some 30 km’s from Kelowna), opened and over the course of 20 years employed a workforce between 330267 and 400.268 In 1971, Kelowna’s population had increased to 19,422. The city’s boundaries changed in the following years, when the communities of the Okanagan Mission, Rutland, North Glenmore and other areas that had previously belonged to the Okanagan Regional District were amalgamated. As a result, by 1973, Kelowna was home to 50,000 people.269 Recreational facilities, such as the Parkinson Recreation Centre were built to recreate the increasing population.270 In the 1970s, the city also began to attract retirees in more important numbers.271 Later, aging boomers moved to Kelowna ready to enjoy the remainder of their lives in what was sold as this ‘bucolic’ and beautiful scenery of pristine nature.272 Then the Valley remained rural; land was affordable and the cost of living relatively “cheap.” 264 Skip Krueger and N. Garth Maguire “Changing Urban and Fruit-Growing Patterns in OK,” Okanagan Historical Society 49 (1985), 19-25. 265 Surtees, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. 266 Ibid. 267 Brenda Mines Closed, “History of Brenda Mines,” (accessed September 12, 2008). 268 N.A., “Brenda Workers Adjust,” The Daily Courier, November 1, 1989. 269 City of Kelowna Official Community Plan, “Population and Housing Projections Discussion Paper,” http:// 20Dec.%2003%200pdf, p.1 (accessed July 25, 2008); Momer, The Small Town that Grew and Grew. 270 Surtees, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. 271 Zuehlke, The B.C. Fact Book. 272 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard. 64 With the advent of globalization and Free Trade, agricultural production began to decline. Meanwhile there was a push from the development industry to create value from agricultural lands and during this shift; two major fractions emerged in the valley: those who wanted to preserve rural economic interests, and those who pushed for urbanization and construction of urban amenities.273 Friction arose, especially around economic interests of potential developers and perceptions of what land should be used for. From the developers’ perspective, land was ‘sitting idle’ and under-utilized. Farmers and government, though, felt the need to protect farmlands. Seemingly, before the 1970s, legislation to protect land use in the Okanagan was inexistent: “until the early 1970s [there was] little or no land use control in the valley.”274 In 1973, the New Democratic Party implemented the ALR as a measure of control to “preserve the farmer”275 and to protect farmlands from developers’ grasps. Ironically, and something that might warrant a re-examination, is the fact that in the mid-70s more land was successfully taken out of the ALR in the Okanagan Valley region than anywhere else in BC.276 By the mid-1970s, the entire valley was urbanizing rapidly:277 lands freed from the confines of the ALR were trapped anew in suburban developments and Kelowna began sprawling out hastily with many new strip malls along Highway 97. Orchard Park Shopping Centre was completed in 1971, being the largest shopping centre of the Interior of BC.278 The first highrise, the Kiwanis Tower, was built in 1973 in close proximity to Kelowna’s downtown, to provide seniors with rental housing. 273 Don Elzer, “How Green was my Valley? History Reveals the Two Faces of Community Planning in the Okanagan,” Okanagan Home, April/May 2008. (accessed June 27, 2008). 274 Krueger and Maguire, Changing Urban and Fruit-Growing Patterns in OK, 22. 275 Elzer, How Green was my Valley? 43. 276 Krueger and Maguire, Changing Urban and Fruit-Growing Patterns in OK. In fact, the push to end the ALR land freeze remains in the consciousness of the development industry, and frictions persist. 277 Ed Whitcomb, A Short History of BC (From Sea to Sea Enterprises: Ottawa, 2006). 65 Thereafter it took another 6 years until the second highrise, the Executive House, was completed in 1976, with stratified rental apartments, allowing for either owner occupation or rentals.279 There were also three to four-storey rental apartment buildings in the downtown, yet, single family dwellings were still the main type of housing. In the late 1970s, Fordism was losing momentum, while the resource-based economy (forestry and agriculture) decreased in importance. More and more people began working in secondary services, such as construction and manufacturing, and tertiary services. Orchard Park Mall and Capri Centre Mall proved successful, attracting many from the interior for shopping. The removed focus from forestry and agricultural production constituted a turning point in the Valley that paved the way for further urbanization. The population of Kelowna changed from 51,955 in 1976 to 61,213 in 1986.280 While vacationers continued to find the natural setting appealing, tourism was not a big industry yet. In the 1980s, Kelowna became better known as a tourism destination as it was purposefully marketed as a ‘resort city,’281 attracting more vacationers, which, at that time, came mainly from other Canadian provinces.282 The economic integration of Canada with the US, later manifest in the 1988 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, and the thereafter North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, the US and Mexico, changed the economic landscape of Canada. The elimination of trade barriers and tariffs made the export of BC’s agricultural products difficult, in turn ‘opening’ Canada to agricultural imports from elsewhere. US fruits and vegetables began to flood the grocery produce sections, “forcing 278 Primaris Real Estate Investment Trust, (accessed September 12, 2008). 279 Personal communication with Kelowna Realtor Wayne Ross, Kelowna, BC, September 2008. 280 BC Statistics, “British Columbia Regional District and Municipal Census Populations, 1941-1986,” (accessed August 12, 2008). 281 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard. 282 Zuehlke, The B.C. Fact Book. 66 farmers off the land”283 and over time increasing farm bankruptcies.284 As a result, fruits and other agricultural products were not the mainstay of the Okanagan economy anymore, which had subsequent ramifications for Kelowna’s image. Moreover, the Okanagan Valley became more accessible with the construction of the Coquihalla Highway, which was built through the Cascade Mountains, 285 offering a third route into the Okanagan Valley.286 Completed by 1986, it made travel to and from the BC coast shorter with a driving time of approximately 4 and ½ hours in the summer. However, being a high mountain road driving continued to be treacherous and difficult, especially in the winter months. Additionally, during the emerging worldwide retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, Kelowna became a popular retirement destination for those seniors that received pension payments through the welfare state.287 Continued (disposable) income into old age allowed many retirees to take up residence, 288 many of whom are of Anglo- Saxon and Germanic background. By the early 1990s the electoral district of Okanagan West, which encompasses Kelowna, had a larger senior’s population than the rest of BC. Then Kelowna’s population included approximately 21% of people over 65, compared to the rest of BC’s population, which included approximately 12.5% of people over 65.289 Furthermore, the same census results revealed that the immigrant population of this electoral district came predominantly from the UK and other North West European countries, and congregated in much 283 Jim Hodgson, “Fruit Imports Hit as Protest Draws 700 Here,“ The Daily Courier, September 6, 1983. 284 Jim Hodgson, “What Farmers Got on Sales,“ The Daily Courier, September 6, 1983. 285 Whitcomb, A Short History of BC. 286 “Coquihalla Officially Open,“ The Daily Courier, May 16, 1985, in the The Century in Review compiled by Kyle Anderson and Jo Ann Reynolds for the Okanagan Valley Newspaper Group, (Horizon Operations (Canada) Ltd., 1999), 278. 287 Whitcomb, A Short History of BC. 288 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard. 289 BC Statistics, “1991 Census Profile, Okanagan West, Provincial Electoral District,” (accessed September 11, 2008). 67 larger numbers in Kelowna than elsewhere in BC.290 Thus, the 1991 Census states that 23% of immigrants came from the UK and 25.2% from North West Europe.291 The handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 had important, although indirect implications for the make up of Kelowna and its surroundings. Changes to Canada’s immigration laws in the late 1970s and mid 1980s, allowed those with capital from Hong Kong to land in Canada as business immigrants.292 For the period from 1980-2003 “Hong Kong has been the top source of the overall business immigrants coming to the province [of BC]. [Actually,] Hong Kong accounted for 37 percent of all the entrepreneur immigrants, 34 percent of all the investor immigrants, and 15 percent of all self-employed immigrants to BC.”293 In fact, from 1988 to 1991, 71.5% of all BC immigrants were born in Asia.294 This trend continued, and from 1991 to 1996, immigration from Hong Kong topped the immigration charts with 21%, but by 1996, that number had dropped to 9.9%.295 Regardless, these new arrivals located primarily in the urban centers of Vancouver and Toronto. Because of this new immigration, the Chinese community established a stronger presence in Vancouver than in the past. Seemingly, many ‘white’ Vancouverites felt threatened by this ‘Asian Invasion,’ and left Vancouver for ‘safer’ places, such as Kelowna, and elsewhere in the Okanagan. 296 The Interior, at the time with its cheaper land and real estate prices, was more affordable for homeowners from Vancouver, the city with 290 Ibid. 291 Ibid. 292 There were three classes of business migrants: entrepreneurs, self-employed and investors; Whitcomb, A Short History of BC. 293 BC Statistics, Population Section, Management Services, “Special Feature: Business Immigrants to British Columbia” (July 2004) (accessed August 31, 2008). 294 BC Statistics, “Census 91 Fast Facts. Issue 14: Immigrant Population,” data/cen91/issue14.pdf (accessed August 31, 2008). 295 BC Statistics, “1996 Census Profile of BC, Total Immigrants and Recent Immigrants by Selected Countries of Birth,” (accessed August 31, 2008). 296 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard. 68 the most expensive real estate in Canada.297 Those white migrants were able to purchase land and luxury real estate, and, in turn, contributed to rising real estate prices298 in Kelowna.299 Through the resulting building boom from 1996 to 2001 the number of private dwellings increased from 36,751300 to 41,604301, and the average sales price of a house rose from $132,276 in 1991, to $167,982 in 1996 and, even higher, to $190,552 in 2001.302 Indeed, Kelowna has experienced a dramatic transformation. 4.2 KELOWNA’S NEOLIBERAL PERIOD According to Harris, the technological revolution of the 1980s made capital more mobile,303 providing an infrastructure for money speculation through computer technology. Labour also has become more mobile in this period.304 In Kelowna, throughout the late 1990s, a new economy based on tourism, high tech, real estate development and land speculation developed. In fact, to some extent Kelowna too has shifted focus to industries that revolve around technology and speculative finance sectors, particularly in real estate. For example, the total value of sales in the 297 For example, the 2001 median house price in Vancouver was $200,559. BC Statistics, “The 1991 Census of Canada, Housing Characteristics,” (accessed September 12, 2008). 298BC Statistics, “Feature Article: Migration and Housing Demand,” pubs/mig/mig961fa.pdf (accessed September 12, 2008). 299According to BC Statistics, the Central Okanagan has been a major net recipient of intraprovincial migration for the years 1993-1994. (accessed September 12, 2008). 300 BC Statistics, “British Columbia Municipal and Regional District 1996 Census Results,” (accessed September 12, 2008). 301BC Statistics, “British Columbia Municipal and Regional District 2001 Census Results,” (accessed September 12, 2008). 302 All numbers from the Central Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board “Central Historical Stats 1987- 2005,” (accessed September 12, 2008). 303 Harris, Globalisation and the Technological Transformation of Capitalism. 304 Idem. 69 Central Okanagan rose from $249,400 million in 1987 to more than a billion in 2005.305 Similarly, housing prices in Kelowna have increased as the rise in median new house values shows: in 1990, a new house value was $124,428,306 but by 2005, the value has risen to $369,900. Astonishingly, the prices have continued to rise and the median resale price of a detached house was $485,000 in 2007.307 No doubt, in the last few years Kelowna has experienced a housing boom. Kelowna is not unique in this experience. Other cities in Western Canada, whose economies are connected to resource extraction, have also seen an increase in construction and housing prices. Kelowna’s housing boom, however, was also ignited by the Okanagan Fire of 2003, when more than 350 houses in well-to-do neighbourhoods were destroyed and then rebuilt with insurance money. Historically, Kelowna has been a white place as I showed before. Immigrants coming to Kelowna have predominantly come from the United Kingdom (UK) and Europe. For example, the number of immigrants who came from the UK in 1986 and 1991 was 23%. In 1996, the number dropped to 21%, 308 but by 2006, the number rose to 31.5%.309 The number of immigrants coming from Europe was 55% in 1986, and then dropped to 53% in 1991. By 1996, 305 Central Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board “Central Historical Stats 1987-2005,” (accessed September 12, 2008). 306 Economic Development Commission, “Living in Kelowna,” /02_housing.htm (accessed September 12, 2008). 307 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, “Kelowna Housing Market Outlook, Spring 2007,” (accessed September 12, 2008). 308 Ministry of Community, Aboriginal & Women's Services, “Profile of Immigrants in BC Communities 1996,“ Immigration% 20Profiles/Kelowna.pdf (accessed May 8, 2008). 309 BC Statistics, “Profile of Diversity in BC Communities 2006, Kelowna,” Kelowna.PDF (accessed August 31, 2008). 70 50% came from Europe. 310 By 2006, the number dropped again, to 39.9%.311 However, few visible minorities have settled in Kelowna. In 1996, Kelowna’s population of 89,442312 included only 4.5% of visible minorities, while BC’s overall population included 17.9% visible minorities.313 And even though BC’s population generally became more diverse in recent times, and 14.8% of Kelowna’s 2006 population were immigrants,314 the city’s inhabitants still remained remarkably white. Interestingly, from 2001-2006, the percentage of visible minorities living in Kelowna dropped from 6.2% to 6.1%.315 It is safe to say that Kelowna has remained a bastion of whiteness - echoing a long-standing monocultural history.316 This homogeneity of the population elicits feelings of safety and security in a racialized world and presents an escape from a worldwide increasing ethnically diverse population. From 1991 to 1996, the population of monocultural Kelowna grew by 22%, from 111,846 to 136,541.317 Many more dwellers worked in the post-Fordist economy. For example, while in 1996 only 4.9% of the labour force was employed in resource-based industries and 20% in 310 Ministry of Community, Aboriginal & Women's Services, “Profile of Immigrants in BC Communities 1996,“ (accessed May 8, 2008). 311 BC Statistics, Profile of Diversity in BC Communities 2006, Kelowna. 312 BC Statistics,” 1996 Census Profile of British Columbia's Census Subdivisions, Kelowna C,” (accessed September 12, 2008). 313 Statistics Canada, “2001 Kelowna Community Profile: Visible Minorities Status,” &Geo2=PR&Code2=59&Data=Count&SearchText=kelowna&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=Custom (accessed July 29, 2008). 314 BC Statistics, “Profile of Immigrants in BC Communities 2006, Central Okanagan,” Kelowna.PDF (accessed August 31, 2008). 315 BC Stats. “Profile of Diversity in BC Communities 2006, Central Okanagan,” Kelowna.PDF (accessed August 31, 2008). 316 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, The Letter. 317 BC Statistics, “1996 Community Profiles, Kelowna,” Details /details1.cfm? SEARCH=BEGINS&ID=989&PSGC=59&SGC=91500&DataType=1& LANG= E& Province= Al l&PlaceName=kelowna&CMA=915&CSDNAME=Kelowna&A=&TypeNameE= Census %20 Agglomeration (accessed August 12, 2008). 71 manufacturing and construction industries, 74.9% were concentrated in the growing service industries.318 This trend continued over the next five years. In fact, by 2001, the labour force, which was nearly 50,000 strong, included an agricultural and resource based sector, which had shrunk to 4.27%. The manufacturing and construction industries had decreased to 17.31%, while the service industries’ share had grown to 78.42%.319 At that time, the finance and real estate sector employed 6.48% of the workforce with 1800 people employed.320 By 2006, the total workforce had increased to 56,800, with a share of the finance and real estate sector of 6.65%.321 Kelowna’s Western Star truck manufacturing plant, one of the main representatives of the Fordist industry in Kelowna, closed its doors in 2002, letting 600 workers go.322 The city’s sawmill TOLKO,323 which had employed close to 330 people in 1996324 under the leadership of Okanagan local Al Thorlakson, was partially shut down by the end of 2006, sending at least 130 workers to the unemployment line.325 These two industries are among the most representative of the Fordist period in Kelowna. The closing of their operations signal the demise of this period in the city, the loss of secure union jobs and the consolidation of a neoliberal era characterized by 318 Numbers compiled by Tina Marten from BC Statistics 1996 Census Community Profile (see footnote 41). 319 BC Statistics, “2001 Community Profile, Kelowna: Work,“ english/ Profil01/CP01/ Details/Page.cfm? Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=5935010&Geo2=PR&Code2=59& Data= Count&Search Text=kelowna&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=Work&Custom=, (accessed August 12, 2008). 320 Ibid. 321 BC Statistics, “Community Facts,” (2001), 1. 322 Chris Nuttall-Smith, “Kelowna Truck Firm Faces Closure: The Western Star Trucks Plant in Kelowna that is Owned by Freightliner and Parent Company DaimlerChrysler, has Traditionally been the Largest Single Employer in the Okanagan Valley,” The Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, B.C., October 12, 2001(Final C Edition). 323 Crown Forest, a unit of Fletcher Challenge Canada, was acquired in 1992 by Timber West Forest Lumber Operations, another subsidiary of Fletcher Challenge, and thereafter acquired by Riverside Forest Products in 1997. In 2000 TOLKO bought the sawmill and ran it until lying off most of its workforce due to technological and economic restructuring. The Alacra Store, “Riverside Mergers,” acquisitions/ Riverside_Forest_Products_Ltd.-1067574 (accessed September 12, 2008). 324 BC Statistics, “1996 Census Profile of British Columbia,” bc96cen.pdf (accessed July 12, 2008). 325Don Plant, “Tolko Shuts Down Plant, 130 Given Notice,“ The Daily Courier, October 14, 2006. 72 precarious employment, such as contractual and temporary work. Faced with this radical crisis, and in agreement with the tenets of neoliberalism, the city was forced to make special efforts to attract capital. Tourism and technology were two of the anchors of the new economy. The call centres Marusa Marketing and Sitel opened their doors in 2005,326 offering entry-level non- unionized jobs, most often part-time shift work. Marusa Marketing employed 440 individuals in 2006 and Sitel 160, and was touted as a great employment opportunity for locals, who have “few options and [are] thus’ eager to fulfil full and part-time positions.”327 However, call centers had a short life in the city. One reason for their short life may be the increase of housing prices in the last years in the city, low levels of unemployment and the pressure over salaries to increase. Marusa Marketing reduced their workforce to 220 in 2007,328 before abruptly closing their doors in April of 2007, relocating elsewhere.329 Sitel followed suit and closed down in August 2008.330 The wonderful opportunities that these employers offered Kelowna’s workforce came to a swift end after only two years. Kelowna has changed under neoliberal impetus, trying to attract more mobile capital through offering an educated workforce to work in the technology and tourism sector. Real estate development became a major industry while simultaneously fuelling a speculative money economy. Wealthy and white retirees “discovered” Kelowna and over time, Kelowna became home to proportionally more individuals over 65 than elsewhere in BC. Moreover, Kelowna has remained white, attracting more whites whereas ethnic diversity increases elsewhere. The economy transformed from secure union jobs to precarious part-time jobs for skilled workers 326 Ray Turner, “Rezoning for Call Centre,”, February 28, 2008. 327 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard. 328 Economic Development Commission, “Labour Force, Major Employers List 2006 for the Central Okanagan,” %20Labour%20Force%202007.pdf (accessed September 2, 2008). 329 Kelly Hayes, “Marusa Mum on Closure,”, February 21, 2008. 330 John Moorhouse, “Call Centre Closes in October,” The Penticton Herald, May 30, 2008. 73 without unionization. All these changes and transformations have also altered Kelowna’s real estate and housing market, as I show next. 4.3 THE NEOLIBERALIZATION OF HOUSING Housing has not been immune to the workings of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism has restructured, reworked and changed its local state. The federal government has restructured its financial obligations and downloaded many responsibilities to the provinces and municipalities. Under this new relationship, cities are left with new funding responsibilities at the same time that funding sources are eliminated. Thus, cities are forced to become “creative” and entrepreneurial to make up for financial shortfalls. As Harvey argues, “The role of the local state has shifted from management of the city’s economy and infrastructure to aggressive entrepreneurialism, whereby today local governments actively recruit and solicit capital settlement to the areas under their jurisdiction.”331 As a result, cities are in on-going competition with other cities for support from other levels of government. Thus, while the city is competing with other cities, the competitive city at work332 means “the development of local policy prioritising the ‘making [of] cities [as] competitive location for investment, export, tourists and elite residents.’”333 In short, the city is forced to take opportunities that promise funds, even if these funds bring only short-term gain, or yet worse, over the long-term turn into obligations when maintenance costs and repairs must be covered by the public purse. For example, in the mid 1980s, in Canada, provincial governments reduced their spending on housing. Between 1985 and 1997, housing expenditure was reduced to 331 David Harvey, “From Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism: the Transformation in Urban Governance in Late Capitalism,” in Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001), 3453-68, as quoted in Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard, 125. 332 Roger Keil and Stefan Kipfer, "Toronto Inc? Planning the Competitive City in the New Toronto," Antipode 34(2) (2002), 227-264. 333 As quoted in Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard, 125. 74 about $100 million (more than 90 percent).334 Then, the federal government froze its social housing budget, eliminating new social housing after 1994.335 As McGill University Planning professor Jeanne M. Wolfe stated, Responsibility for social housing has been devoluted from the federal government to the provincial and territorial governments, who in turn shift administration and management to regional and municipal agencies. And while the proportion of needy families is increasing, the deficit-minded Federal government maintains its financial commitment to existing programs with no new funds presently available. Market solutions are promoted by both public and private sectors […].336 This leaves municipal governments to address this funding shortfall on their own. As a result, very little new social housing is being built and municipal governments are looking to the benevolence of the private sector. There are important changes in the way land and real estate are conceived in this new era of the city and its surroundings. By the 1990s, new developments were characterized by timeshares and (gated) resort developments, especially golf and ski resorts. The purchase of timeshares promised access to prime vacation real estate, and people invested heavily to ‘own’ real estate on a short-term basis. In Kelowna, the downtown Grand Okanagan Lakefront Resort and Conference Centre was the first large timeshare real estate, enticing people to come for weeklong vacation stays after its completion in the late 1990s. Resort vacations, and activity and experience-based tourism gained popularity with carefully concerted campaigns. Wine tourism, cultural tourism, and sports tourism became important segments of the tourism industry of the 1990s. The overall goal was to entice wealthier tourists to come to Kelowna for longer stays (where they could and would spend more money) 334 Bruce Porter, “The Right to Adequate Housing in Canada,” in Finding Room: Options for a Canadian Rental Housing Strategy by David Hulchanski and Michael Shapcott, ed., (Toronto: CUCS Press, 2004), 69-80. 335 Ibid. 336 Michael Shapcott, “Where are We Going? Recent Federal and Provincial Housing Policy,” in Finding Room: Options for a Canadian Rental Housing Strategy, by David Hulchanski and Michael Shapcott, ed., (Toronto: CUCS Press, 2004), 195-212; 202. 75 and to create loyalty to Kelowna, and the Okanagan Valley, so tourists would return year after year.337 The Okanagan Cultural Corridor Project is one such tourism initiative, where cultural tourism entails visits to “museums, art galleries, artist studios, historic sites and heritage attractions, arts events and cultural festivals, First Nations cultural attractions, wineries, open farms and orchards and, food processors and chefs,”338 in venues located up and down the Okanagan Valley. In addition, ‘white’ tourism grew into a much bigger industry. The Tourism Bureau of Kelowna devised many advertisements and pamphlets geared at white middle and upper class tourists, with pictures of white families playing at the beach, engaging in exclusive sports, such as power boat sports and alpine sports, or other consumption driven activities. Under neoliberalism tourism development, promises to bring profits and prosperity, and the subsequent commodification of culture and traditions are necessary to lure tourists and their dollars to the consumption thereof. In that sense, tourism and its re/developments are also vehicles to push for transformation and change, such as gentrification of specific areas, creation of themed areas, and/or commodification of people and places. In Kelowna’s downtown, the Cultural District was developed in the 1990’s, restoring landmarks of imperial history such as the Laurel Packinghouse on the corner of Cawston Avenue and Ellis Street in the downtown core. The six-block area, bound by Queensway in the South, Water Street in the West, Clement Avenue to the North and Ellis Street to the East is “thriving with attractions such as shopping, galleries, historic sites and views, restaurants, the Artwalk, and spectacular Waterfront Park, discover the district.”339 The gentrification and development of that area was supported and 337 The Okanagan Partnership Strategy, “Okanagan Competitiveness Strategy, Appendices A&B,” (June 2004), (accessed September 12, 2008). 338 Tourism BC, “Visitors to the Okanagan Valley 2002. Executive Summary,” 1, (accessed September 3, 2008). 339 Kelowna’s Cultural District, “Self Guided Waling Tour Brochure,” selfguidedtours.pdf (accessed September 2, 2008). 76 guided by a statutory committee of the City of Kelowna, the Mayor’s Downtown Taskforce. Furthermore, that area has received support from the following policies and plans: “the Official Community Plan, the Kelowna Centre Plan, the Streetscape Plan, the Social Plan, the Economic Impact Study, the Downtown plan and the Cultural District Plan.”340 I will discuss some of these plans in more detail in the next chapter, but I will suggest here that these plans are instrumental to the implementation of neoliberalism in Kelowna and that many of the plan contributors have worked very hard to implement. The revitalization and gentrification of the Cultural District have been a step in the preparation of a market redevelopment elsewhere in the city. The creation of the Cultural District was instrumental in the preparation of highrise redevelopment of other downtown areas. With arts-focused and city supported gentrification, the six block area of the cultural district became an area where people could “safely” engage in consumption of art and culture. In that sense, this spatial revitalization was an attempt to establish the area as safe in order to draw people and their dollars to the area. The highrise developments on Ellis Street capitalized on the Cultural District revitalization initiative, and their close proximity to the district has made the sale of real estate units easier. In that sense, developers have benefited financially from the revitalization initiative and public investment in that area. Other areas of Kelowna’s downtown also saw waves of gentrification and subsequent intensification as more people came to Kelowna.341 Streets with quaint little houses were transformed when certain properties could be redeveloped with the addition of another residence. 340 Kelowna’s Cultural District, “About Us,” (accessed September 2, 2008). 341 Elzer, How Green was my Valley? 77 City zoning of RU6342 properties allow for a secondary dwelling of up to 970 square feet. The City of Kelowna had hoped to stimulate infill and densification in the downtown with these so- called Carriage Houses, but the outcome was different from anticipated. Where the city had hoped to create infill with small and affordable housing, the Carriage Homes rented for exorbitant rents and their buying and selling fuelled real estate and housing speculation. RU6 properties became properties with extra potential, very enticing to entrepreneur’s in real estate. Their redevelopment process entailed that people bought RU6 properties and applied to the City of Kelowna Planning Department to subdivide the properties in order to redevelop them with a secondary residence. Upon approval, many developers built the cheapest homes possible, trying to create maximum living space, often at the cost of aesthetics and quality. Throughout this process, many mature trees were removed and neighbours lost all privacy, especially when new two-storey Carriage Homes were squeezed between single storey, and one and a half storey homes. These new houses quickly became eyesores and altered the neighbourhood character. Furthermore, investors discovered that they could renovate the main home, build a Carriage House, and then flip both homes. A third trend was the sub-division of larger RU6 properties, and the subsequent building of two new large homes to be sold separately upon completion. The resulting building flurry fuelled the real estate market and swept in waves across side streets in the downtown. As a result, the character of many streets was altered and people’s mobility increased. Some moved into the area as renters, others sold their properties to make money or to get away from the building activity, yet others moved repeatedly in the attempt to find the most affordable rental housing. 342 The designation RU6 refers to City of Kelowna zoning designation, allowing two dwelling units for a property. For a more detailed description see the City of Kelowna “Zoning Bylaw 8000, Urban Residential Zones, Section 13-Urban Housing Zones,” 14. 78 Today, Kelowna’s housing market is comprised of 44,985 occupied private dwellings, which have an average of 6.8 rooms and 2.8 bedrooms. However, compared to the rest of BC, where the average number of rooms per dwelling is 6.4 with 2.7 bedrooms,343 it becomes clear that houses in Kelowna have more rooms, including bedrooms. Also, these 44,895 dwelling units are occupied by 140,490 people, placing on average 2.3 people per dwelling, whereas the dwelling occupation average in the rest of BC is 2.5 people per dwelling.344 While dwellings in Kelowna are larger, they are less occupied. Generally, most of these private dwellings are owner occupied: 72% are owned and 28% are rented. Again, the proportion of homeowners in Kelowna is stronger when compared to BC numbers, where 70% are owned and 30% are rented.345 These numbers suggest there is a strong home-owning culture in Kelowna. However, these numbers also suggests that there are fewer options for renters, for example less available market rental units and even fewer units of public housing. In Kelowna, most of the housing is market housing,346 with an aging stock of rental housing. In fact, rental housing is not being built as developers cite problems to recover their costs; market housing simply grants developers larger profit margins.347 In addition, some Kelowna developers eschew the inclusion of affordable dwelling units in their development projects, as the Daily Commercial News reported on June 27, 2008, “for fear that [it] will stigmatize the building and reduce its market appeal.”348 Instead, 343 BC Statistics, “2006 Census Profile: Kelowna C,” 3. 344 Ibid. 345 Ibid. 346 Privately owned housing, built to be sold for profit. The homeowner is responsible for the house, its maintenance, etc. 347 Shapcott, Where are We Going? 348 N.A., “Kelowna Taps Developers to Help Build Fund for Affordable Housing,“ Daily Commercial News, June 27, 2008, article/id28595 (accessed July 28, 2008). 79 developers make a monetary contribution to the City’s Housing Opportunities Reserve Fund. 349 This practice is not unusual, the City of Kelowna neither ensures nor enforces a balance or ratio between public and private housing being constructed, therefore granting developers decision making power, unhindered by inclusionary housing bylaws or other measures.350 And even though the City of Kelowna elicits contributions from developers towards the Housing Opportunities Reserve Fund, these contributions are a pittance when compared to the profit margins that developers stand to make. The neoliberal turn came along the emergence of a new discourse: helping people make the jump into homeownership. Pushing people into becoming homeowners would relieve governments of social responsibilities to provide adequate and affordable housing. Thus new programs were implemented to help those with lower socio-economic incomes to become homeowners. As a result, many people bought homes and began carrying mortgages instead of paying rent. This was aided by an extension of the traditional 25-year mortgage to a 40-year mortgage period in 2007, allowing individuals to spread the cost of homeownership over a longer period. Within the logics of neoliberal ethics, transforming people into homeowners by helping them purchase a home means that being and staying housed becomes an individual responsibility. According to this logic, renters have simply failed in the housing market, failed to use their market potential to secure and retain housing. It is no real surprise, then, that in 349 The City of Kelowna Housing Opportunities Reserve Fund is described as follows on the City’s website: “The intent of this fund is to encourage the development of affordable housing. The City will use monies (generated from land sales and leases as well as other sources) to acquire lands suited to development opportunities that would include affordable housing. Land would then be leased or sold to builders, non-profit housing societies, developers and others to achieve projects that include a proportion of affordable housing,“ CM/Page1023.aspx (accessed July 28, 2008). 350 Christoph Stadel with Dominik Prock, “”Gated Communities” – postmoderne Wohnparadiese in freiwilliger Segregation? Das Beispiel von Kelowna (British Columbia), Kanada,” Klagenfurter Geographische Schriften, Heft 18 (2000), 191-204. 80 Kelowna - where homeownership is prised and advertised as a lifetime achievement, as seen in the bombardment of real estate and mortgage ads - there are few units of rental housing. There are 4469 units of rental apartments, in addition to 8,167 other rental dwelling units (e.g. in semi- detached homes, duplexes or row houses or other accessory suites).351 However, only 2,364 of these are publicly funded, and the rest are market-oriented. As the City of Kelowna Housing Resources Handbook concludes, there is a deficiency of 7,974 units of permanent housing, presenting the 13,122 individuals in need of subsidized housing with an insurmountable challenge to secure adequate and affordable housing.352 It is not surprising then, that Kelowna’s housing market has proportionally more for-profit, or market housing, than non-profit housing. Kelowna’s rental vacancy rate fell to zero in October of 2007. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation had projected the rate to remain below 0.5% throughout most of 2008,353 but the current crisis (2009) has reversed this trend as rental ads have began to appear all over the city. This highlights a trend in the rental-housing sector, where rental housing starts have declined despite low vacancy rates and steady increases in rents.354 There are simply too few new rental units being built. “[In Kelowna,] apartment and townhouse rental housing starts totalled only 40 units in 2005 and 2006, down from almost 350 units during the previous four year period. No new rental units are expected in 2007.”355 And yet another very worrisome trend is beginning to emerge in Kelowna: the conversion of rental housing to ‘affordable low cost’ housing. Some developers have now begun to purchase rental complexes and are refurbishing 351 City of Kelowna, Community Development and Real Estate, “Housing Resources Handbook “ (May 2008), 7. 352 Ibid., 8. 353 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, “Rental Market Report Kelowna CMA,” (2007), 1. (accessed January 15, 2008). 354 City of Kelowna Community Development and Real Estate, “Housing Resources Handbook“ (May 2008), 7. 355 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, “Rental Market Report Kelowna CMA,” (2007), 2. (accessed January 15, 2008). 81 them in order to re-sell the individual apartments as ‘affordable’ housing. For example, as Kelowna Capital News reporter Jennifer Smith explains, on Bernard Avenue in Kelowna’s downtown, thirty year old 1,000 square-foot two-bedroom condominiums were bought by the development Company Cheam Casola 2007 Holdings Ltd.356 in order to be resold again for an ‘affordable’ CAN $200,000-325,000.357 The developers offer the existing tenant a first option to purchase the unit for a reduced price with a low down payment. However, many of these units are occupied by seniors, lone-parents or others who do not qualify for mortgages for one reason or another. They are lifetime renters,358 and thus cannot enter the homeowner market. The renters currently living in one of these converted units are ‘compensated’ with two months without rent and a moving allowance, for their inconveniences. In a way tenants are simply forced out, for what other choice do they have? And where could they move to in a city with a very low rental vacancy rate? To this date, to my knowledge, possible impacts of these housing conversions have not been studied. Housing is a commodity and as such bought and sold continuously, driven by the interests of the private market. As long as there are people willing to buy these refurbished apartments, renters are displaced, excluded from homeownership and discriminated against.359 In fact, the City of Kelowna has been somewhat sideswiped by this new strategy. Smith cites Theresa Eichler, the city’s community planning manager, as saying that “for a number of years we’ve felt that it wasn’t a real concern, because the numbers [of conversions] were so 356 City of Kelowna, “Council Minutes, April 28, 2008, Regular Afternoon Meeting,” CityPage/Docs/PDFs%5CCouncil%5CMeetings%5C2008-04-28%5CMinutes%20- %20April%2028%20P.M.%20Regular%20Meeting.pdf (accessed July 25, 2008). 357 Jennifer Smith, “Rental Units Sold as Low Cost Housing,” Kelowna Capital News, April 30, 2008. 358 David Hulchanski, “A Tale of Two Canada’s: Homeowners Getting Richer, Renters Getting Poorer,” in Finding Room: Options for a Canadian Rental Housing Strategy, by David Hulchanski and Michael Shapcott, ed., (Toronto: CUCS Press, 2004), 81-88. 359 Sylvia Novac, Joe Darden, David Hulchanski and Anne-Marie Seguin, “Housing Discrimination in Canada: Stakeholder Views and Research Gaps,” in Finding Room: Options for a Canadian Rental Housing Strategy, by David Hulchanski and Michael Shapcott, ed., (Toronto: CUCS Press, 2004), 135-146 82 low.” 360 She further reports,” [but] a number of larger buildings are now being purchased for the same purpose. And that could have a significant impact on the number of homes for rent.”361 The city’s current strategy is to monitor the rental market and re-evaluate upon receipt of a new conversion application, “especially since Kelowna City Council still has yet to establish a policy on whether developers should be allowed to purchase and stratify what is left of the rental housing market.”362 But, as Council records show, the conversion application for Company Cheam Casola 2007 Holdings Ltd. was approved unconditionally.363 As one local writer observed, “[e]ach time, there has been a political will to grant favours to a few in hopes that the economy will flourish and a timeless prosperity will occur for everyone.”364 Motel rooms and mobile home parks also had to make way for new developments. By 2000, at least five motels were torn down and rezoned to allow for new developments. The residents were moved and temporarily housed elsewhere,365 but in the long-term, the affordable housing was forever lost after it was demolished. The Hiawatha Mobile Home Park, where residents are mostly seniors, is one such example. Alberta developer Phil Milroy (Westcorp Properties) bought the property and in 2008 had delivered eviction notices to the Park’s residents.366 They must evacuate their mobile home once the rezoning request has passed through 360 Jennifer Smith, “Rental Units Sold as Low Cost Housing”, Kelowna Daily Courier, April 30, 2008. 361 Ibid. 362 Ibid. 363City of Kelowna, “Council Minutes, April 28, 2008, Regular Afternoon Meeting,” %20April%2028%20P.M.%20Regular%20Meeting.pdf (accessed July 25, 2008). 364 Elzer, How Green was my Valley? 38. 365 Ministry of Social Development and Economic Security, “Planning for Housing (Revised 2000),” (accessed September 3, 2008). 366 Camille Jensen, “Hiawatha Residents Upset,“, June 30, 2007, (accessed September 08); Don Plant, “Hiawatha residents await eviction,“ The Daily Courier, February 2, 2008. 83 city council, and then those seniors, many on fixed incomes, will need to relocate within Kelowna’s expensive private housing market. For a very long time, single-family dwellings were the most common building style in Kelowna. Land was cheap and plenty, and people built large homes on large lots. During the past decade however, it has become evident that there will be a shortage of land due to the limiting geography of the Okanagan Valley, and a shortage of water since no one really knows for sure how much water is contained in the valley’s aquifers.367 Land has become the new gold.368 As a result there has been a push to densify housing on already developed land, and urban sprawl is to be stopped and under the auspices of smart growth , densification and infill, what has subsequently also altered the building style. Success of this densification discourse is demonstrated by the increase of condominiums being built, especially in Kelowna’s downtown core, and as seen in Table 4.3.1. Table 4.3.1: Downtown Kelowna Residential Units per Housing Type, 1998-2007 Year Single detached Semidetached Secondary Suite Row Housing Apartment Total Development Permits Issued 1998 6 4 7 0 142 159 1999 5 0 8 36 66 115 2000 9 6 11 0 60 86 2001 5 0 6 0 195 206 2002 20 4 43 8 160 235 2003 10 2 32 0 427 472 2004 21 6 53 40 354 474 2005 21 5 31 20 271 348 2006 11 6 20 0 65 102 2007 16 3 20 4 424 467 Source: Data compiled by Tina Marten from the 2003, 2006 and 2007 City of Kelowna Development Statistics. All statistics prepared by the Planning and Development Services Department. 367 Chris Wood, “Drying up the Okanagan: Mud Pond Near Kelowna, B.C. Thirsty Region is 'Canary in Coal Mine' for BC and Water,“ The Tyee, August 17, 2006, (accessed September 3, 2008). 368 Laurie Carter, “Okanagan Lifestyle Woos Amenity Migrants,” Okanagan Life Relocation and Real Estate Guide 2007/2008, 9-18; 26. 84 Today the apartment/condo outpaces any other residential building style in the downtown. The strongest years for condominium approvals in the downtown were in 2003 and 2007, when 427 and 424 respectively were approved. The year 2004 also showed strong growth in the condominium sector with 354 units approved. These numbers translate into 12 new condominium towers in the downtown, many of them still in the planning stages and/or existing only as imagined/virtual real estate. Owning and living in a condominium is now a viable alternative to owning a house. The Okanagan Life Relocation & Real Estate Guide 2005/2006 advertised “urban living” as “stylish and mak[ing] environmental and economic sense.”369 This ‘urban revolution’ is hailed as the panacea to urban sprawl, hoping that urban dwellers will develop a sense of place, creating community, support local businesses, get out of their cars and into the streets. In short, the hope is that these people bring a renewed hustle and bustle to the downtown and so rejuvenate the now empty streets. However, in the past decade amenity migrants370-- those who are attracted by the perception of ‘better’ amenities of an area371-- have begun to flock to the Okanagan in general, and to Kelowna more specifically. Often their choice to relocate is supported by ‘portable’ jobs, those that can be performed from home.372 These migrants come to Kelowna as secondary homeowners, bringing with them investment income.373Often investors are temporary or seasonal residents. A pull factor is the scenery of the Okanagan and the wish to consume 369 christina erl-daniels, “Urban Living Comes to Kelowna,“ Okanagan Life Relocation and Real Estate Guide 2005/2006, 39. 370 Carter, Okanagan Lifestyle Woos Amenity Migrants. 371 Raymond Chipeniuk, “Planning for Amenity Migration,” BioOne, 24 (4) (2004), 327-335. [0327%3APFAMIC] 2.0.CO%3B2&ct=1 (accessed September 13, 2008). 372 Susan I. Stewart, “Amenity Migration,” North Central Research Station, (USDA Forest Service, Evanston, Il.: 2000) (accessed September 1, 2008). 373 Laurence A.G. Moss, “Amenity-led Change in Rural Towns and Regions,” Amenity Migration Planning Capacity Building Workshop 1, Castlegar, BC (April 9-11, 2008), 2. innovation-chair/planning-for-amenity-migration/Amenity_Led_Change.pdf (accessed September 1, 2008). 85 ‘nature,’ and to play in the Okanagan’s “year-round playground”374 of mountains, lakes and beaches. The problem is that many of these migrants are only part-time residents of the community. For example, many of the new condominium highrises constructed along Ellis Street belong to amenity migrants, they are only used temporarily.375 Even though these migrants return in regular intervals,376 they do not become part of the community but remain “high income transients.”377 With a discourse painstakingly constructed around experiences, lifestyle, choice and consumption, Kelowna is branded and offered as a fun place to be. The Tourism Kelowna website advertises, “in Kelowna your toughest choice is what to do next.”378 Even better, the official City of Kelowna website boasts that people living in Kelowna live an “envied lifestyle,”379 because “set against a spectacular backdrop of mountains and lakes, Kelowna is a great place to golf, fish, hike, ski, and enjoy water sports.”380 In fact, Kelowna, as an experience is so wonderful, according to Tourism Kelowna, that “you’ll want to return to Kelowna, BC, again and again.”381 This experience-centered discourse is also reflected in the current slogan of the Economic Development Commissions ‘Invest Kelowna’ campaign, which entices people to come to Kelowna to work, play and prosper – precisely in that order.382 Thus, the meticulously 374 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard. 375 Interview Five. 376 Stewart, Amenity Migration. 377 I learned this term from Kelowna’s activist John Zeger. 378 Tourism Kelowna, “Welcome to the Official Site of Tourism Kelowna in British Columbia, Canada,“ http:// (accessed July 8, 2008). 379 City of Kelowna, “Visitors,” (accessed July 10, 2008). 380 Ibid. 381 Tourism Kelowna, “Welcome to the official site of Tourism Kelowna in British Columbia, Canada ,“ http:// (accessed June 22, 2008). 382 Economic Development Commission, “About the Economic Development Commission,” (accessed July 14, 2008). 86 fashioned overall picture purports that in Kelowna people have few worries and life must be easy and carefree. 4.4 CONCLUSION This chapter shows how Kelowna has transformed from a small rural community to an urbanized neoliberal CMA with a population of over 100,000 people. I explained how Kelowna has transitioned from a Fordist economy to a neoliberal economy, supported by the construction and real estate industry and fuelled by a speculative money economy. I suggested that Kelowna is a white fortress, welcoming to whites, especially wealthy whites. I devoted a considerable section of this chapter to the neoliberalization of housing in Kelowna, and various forms of housing conversions, such as RU6 rezoning to allow for Carriage Houses, rental stock conversion, and the elimination of affordable rental and mobile home park housing. I explained that revitalization initiatives, such as the creation of the Cultural District in Kelowna’s downtown, must be understood as an instrumental step in the preparation of space for redevelopment, a step that is highly profitable for the private housing sector, while funded by the public. I hope I showed that Kelowna’s neoliberalization has transformed the city in a particular way, increasing social inequality all the while entrenching class separation. 87 CHAPTER FIVE: THE NEOLIBERALIZATION OF THE URBAN BUILT ENVIRONMENT IN KELOWNA, BC 5.0 INTRODUCTION According to Wendy Larner not enough attention has been paid to the “intellectual, policy, and practitioner networks that underpin the global expansion of neoliberal ideas, and their subsequent manifestation in government policies and programmes.” 383 In a neoliberal climate, it is not only a city’s space that is reworked and redeveloped according to capital’s force; the governing body itself is modified to accommodate the needs of capital. This thesis is an effort to contribute to the understanding of the forces behind the rapid neoliberal transformation of urban Canada in the last decades, with particular attention to the City of Kelowna. The role of developers and business in the governance and planning of the city is of crucial importance for this. In this chapter I suggest that the neoliberalization of the City has been deliberate and steady, with the participation of key individuals, companies and institutions in the promotion of changes necessary to implement a rapid and new form of urban redevelopment. I argue that developers and land entrepreneurs are major players in these transformations. Thus, under neoliberal rule, the urban space must be read as a reflection of businesses and capital’s interactions with City governance, considering that the ensuing social fabric created by this interaction mirrors, in important forms, capital’s imaginations. To analyze these changes I offer an analysis of key planning documents prepared in the 1990’s and early 2000s by the City of Kelowna Planning Department, which envisions the transformation of the city into one with a newly redeveloped and compacted densified downtown with high-rises. The planning documents are of interest because they explain how the stage is set for capital injections in the form of intentional investment and redevelopment of the downtown 383 Wendy Larner, “Neoliberalism?” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 21 (2003), 509-512. 88 area.384 I also pay attention to the role of the City in regulating the downtown’s urban development in this period. I describe the hierarchy of planning documents that shape the urban built environment, paying attention not only to plan contributors, but also demonstrating how these documents facilitate and steer neoliberalized city planning and, as a result, propel a neoliberal transformation of the City’s downtown urban built environment. I argue that agents of change, as well as individuals and special interest groups, have been instrumental in the creation of these planning documents, and consequently, in the transformation of the built environment. 384 Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd. in association with AMS Planning and Research, Gryphos Land Use Planning Corp., Dennis McGuire, Steven Thorne, Scott Fraser, and Quoin Project and Cost Management, Cultural District Implementation Strategy and Marketing Plan (June 2000). 89 5.1 THE DOWNTOWN RESEARCH AREA The area of Kelowna’s downtown examined by my research encompasses 36 city blocks in total, as can be seen outlined in Illustration 5.1.1 below. Illustration 5.1.1: Kelowna’s Downtown Research Area. Source: Map created by Tina Marten, 2009. The downtown has been home to the business district for over one hundred years. The aesthetics of Kelowna’s downtown resembled the downtowns of other western small or medium cities, 90 mostly stores and businesses, in two-storey buildings, some with living quarters above.385 Four- storey buildings came only in the 1960s with the adoption of the 1961 Official Community Plan,386 when commercial buildings were allowed to be four storeys tall, but generally only on two streets, Leon Avenue and Lawrence Avenue. However, some four storey apartment buildings were approved in a piecemeal fashion elsewhere in the downtown. As a result, the height of many downtown buildings has stayed the same for most of the century. Only in 1996 City Council adopted the Commercial 7 zoning bylaw, which allows for 7 storey buildings, but curtailed to the downtown area of Leon and Lawrence Avenues.387 Interestingly though, the last height amendment has not translated into the built environment. No new higher buildings have been built on Leon and Lawrence Avenues during the past decade. Instead, developers fought hard for high rise rezoning elsewhere downtown. The urban fabric is regulated by the City, which stipulates permissible conduct and activities through its planning documents and by-laws. While these documents are legitimated by City Council, they are created by the Planning Department, often with input from community stakeholders, who, in the downtown core in this particular period, represent mostly business and capital. 5.2 THE NEOLIBERAL RESTRUCTURING OF THE CITY OF KELOWNA The neoliberalization of the Canadian State of the last decades388 began to rework state structures on a provincial and municipal level. BC’s Social Credit government was in power from the early 1950s until 1972, and came back into power in 1975. The Bennett government of the mid- 385 City of Kelowna, Official Community Plan: Bylaw 740 (1938). 386 City of Kelowna, Official Community Plan: Bylaw 2293 (1961). 387 City of Kelowna, Official Community Plan: Bylaw 7600 (1995). 388 Denis, “Government Can do Whatever it Wants.” 91 seventies characterized itself with attacks on trade unions and calls for social restrain, limiting social spending. Later, when in 2001, the Liberal Party came to power in BC under its leader Gordon Campbell,389 fiscal austerity, privatization and assaults on the welfare state quickly became a reality. During neoliberal state restructuring, accompanying structural adjustment policies force municipalities and city governments to take on increasing responsibilities for the financial, economic and social well-being of the city and its dwellers and to develop “creative ways to resolve them, for example, by considering partnerships with the private sector.”390 Throughout those years, at the regional level, cities were forced to become competitors in the market domain,391 with “cities […] selling themselves in a national and global market place of cities,”392 hoping to attract enough funds to back their financial needs, balance their budgets and provide for their citizens. Within this competitive climate, cities pursue a wide range of financial initiatives, from funds for social housing to support initiatives against homelessness or for infrastructure projects, to only name a few. The neoliberal city itself is the investment opportunity, and its government has the task, through its governance policies, to make the city “more attractive as an investment location.”393 During this process, city managers, politicians and agents of change become the entrepreneurs that hold the “capacity to formulate schemes that benefit [and stimulate] growth”394 within the city. 389 The BC Liberals were re-elected in 2005 and 2009, again under the leadership of Gordon Campbell. 390 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism; Peck and Tickell, Neoliberalizing Space; Brenner and Theodore, Spaces of Neoliberalism. 391 Susan George, “A Short History of Neoliberalism,” Conference on Economic Sovereignty in a Globalising World, March 24-26, 1999, (accessed February 1, 2006); David Harvey, From Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism. 392 Paul Treanor, “Neoliberalism: Origins, Theory and Definition,” (2001), Paul.Treanor/neoliberalism.html (accessed July 10, 2006). 393 Ibid. 394 Molotch, Strategies and Constraints of Growth Elites. 92 Geographer David Harvey has been a pioneer in interpreting the structural changes to the nature of governance of public space and its privatization under the rule of the market: “… business and corporations not only collaborate intimately with state actors but even acquire a strong role in writing legislation, determining public policies, and setting regulatory frameworks (which are advantageous to themselves). Patterns of negotiation arise that incorporate business and sometimes professional interests into governance through close and sometimes secretive consultation.”395 While governance is restructured to include the interests of capital, those who are most impacted (the public) by this new form of operating are excluded from the decision making process.396 Kelowna has not been excluded from the neoliberal trend of this period. The city has become imagined as a highly competitive product offered “as a location for the entrepreneur.”397 Saleable features of the area included, but were not limited, to its natural features, the city’s infrastructure (existing or planned398), and the resident labour force (for example, lack of unionization399). On the other hand, social responsibilities, for example, social housing, have been downloaded into its local government to be resolved through creative neoliberal ways. In fact, the BC Government has implemented important structural changes to the social housing program, as part of its efforts at neoliberalizing BC’s housing sector. For example, from 2002 to 2007, 89 million dollars in federal capital funds were diverted to assisted living, as a replacement for much needed new social housing. At the same time that new construction of social housing ceases, the province negotiates with the federal government to take over existing social housing stocks in order to subsequently turn around and privatize them in public-private 395 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 76-77. 396 Silvia Fuller, “Restructuring Government in BC,” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, October 1, 2001, (accessed November 10, 2008). 397 Interview Three. 398 In tourism brochures and magazine ads, a city is sold most often with its existing features. Kelowna was not an exception, as seen in brochures advertising the fun of skiing at the local ski hills, swimming in Okanagan Lake and sun tanning on its beaches, or wine-touring. 399 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard. 93 partnerships with the private for-profit and non-profit sector, but now with reduced government support.400 Once privatized, these social housing units are in danger of conversion to luxury living spaces. This disturbing trend is occurring in Vancouver, where social housing units are left to deteriorate until the Fire Department condemns the building. Residents are then evicted because the building is deemed inhabitable. Thereafter, the building is sold to developers who apply for rezoning and redevelopment applications.401 Once the building is empty, existing living space is converted to luxury condos. Actually, conversions were the main reason for loss of social housing, followed by by-law enforcement for health, standards of maintenance, and fire, redevelopment, renovations and closure.402 From the 1970s to 1998, Vancouver lost 6000 units of social housing.403 For Kelowna, the picture is not that clear, as there are no official records that tally the loss of social housing units, although several low-income motels along Gordon Drive were torn down in the early 2000s. Those lands sit vacant today, as the Illustration 5.2.1 shows. Illustration 5.2.1: Barren Land along Gordon Drive. Source: Photo taken by Tina Marten (February 2009). 400 John Irwin, Home Insecurity: the State of Social Housing Funding in BC (August 2004). (accessed November 10, 2008). 401 N.A., “No Place for Home: After Years of Neglect, Vancouver's Notorious Downtown Eastside now Faces a Development Boom that is Threatening to Displace Thousands of Low-Income Residents,” Goliath, March 1, 2007 (Online version), (accessed January 13, 2009); Monti Paulsen, “Vancouver Losing SROs Faster than It Can Replace Them. Based on Figures in City’s own Report,” The, July 10, 2007, (accessed January 14, 2009). 402 Pivot Legal Society, Cracks in the Foundation (Sept. 2006), Publications/ reportscitf.htm (accessed January 14, 2009). 403 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, “Retaining Affordable Housing,” Replacement Housing Vancouver, (accessed January 14, 2009). 94 However, Ian Graham, chair of the Kelowna Poverty and Homelessness Action Team – Central Okanagan, guesses that in Kelowna 356 social housing units have been lost since the mid 1990s.404 The downloading of responsibilities into the hands of municipal government forces municipalities on a quest for resources for their newly gained responsibilities, and into governance models that function primarily with the attraction of capital in public- private partnerships.405 In this fashion, the City of Kelowna’s 1992 Strategic Plan proclaims that “downloading more extensive and stricter Provincial Government standards and changing Provincial Government policies/objectives […] serve to expand the range of services which local government must provide.”406 Moreover, city governments must find “solutions to local issues […] through regional approaches.”407 This requires a new direction in city planning. 5.2.1 CITY OF KELOWNA PLANNING DOCUMENTS, 1990s – EARLY 2000s New neoliberal strategies are laid out in planning documents from the 1990s, such as the 1992 Strategic Plan: Choosing our Future (hereafter Strategic Plan), the 1998 Inner Shore Zone Concept Plan (hereafter Shore Zone Plan), the 1999 Kelowna Downtown: a People Place plan (hereafter Downtown Plan) and the 2000 Cultural District Implementation Strategy and Marketing Plan (hereafter Cultural District Plan). Neoliberalism thrives in a perpetual pro- growth climate with ongoing development.408 This climate is fostered and supported with a rhetoric and discourse that considers development, on the one hand, necessary and 404 Personal conversation Ian Graham, Chair of the Poverty and Homelessness Action Team of the Central Okanagan, in Kelowna, BC, January 14, 2009. 405 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 406 City of Kelowna, Choosing our Future, Draft Strategic Plan (October 1992), Part 2, 6. 407 Ibid., Part 2, 5. 408 Molotch, Strategies and Constraints of Growth Elites. 95 unavoidable,409 and on the other desirable and beneficial.410 For example, Strategic Plan projections proclaimed that the City of Kelowna would grow tremendously, that, in fact, the population would swell to 115,000 by 2004 and even 133,000 by 2011,411 and that this growth (arising from in-migration) is necessary to bring in labour to work in the economy of the growing city. Clearly, a large influx of migrants places tremendous pressures on agricultural lands, placing them under a concrete threat of urbanization, as well as placing enormous strain on the city’s existing infrastructure and services.412 A strategy was needed to deal with the prospected influx of newcomers, while protecting the existing rural small-town character of Kelowna. A plan was required that would “give direction for making important decisions about the future development of the city, outlining five to ten year directions for services and city policies,” 413 an approach that would normalize in-migration and population increases, while praising (re)development and growth. Moreover, a strategy was needed to localize this proposed growth. Planning documents were put together by City planners in collaboration with downtown stakeholders (e.g. members from the Downtown Kelowna Association, the Urban Development Institute and/or the Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Canada Lands Company).414 These were adopted by Council to prepare the downtown for redevelopment. Through the study of the many planning documents under which the City operates, four documents are most instrumental to exemplify this economic 409 Ibid. 410 Barke, Morphogenesis, Fringe Belts and Urban Size. 411 City of Kelowna, Choosing our Future, Draft Strategic Plan, Part 4, Section 1, 2. 412 Ibid., Part 4, Section 5, 1. 413 Ibid., Part 1, 1. 414 Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd. in association with AMS Planning and Research, Gryphos Land Use Planning Corp., Dennis McGuire, Steven Thorne, Scott Fraser, and Quoin Project and Cost Management, Cultural District Implementation Strategy and Marketing Plan; Stantec Consulting Ltd. , Downtown North Area Structure Plan, prepared for Canada Lands Company Ltd. (August 1999). City of Kelowna Planning Department and Urban Systems Ltd., Kelowna Downtown: a People Place (October 1999); City of Kelowna, Inner City Shore Zone Concept Plan. 96 development approach. The Strategic Plan explains strategies that the City adopted in 1992 to manage the growth of the entire city, whereas the Downtown Plan, the Shore Zone Plan, and the Cultural District Plan are geographically specific plans, addressing Kelowna’s proposed downtown growth in detail. In more detail, the Downtown Plan introduces a long-term economic revitalization strategy for the entire downtown area, mainly through real estate redevelopment. This plan envisages the downtown redeveloped with highrises, allowing people to dwell415 downtown, in order “to maintain and enhance our Downtown as an economically, vital and exciting place to celebrate the civic life of our city.”416 Similarly, the Shore Concept Plan also introduces economic revitalization measures, but along the downtown waterfront area. This plan calls to celebrate the past entrepreneurial and social history of the Okanagan Lake waterfront.417 It envisions people coming to the area, who, while commemorating waterfront history, engage in newly created leisure activities along the waterfront. In other words, people are to celebrate a recreation of the past, to mimic the past as an “imaginative reconstruction,”418 while simultaneously consuming the place and service offered within the newly built amenities, for example a public wharf.419 And last, the Cultural District Plan introduces measures to create a downtown cultural district. This cultural district is supposed to attract locals and tourists alike to cultural amenities that are scattered in a six block area.420 It is hoped that the creation of “an area 415 Aguiar, Tomic and Trumper, Work Hard, Play Hard. 416 City of Kelowna Planning Department and Urban Systems Ltd., Kelowna Downtown: a People Place, iii. 417 City of Kelowna, Inner City Shore Zone Concept Plan. 418 Sharon Zukin, “Whose Culture, Whose City?” The Cultures of Cities (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1995). 419 Ibid. 420 Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd. in association with AMS Planning and Research, Gryphos Land Use Planning Corp., Dennis McGuire, Steven Thorne, Scott Fraser, and Quoin Project and Cost Management, Cultural District Implementation Strategy and Marketing Plan. 97 of vitality and activity,”421 coupled with the gentrification of its public spaces, will create a thriving cultural tourism economy.422 What is more, this plan actually suggests that Kelowna’s cultural products and resources, coupled with innovative cultural district planning, will help Kelowna become a leader in cultural tourism in Canada.423 The development of a synergy between downtown areas, it is believed, will “make the Downtown a prime beneficiary of culture-related activities.”424 The results are twofold: on the one hand, the creation of leisure amenities and a cultural district would not only keep people in the downtown for longer periods of time, but also entice them to return more often.425 On the other hand, a reworking of all these areas according to capital’s desires, grants capital more control over the space itself, as well as its history. In this way downtown stakeholders and land entrepreneurs gain control over the area as well as its historical representation, especially with regulated and controlled spaces and scripted re-imagined activities.426 Moreover, capital gains control over the people within these newly minted spaces,427 in turn making the space enticing to capital all over again. Controlled spaces exude little ability for resistance to capital, but instead, in a Foucaultian manner, lull and coerce those within into (capital’s) compliance. Neoliberalization has affected the work of City Hall in very specific ways. First, confronted with new neoliberal financial reality, the city needs to develop new financing models and 421 Ibid., iv. 422 Ibid. 423 Ibid., 4. 424 City of Kelowna Planning Department and Urban Systems Ltd., Kelowna Downtown: a People Place, v. 425 Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd. in association with AMS Planning and Research, Gryphos Land Use Planning Corp., Dennis McGuire, Steven Thorne, Scott Fraser, and Quoin Project and Cost Management, Cultural District Implementation Strategy and Marketing Plan; City of Kelowna, Inner City Shore Zone Concept Plan; City of Kelowna, Kelowna Downtown: a People Place. 426 Zukin, Loft Living. 427 Molotch, Strategies and Constraints of Growth Elites. 98 philosophies,428 while remaining within the legal parameters of the Municipal Act, which authorizes and regulates the financing of municipal services.429 One of the features of neoliberal times is that government funding is curtailed, thus not only dispersed sparingly, but also awarded to applicants after competition. In other words, cities are forced to simultaneously entice capital while competing with other cities for resources. In order to attract funds, the city strives to present itself as worthy of investment and willing to bear risk. An entrepreneurial climate is fostered and exemplified by the willingness to engage in new projects with developers, enter into public-private sector financing ventures and assist new growth.430 A shift in the City’s financing philosophy is seen in the Strategic Plan’s discussion on taxpayer’s subsidies for growth. The plan suggests there is a “willingness to subsidize new growth by paying for interest charges on DCC [development cost charges431] projects, [altering the] extent of the assist factor (the share born by the taxpayer)” 432 to allow that the public contribute more funds. This effectively remodels the level of risk that can be carried by the public, increasing risk allowance. A transformation of the financing philosophy that advocates the public embrace risk supports capital’s needs. In fact, an increased willingness to welcome risk is fundamental to neoliberalisms’ success433 and the legitimating of a casino economy.434 In short, risk that is offloaded to the public is risk diverted from capital. However, in an effort to mediate risks assumed by the citizens of Kelowna, the City promises an attempt at staging growth and 428 City of Kelowna, Choosing our Future, Draft Strategic Plan, Part 4, Section 5, 1. 429 Idem. 430 Ibid., Part 4, Section 5, 2. 431 Development Cost Charges are development costs that arise or derive indirectly from the development project. For example, a new development places additional strain on the existing infrastructure when new residents drive on existing roads, etc. Leung, Land Use Planning Made Plain. 432 Ibid., Part 3, Section 5, 1-2. 433 Bourdieu, Firing Back; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism; Sennett, Der Flexible Mensch. 434 Harvey A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 99 development “so that the City does not overextend itself by servicing too many new urban growth areas” at any one time, because “a less rigorous phasing of development results in increased risk to the City and increases the [public’s] subsidies to new growth.”435 The other plans also echo the new financing mentality. The Downtown Plan calls for increased private investment, inviting capital particularly through real estate development opportunities. 436 To welcome capital investment into the downtown, constraints to private investment opportunities are to be eliminated.437 Likewise, the Shore Zone Plan calls for donations, (corporate) sponsorships, as well as partnerships in funding of day-to-day activities and maintenance, in addition to taxation funding and development-driven methods.438 While calls for financial support rely on more diversified strategies, funding models inviting capital’s participation stem from the private sector. In fact, the plan proclaims that interest exists from the private sector to develop along Okanagan Lake. To conclude, these planning documents address the importance of private capital investment in city planning, thus exemplifying that partnership with capital is essential in neoliberal climates. Second, arising from the new financial reality, the city is forced to build new relationships with capital. While the city attempts to lure and trap capital into its urban realm, the planning process must remain open to capital’s needs and desires. In the Strategic Plan the City cites a Citizen Survey439conducted in 1991, where Kelownians expressed that higher urban 435City of Kelowna, Choosing our Future, Draft Strategic Plan, Part 4, Section 5, 2. 436 City of Kelowna and Urban Systems Ltd., Kelowna Downtown: a People Place, 37. 437 Ibid. 438 Development driven methods can include development cost charges, parkland dedication (where a developer dedicates land for a park, and in exchange receives credit for the neighbourhood park component of the Development Cost Charge) or density bonusing (where the municipal government can provide density bonuses in exchange for the conservation or provision of amenities). 439 City of Kelowna, Choosing our Future, Draft Strategic Plan, Part 1, 3. 100 densities are more desirable than the concretization of agricultural lands.440 Building in existing urban areas was seen as the lesser evil. Simultaneously survey respondents made it clear that they did not want new growth to happen in the downtown vicinity. Developers, on the contrary, wanted to build exactly in the downtown, where the limited land base yields higher returns, and where during “periods of rapidly rising land prices speculative activity increases.”441 For developers and other stakeholders from the real estate and development industry the downtown was more desirable. The City supported them with planning methods based on urban infill and densification. Despite public reluctance to develop a compact urban form, the City deems this strategy best for the creation of new real estate.442 Thus, examining the four planning documents, it becomes evident that economic stimulation is the modus operandi: the Downtown Kelowna Plan calls for “business enhancement and economic development,”443 whereas the Cultural District Plan444 advocates for the creation of a culture economy.445 In line with the prevailing logic, the Shore Zone Plan calls for a revitalization and rejuvenation of the waterfront through a sustained celebration of (past) commercial activity along the Okanagan Lake’s shore line.446 The belief that only economic stimulation is the best programme for urban planning echoes the neoliberal theoretical assumption that cities operate best according to market principles,447 and that economic investment heralds long-term benefits. 440 Ibid., Part 4, Section 1, 5. 441 Barke, Morphogenesis, Fringe-Belts and Urban Size, 286. 442 City of Kelowna, Choosing our Future, Draft Strategic Plan, Part 4, Section 1, 6. 443 City of Kelowna and Urban Systems Ltd., Kelowna Downtown: a People Place, iii. 444 Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd. in association with AMS Planning and Research, Gryphos Land Use Planning Corp., Dennis McGuire, Steven Thorne, Scott Fraser, and Quoin Project and Cost Management, Cultural District Implementation Strategy and Marketing Plan 445 Zukin, The Cultures of Cities. 446 City of Kelowna, Inner City Shore Zone Concept Plan. 447 Carroll, Corporate Power in a Globalizing World. 101 (In)formal proposals tell City managers and Council where capital’s investment willingness is greatest.448 In general, city plans and strategies must remain profitable for capital; otherwise capital has little investment incentive. There are three possible strategies to entice capital. First, the City grants capital decision making powers in its urban planning process, for example, by inviting land entrepreneurs onto City taskforces.449 To illustrate, the Downtown Plan was compiled with help from the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee, which included (executive) members from the EDC, the DKA, the Chamber and the UDI.450 Second, the City hires land entrepreneurs as experts for urban development questions, as happened very recently, when Vancouver developer Graham McGarva advised the Downtown Centre Strategy Task Force in matters relating to comprehensive large-scale downtown redevelopment. And third, allowing land developers to pay for redevelopment feasibility studies. This happened when Council unanimously adopted that Westcorp Development could commission a report for $200,000.00 to establish how the Okanagan Lake waterfront could be developed, even though the companies’ properties are located in the study area.451 The entire time, however, the City needs to bridge the requests of capital with its own public responsibilities. This is a difficult process, as the public’s and capital’s interests often conflict with each other. The City has to entice capital, for example with subsidies, whereas the public needs protection from capital’s exploitative pursuits. What is more, during the bargaining process between the City and capital, decision making powers are granted to capital that the 448 One example of an informal proposal from a land owner comes in the form of an Area Structure Plan, as I discuss in more detail later in this chapter. The ASP allows a large scale land owner to present a proposal that describes the development of his land including the surrounding areas to the City. 449 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 450 City of Kelowna and Urban Systems, Kelowna Downtown: a People Place, i. 451 Jennifer Smith and Adrian Niecozym, “Private Sector Given a Shot”, Kelowna Capital News, August 22, 2007; Darcy Nybo, “Summertime in Kelowna Where the Hottest Thing is Condo Development,” Business Examiner, September 4, 2007, 39/Summertime-in-Kelowna-where- the-hottest-thing-is-condo-development.php (accessed February 17, 2009). 102 public misses. To illustrate, City taskforces have a limited membership and filling seats with land entrepreneurs and downtown stakeholders limits seat availability to the general public. Examining the 2006 Downtown Plan Advisory Committee Taskforce membership, it becomes evident that out of fourteen members there was one City manager, one person from the EDC, one from the Chamber, one from the UDI, but six from the DKA. What is more, I recognize two names of downtown land developers.452 There is only one public representative, a member of the South Central Neighbourhood Association. Not one person is identified as a member of the general public!453 In this fashion, capital occupies many seats and as a result is granted more voices and decision making power than the public. In sum, the City invites proposals for (re)development projects with developer-friendly zoning and bylaw ordinances, and generally welcomes any kind of development. 454 Coupled with simple bureaucratic structures, as I discuss later, developers are invited to present proposals for augmentation of the urban built environment without many hurdles, while the City attempts to secure potential development projects. Third, the city is forced to actively sell and commodify itself, or in other words presents itself as an investment opportunity. Capital and land entrepreneurs455 (local large-scale land owners and stakeholders) are tempted with possibilities of new markets. Possible redevelopment projects, such as high rises, flagship developments (e.g. arenas), and large scale infrastructure redevelopment projects are beckoning and help fabricate speculative markets in anticipation of what is to come in the future. Often “the scale of building projects […] increase[s] with urban 452 City of Kelowna and Urban Systems Ltd., Kelowna Downtown: a People Place, i. Dale Knowlan is the Executive Director of the Canada Lands Company Ltd., who develops a 10 acre parcel in Kelowna’s North End and Lindsay Webster is a downtown landowner and developer. 453 Fuller, Restructuring Government in BC. 454 Personal conversation with City of Kelowna Planner Nelson Wight March 10, 2006. 455 Molotch, Strategies and Constraints of Growth Elites. 103 size,” 456 suggesting developers’ visions push city growth. Helpful for land entrepreneurs are planning regulations that allow land assemblies, the trade of lands with the City, as well as negotiations on development cost charges. These rules can act as incentives for land entrepreneurs to bring development proposals forward. Actually, the City takes an active role in the creation of the real estate market, choosing where to allow development and where to stall it. Here the City takes on a dual, but very conflicting role. On the one hand it facilitates developer driven developments, granting permits to developer’s requests but, on the other hand, at times, stages development, or in other words regulates the speed of development. The City stages development for two reasons: first, to not overextend itself by developing in too many areas at any one time and, second, to minimize the public’s risk as a lender of public funds to developers.457 This is the so-called assist factor, meaning the portion of cost carried by the taxpayer, where the City finances and borrows money when entering into partnerships with developers.458 Under this planning strategy a deflated market does not bring revenues, but a boom market allows the City to profit. In order to make profit, the City must regulate the market so as to earn fees levied from developers for development cost charges, but developers reap huge profits from their development projects. In the end, while the City makes some profit, developers earn exponentially more. 459 The result is twofold: the City helps capital accumulate profit while granting capital increasing influence in planning matters. The last example addresses a flexibilization of urban planning, where flexible and open- 456 Barke, Morphogenesis, Fringe-Belts and Urban Size, 285. 457 City of Kelowna, Choosing our Future, Draft Strategic Plan, Part 4, Section 1, 12. 458 Ibid. 459 Ibid., Part 4, Section 1, 13. 104 ended policies comprise the new strategies and plans. Neoliberal markets work best in deregulated environments, where the market can change quickly, not hindered by long-term investments that stifle capital’s mobility. Investment in the urban built environment presents a challenge for capital, because capital becomes trapped and embedded460 since investments in land and real estate are often long-term and therefore immobile. Unregulated markets are most beneficial for capital, keeping capital mobile, movable at a moment’s notice, rather unrestricted.461 In order to grant capital the same abilities in urban planning, flexibility must to be incorporated into planning and its policies. Flexibility is introduced as beneficial, a necessity to reach a plan’s goals. For example, the Downtown Plan advocates for a zoning that is flexible and open-ended, to create zoning as needed. To exemplify, a future development proposal lies beyond the realm of existing possibilities, but with a flexible and open-ended zoning approach, a new zone that suits the needs of the project can be created. Or another example, the Shore Zone Plan also calls for flexibility. “The intent […] is to be flexible so that implementation can take place, over time, in response to market conditions, public interest, availability of public and/or private funding and any yet-to-be-identified opportunities.” While strategies that advocate open-endedness and flexibility in planning are explained as beneficial to the public and as necessary for urban development success, in truth they allow the City to respond quickly to land entrepreneurs’ and capital’s requests and conditions. Moreover, flexibility introduces an element of precarity into urban planning, where plans become less specific in their strategies and goal. Instead, a plan becomes project oriented where the goal can be realized in a variety of ways,462 and where capturing the potential of the market becomes 460 David Harvey, Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography (New York: Routledge, 2001). 461 Harris, Globalisation and the Technological Transformation of Capitalism. 462 Hartmut Häußerman und Katja Simons, “Facing Fiscal Crisis: Urban Flagship Projects in Berlin,” in Frank Moulaert, ArantxaRodriguez, and Erik Swyngedouw (Eds), The Globalized City: Economic Restructuring and Social Polarization in European Cities (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 107-24. 105 imperative to the plan’s success. Furthermore, flexibility between plans allows the City to attempt a synergy between plan areas, as well as the creation of an entrepreneurial opportunistic climate. Most importantly, capital benefits from a more flexible climate, because the state has less control over capital and ergo less ability to discipline capital.463 In that sense, neoliberal urban planning becomes less sensitive to local needs,464 but increasingly sensitive to capital’s needs. Overall, neoliberalism has permeated and changed urban planning in essential ways. Responsibilities have been offloaded onto municipal governments, which, in order to cope, have adopted new creative measures for funding, financing and planning. Governance-capital relations have been reworked, and urban planning strategies now incorporate neoliberal tenets, such as privatization and deregulation. These reworked capital and city relations have been legitimated through planning documents, and the results are seen in city planning and the overall regulation of the urban built environment, as I discuss next. 5.3 REGULATION OF THE URBAN BUILT ENVIRONMENT The urban built environment is a reflection of the social, economic, political and legal interactions between citizens, special interest groups and bureaucratic structures, and their resulting socio-spatial dialectic. 465 Governance structures influence this socio-spatial dialectic through regulation and legitimating. A city is regulated through the municipality, or local state, “making for a complex and sometimes contradictory framework of legal spaces that are 463 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 464 Häußerman und Simons, Facing Fiscal Crisis. 465 Knox and Pinch, Urban Social Geography. 106 superimposed in, and interpenetrated with, the social spaces of the city.” 466 Here I explain the development application process, demonstrating how development applications travel through the City’s bureaucracy. I bring to light interactions between developers and staff from the City’s Planning Department. I show an example of how planning tools, in this case concessions and incentives, are used to promote the interests of capital as well as the real estate and development industry. I elucidate how cities can use planning tools such as concessions (exalting a special compromise in the interest of the community from a developer in return for development approval) or incentives (offering special development conditions to entice development in certain areas) to regulate capital. I argue that capital’s interests are promoted, while the stream of development applications is regulated. It will become clear that the City aggressively courts capital, especially whilst offering concessions to entice development and real estate capital. At the local level, the City is governed by an elected Council (the Mayor and eight Councilors), all of whom serve three years terms, representing the city at large. 467 Kelowna’s Council relies on the BC Community Charter and the Local Government Act to establish policies regarding the city’s population growth, development and operation. 468 The City operates under a council-manager system, where administrative responsibilities of departments rests with the City Manager, who in turn oversees six City departments: Corporate Services; Financial Services; Planning and Development Services; Recreation, Parks & Cultural Services; Works and Utilities; and Human Resources. 469 Council is legislated to operate on a balanced budget, 470 placing fiscal 466 Ibid., 133. 467 City of Kelowna, “City Council 2005-2008,” (accessed September 19, 2008). 468 Ibid. 469 Ibid. 470 Ibid. 107 constraints on city governance. Formally, the City and its urban realm are regulated by a hierarchy of planning documents, as seen in Illustration 5.3.1: The City of Kelowna Hierarchy of Community Planning Documents, on the next page. Illustration 5.3.1: The City of Kelowna, Hierarchy of Community Planning Documents. Source: City of Kelowna, Official Community Plan: Kelowna: Planning our Future, Chapter 1, 3. Reprinted with Permission. with the Official Community Plan (OCP) being the most important plan. The next significant plan is the Sector Plan, followed by the Area/Neighbourhood Structure Plan. They are legitimated once adopted and endorsed by Council, the local government body. Overall, plans reflect the social order of the envisioned future city, as arranged in a spatial structure,471 because combined these plans, bylaws, agreements and permits influence the nature and direction of a city’s planning activities, as well as the form and shape of the resulting urban built environment. 471 Leung, Land Use Planning Made Plain. 108 As stated, the OCP is the most important planning document since it presents a comprehensive statement of the larger goals of a city’s community planning programme, setting the direction of the city’s growth and development with its long-term vision, “defin[ing] policies for land use and development.” 472 In 1995 the City envisioned the downtown as a place where heterogeneous populations could come together in a variety of activities, in the city centre, a “vibrant, amenity-rich area wherein different land uses frequently occur within the same building and almost always occur within any given one-block area.” As such the area was to “contain a variety of housing types, the presence of which contributes to social diversity. [Downtown areas] are highly urbanized, […] a primary tourist and entertainment draw.”473 It was hoped tourists and locals alike would continually be drawn to the downtown and its amenities, helping the downtown remain Kelowna’s primary474 landscape of consumption.475 More specific, all the OCP’s goals are to provide a policy framework for Council, 476 allowing for the regulation of Kelowna’s urban built environment for current and future citizens, addressing issues of housing, environmental protection, economic development, transportation, infrastructure and land use. 477 Its policies specify how the urban built environment may be utilized and (re)developed. For example, the housing bylaw of the OCP stipulates, through its zoning, what kind of housing can be built and in what location. In that sense, the OCP has a very specific focus; it is the “statement of 472 City of Kelowna, “Frequently Asked Questions,” page_num=4 (accessed September 15, 2008). 473 City of Kelowna, Official Community Plan: Kelowna: Planning our Future, Definitions, 3 (Revised edition March 5, 2002). 474 Other town centers began to establish in Kelowna, for example in the Mission, Glenmore and Rutland. 475 Mitchell, Cultural Geography. 476 City of Kelowna, Official Community Plan, (accessed September 22, 2008). 477 Ibid. 109 objectives and policies to guide decisions on planning and land use management.” 478 Moreover, the OCP is statutory with far-reaching implications, stipulating parameters to other planning documents, policies and municipal regulations, which must always be in accordance with the OCP upon council’s adoption. The OCP is created by city planners in collaboration with elected officials, staff, and city stakeholders, with some provisions for some public input from residents. 479 For example, in preparation for the current 2008/2009 OCP review Kelowna 2030: Greening our Future public input was facilitated through open houses, surveys and an invitation of written submissions to the Planning Department. 480 Typically, an OCP is reviewed and amended in five year intervals, to reflect changes and trends in the city, attempting to ensure that current community needs continue to be met. 481 Since the city’s incorporation in 1905, 482 there have been five OCPs. The first one, Bylaw 740, was the first attempt to regulate the growth of the city. It was adopted by Council in 1938. This bylaw was replaced by Bylaw 2293, adopted in 1961, which emphasized the goal to “guide the natural growth of the city in a systematic and orderly way for the ultimate benefit of the community as a whole.”483 The next amendment came in 1972, when Bylaw 3500 was adopted. This bylaw was amended again only shortly thereafter in 1976 with Bylaw 4500, to deal with pressures arising from the amalgamation of outlying areas in 1972.484 The subsequent amendment came in 1995, 478 City of Kelowna, “Frequently Asked Questions.” 479 Ibid. 480 City of Kelowna, “Kelowna 2030: Greening our Future,” (accessed September 23, 2008). 481 City of Kelowna, “Official Community Plan,” (accessed September 22, 2008). 482 Frank Morgan Buckland, Ogopogo’s Vigil: a History of Kelowna and the Okanagan (Okanagan Historical Society: Kelowna Branch, 1966). 483 City of Kelowna, “Purpose,” Official Community Plan,. Bylaw 2293, (1961), 3. 484 Momer, The Small Town that Grew and Grew and …, 66. 110 when the Kelowna 2020- Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 7600 was adopted. This bylaw represented a turning point, adopting a new direction: the “commitment to direct future population growth to our pedestrian friendly Urban Town centres” 485 with the intent to increase population density there. This bylaw received yet another major update in 2002, when “Future Land Use, Road Network and Financing chapters and mapping were reviewed. [These changes were approved] by Council on January 2004.” 486 Moreover, in the past few years Council has passed amendments to the OCP, often in the form of developer’s rezoning requests. For example, a developer wishes to re-zone a specific property to allow for a larger building, even though the current zoning does not permit this. This “spot” rezoning request presents an attempt to break the zoning of the area, because this request sets a precedent for further rezoning attempts. Council’s approval authorizes the developer to alter the neighbourhood’s character by constructing bigger and/or higher buildings, just as Council opens the door for further applications of this nature. In fact, re-zoning allowing for high-rises has been approved by Council not only for the downtown, but also for other areas in the city. Indeed, there have been instances where one approved rezoning application was subsequently followed by a wave of rezoning and redevelopment applications. Evidence of this trend is found in downtown side streets, where large apartment complexes butt up to small single family dwellings. Further examples are found in the fact that entire blocks of single family residences have vanished to make way for apartment and condo buildings, for example on Richter Street, where the developer of the Martin Lofts assembled three properties to make way 485 The Real Estate Foundation of BC, “Community Revitalization Strategies in B.C., City of Kelowna,” (accessed September 16, 2008). 486 City of Kelowna, “Official Community Plan,” (accessed September 15, 2008). 111 for 41 lofts,487 that dwarf the single family residence next door, as seen in Illustration 5.3.2: Martin Lofts below. Illustration 5.3.2: Martin Lofts. Source: Photo taken by Tina Marten (February 2009). Another example is on Leon Avenue, where five properties were razed to make room for a new condominium complex. In a very short period of time, entire blocks, even neighborhoods, have been altered and changed. The link between the OCP and the Area/Neighborhood Structure Plan is the Sector Plan. A Sector Plan regulates with the future development of an area. Its main foci are the “essential services and facilities, land uses, transportation systems, population density and sequencing of development [with] full consideration […] given to the costs and benefits of various actions upon 487 Martin Lofts, “Home,” (accessed December 5, 2008). 112 the present and future social, economic and environmental fabric of the area.” 488 In other words, these plans intend to anticipate how development could impact infrastructure and existing development. Sector plans are compiled by City staff, but Council endorses their “future land use component and any relevant policy wording that has city-wide implication.” 489 They are adopted into the OCP after a bylaw and public hearing. Conversely, Area Structure Plans (ASP), also called Neighbourhood Structure Plans, are prepared by land entrepreneurs for ”areas identified in the Official Community Plan as ASP areas, or for areas where the proponent is contemplating a proposal which does not conform to the purpose and intent of the Official Community Plan; and is of sufficient magnitude in terms of population, units of development, servicing constraints, social impact or economic burden on the municipality; or in Council’s view may affect adjacent properties, land uses or the natural environment; or in Council’s view may be affected by hazardous conditions; or in Council’s view may affect municipal heritage sites, or a revitalization area; and such other matters as may be required, unique to the plan area under consideration.” 490 Areas calling for ASP’s are either outlined in the OCP or authorized by resolution of Council, meaning that land entrepreneurs can either address council for permission to prepare an ASP, 491 or they can wait until they are approached by the City. 492 Overall, a plan of this nature must work towards the objectives and policies stated in the OCP, however the ASP itself is not statutory. Currently, Council will only consider approving an ASP that has provisions for an urban centre, including a road network with compliant land use designations. An ASP can only be adopted as an OCP amendment following a public hearing, and upon Council’s approval. 488 City of Kelowna, “Sector Plans,” (accessed September 21, 2008). 489 Ibid. 490 City of Kelowna, “Area Structure Plans,” (accessed September 22, 2008). 491 Stantec Consulting Ltd., Downtown North Area Structure Plan. 492 City of Kelowna, Kelowna 2020-Official Community Plan, Chapter 19 Future Land Uses, 19-5. (Revised edition February 3, 2003). 113 In general, ASPs provide an inventory of existing conditions for a specific area. In 2003 there were eleven areas in Kelowna where ASP’s were anticipated. 493 Potential developers use the ASP to make a statement of development objectives and policies, while identifying major land uses by type and density. 494 In their ASP, developers must list the general location of existing and proposed transportation networks, as well as record information on the natural environment of the area. In addition, they must identify major institutional facilities and their need, as well information on the location and type of development permit areas. Overall, the ASP explains associated influences on future development for the specific ASP area, albeit according to a developer’s vision. ASPs are powerful tools since they allow land entrepreneurs to express their specific vision for an area. This invitation from the City elicits the entrepreneur’s reality and turns it into a guiding vision for the entire area. Even though property owners in areas affected by the ASP are allowed to provide input and comment during the ASP creation, often their ideas are secondary. Zoning ordinances regulate density and bulk for a property, stipulating land use capacity and regulating land use. In general, zoning can either be comprehensive, for the entire city, or area specific. Often a city has both: one area is governed by a Comprehensive Development Zone whereas another is area specific. “Zoning is law,”495 conferred upon the municipal government by the provincial government, and it governs “all new constructions and changes in use.” 496 Commonly there are residential, commercial and industrial zones, and at times other 493 Ibid. 494 City of Kelowna, “Area Sector Plans,” (accessed September 22, 2008). 495 Leung, Land Use Planning Made Plain, 221. 496 Idem. 114 zoning sub-categories. 497 Kelowna currently has 6 zones: residential, commercial, agricultural, institutional, and industrial, as well as water zones. However, each of these zones is regulated independently and the OCP guides future zoning changes. 498 Since a zoning bylaw stipulates specific use for a specific property, it can steer development either into an inclusionary or exclusionary direction. For example, regulating that a house must be a certain size is exclusionary to those who cannot afford to build a house that size. There is the danger that zoning is used “for dubious purposes such as [the] protection of the socioeconomic states of an area or [for] discouragements of certain kinds of development.” 499 At the same time that zoning benefits select groups, the greater public is also protected by specific detailed and comprehensive zoning bylaws, since land entrepreneurs and the development community are also stifled and restricted by this specificity. 500 Servicing agreements regulate specific servicing requirement for certain areas. Using the example of subdivisions, servicing agreements stipulate regulations for road and public utilities provisions. In general, they are based on subdivision, development and servicing bylaws. 501 The development permit is more specific, regulating aspects of a building itself. As such it regulates the position of the building on the lot, the buildings size, form and exterior, as well as surrounding landscape. Development permit applications are negotiated between the City (planning department) and the developer, a process that can be lengthy at times if variances (changes to existing zoning) or rezoning (changing the zoning, for example to allow for larger 497 Ibid. 498 For more information on zoning bylaws and their purpose see the Kelowna 2020 – Official Community Plan, chapter 1, 4. 499 Leung, Land Use Planning Made Plain, 218. 500 Idem. 501 For more information on servicing agreements see the Kelowna 2020 – Official Community Plan, chapter 1, 4. 115 buildings) are necessary for the project. In general, a development permit is a planning tool, especially since a city can offer incentives to elicit proposals of a certain nature or exact concessions in return for approving less desirable proposals. Overall, granted development permits provide guidelines for the development project while simultaneously attempting to protect existing infrastructure and the natural environment. They are regulated by the OCP. Generally, a permit is only granted if the objectives of the project comply with the OCP, or if Council approves the project 502 in a piece meal fashion. The last mention here goes to the building permit, which is the permit needed to erect, alter or extend an existing structure. This permit is only granted by the planning department when all the other requirements have been met, and the developer has proven to the City’s Planning Department that he is in compliance. 503 While the aforementioned explains the hierarchical order of planning documents and how planning visions are legitimated through the bureaucracy of the Planning Department, the bureaucratic journey of a development permit can differ. I have established that, officially, development applications are made by a developer or a development company to the City‘s Planning Department. However and as already mentioned briefly, there are informal meetings between interested parties, land entrepreneurs and/or developers, and senior city management, prior to the actual submission of the development application. One interviewee explains, “As for applications, regardless of where they are in the city, we strongly encourage the applicant to come and sit down with us and have what we call a pre-application meeting. And that can be simply a discussion. They might have plans, some preliminary plans that they want us to look at, or they could be just looking at an area of town. It does not really matter, we will sit down with them and look at what they are trying to 502 For more information on development permits see the Kelowna 2020 – Official Community Plan, chapter 1, 5. 503 Ibid. 116 achieve, based on the plans for the area, the zoning, the type of building it is. It is almost like a sore thumb exercise: we will point out what some of the significant challenges are that they might have in developing their project. We tell them where we think they should be pushing based on our policy design deadlines. We will mention any applicable incentive programs that may be available.” 504 In truth, developers and the city negotiate prior to a formal application being made. “So before they [the developer] get a formal application in, and the clock starts ticking, they will have a chance to refine their development plan. We can have two or three of these pre-application meetings if they want to refine their ideal project a little further.”505 This application is only filed once there is agreement between the developer and the Planning Department. It has been suggested this way the City saves on paperwork, and avoids continual amendments to the ongoing development application process.506 However, I see this process as problematic, especially since it is not possible to view records from these meetings: partially due to privacy issues,507 and partially due to the fact that one cannot access development projects that have not been entered into the computer system. They are simply not official records yet. That raises another serious question: How is accountability ensured in government officials and development and real estate industry relations, if negotiations are conducted without official records? Further, from my research it emerged that it is impossible to find out who attended meetings, what was discussed during those meetings and, ergo, what compromises and/or promises were made. Only once the application is recorded into the system, the applicant and his/her attempts to alter the urban built environment become ‘official,’ but even then the City does not release much information, citing issues of confidentiality.508 Generally, the public is only informed of a pending development application, once the application goes to a public 504 Interview One. 505 Ibid. 506 Interview Twelve. 507 Interview One. 508 Interview Eight. 117 council hearing, and that hearing is advertised on billboards on the respective property, as well as local community newspapers, and on upcoming council meeting agenda. City planning and development negotiations can be influenced by a city’s incentives and concessions, 509 since these present valuable planning tools for a city to steer and influence development. In offering incentives or exalting concessions, a city’s planning department uses its power to negotiate development, not only to directly influence the pace of development in a particular area of the city, but also by steering the form and character of development. “The power to control development has […] given governments the leverage to ‘exact’ certain concessions from developers in the community’s interest.” 510 To exemplify, concessions are made by a developer to a city during negotiations for development application approval. For example, in Vancouver, the Westbank Project Corporation 511 has made concessions in the form of 75,000 trees (to be planted somewhere in BC forests), a public sculpture garden, and the restoration of the 1909 Coastal Church (located next to the proposed development), as well as bestowing $2.3 million to the city’s affordable-housing fund, 512 in return for development approval from the City of Vancouver to be allowed to build a highrise at their desired location. Thus, the developer and the city have negotiated on a ‘price’ that the developer must pay in order to be allowed to develop that project in that location. In contrast, if there are areas that are not developing fast enough, then a city may use 509 Leung, Land Use Planning Made Plain. 510 Ibid., 225. 511 Skyscraper City, “Living Shangri La,“ (accessed September 28, 2008). 512 Mike Howell, “Architects Shangri-La in the Clouds,” Vancouver Courier, March 6, 2005 (Final Edition). 118 incentives for developers to entice development. As Architect HL Leung explains, “communities […] offer incentives, such as use and density bonus, favourable tax assessment, and provision of services to entice certain types of development.” 513 The City of Kelowna offers a number of incentives to entice development, such as negotiations on development cost and off-site charges, on-site parking requirements, cash-in-lieu charges, municipal taxation, permit fees, and the permit-approval process.514 In addition, it uses tax incentives. One such revitalization tax incentive area is located right in the heart of downtown, including Leon and Lawrence Avenues, as can be seen in the small black square-like shape on the left bottom corner of Illustration 5.3.3: Downtown Tax Incentive Area.515 513 Leung, Land Use Planning Made Plain, 225. 514 City of Kelowna, “Developer Incentives,” (accessed January 5, 2009). 515 City of Kelowna, “Bylaw 9630: A Bylaw to Designate Tax Incentive (Revitalization) Areas in Bylaw No. 7600 Kelowna 2020 – Official Community Plan,” previous%20years/council%20meetings%202006/2006-06-12/item%203.5(b)%20bl9630%20-%20ocp06-0013%20- %20to%20designate%20tax%20incentive%20areas.pdf (accessed October 6, 2008). 119 Illustration 5.3.3: Downtown Tax Incentive Area. Source: Map created by Tina Marten (2009). Redevelopment in those downtown areas has not been successful, however, and in order to entice redevelopment, highrise zoning was adopted in 1996. 516 Nonetheless, despite the offering of incentives while exacting no concessions, to date no redevelopment has taken place there, a situation that warrants further examination and analysis, as I do in the following chapter. Exacting concessions from developers should help planning departments ensure that 516 Interview One. 120 planning is conducted in accordance with statutory governing documents, such as Kelowna’s OCP. This, amongst the goals for Kelowna, establishes that the pattern of development must not have concentrated condominiums in the downtown, because a “full range of housing types, densities, sizes and prices/rents”517 must be built. In reality, however, most developments approved are not in accordance with the OCP as seen in the City of Kelowna Development Statistics. Even though all housing markets are to be represented, it appears that the city does not enforce its own policies. Consistently, over the past six years, the newest type of housing built in the downtown, have mostly been condominiums, while elsewhere they have been single detached and row/townhouse units. 518 Indeed, land entrepreneurs take advantage of the fact that the City does not have an inclusionary housing bylaw, where a specific percentage of all newly constructed housing would have to be, and remain, non-market housing. As one interviewee explains, ”we are building upscale high-end homes.”519 Instead of ensuring affordable housing being mandatory in each new development, the City offers incentives to developers to entice even more luxury highrise developments downtown. The overall result of this lack of inclusionary planning is a growing disparity in the housing market. 520 Concessions seem to be inadequate tools to force developers to build affordable housing. In fact, they play no role, as one of the interviewees explains: “None, not beyond general design parameters.” 521 Clearly, in 517 City of Kelowna, “Official Community Plan: Goals for Kelowna,” Section I, 6. 518 City of Kelowna Planning and Development Services, 2007 Development Statistics (February 2008), 16. 519 Interview Four. 520 Recently Kelowna has been proclaimed as the 13th most expensive city to live in, in a comparison of major urban markets in the countries of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the Republic of Ireland, The United States and the United Kingdom. According to the Fourth Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2008, in Kelowna the median house price is $446,300, whereas the median household income is $52,200. That results in a rating of 8.5, meaning the house price is 8.5 times more than the income. (accessed March. 20, 2008). 521 Interview Eight. The City of Kelowna tries to stem speculation and buying houses for vacation rentals through the actual design of the unit. “What we are trying to do, is trying to work with proponents when they come 121 Kelowna development practices are not regulated by social planning imperatives, where concessions are exacted from developers in return for development approval, instead members of the real estate and development industry apply to redevelop the urban built environment as they see fit without having to make amends to the greater community. In fact, the City has created a proactive climate for the real estate and development industry, where “concessions occur [at times] as part of […] growth maneuvering, not in opposition to it.”522 5.4 CONCLUSION The neoliberalization of Kelowna’s urban built environment began in the 1990s as land entrepreneurs spent considerable time and energy preparing the city for a transformation. Through carefully concerted efforts that required much political will, the City was prepared for neoliberalism in part through the neoliberalization of the housing market. As relations with the local state were reworked, land entrepreneurs and capital became increasingly influential in the planning process. Capital’s relations with the City changed as privatization and deregulation restructured and reworked Canadian levels of government, downloading responsibilities from the federal level to the provincial level and from the provincial level to the municipal level. As the City was forced to deal with its new set of responsibilities, it developed new financial strategies and governance models to deal with its new realities. The City’s attempts to lure capital, to entice it to the table proved challenging since neoliberal capital is mobile and disembedded, always seeking for larger profits. Throughout, however, the City became more receptive to capital, even its accomplice, while the public’s role and participation in urban planning was curtailed and shrinks. Other times in to try and design the unit so that they are being more appealing to a resident rather then purely a vacation home, a vacationer, or rental home. There are ways that you can design units to be more attractive to a resident owner.” 522 Molotch, Strategies and Constraints of Growth Elites, 7. 122 public needs are simply disregarded. Concessions, generally, are not exacted by the City. While this chapter has discussed the influence of land entrepreneurs and capital on the City and its planning process, it is just as important to examine how this entrepreneurial climate is created. The next chapter examines who in Kelowna has the ability to create a climate advantageous for neoliberalism and offers examples of how this is done. 123 CHAPTER SIX: NEOLIBERAL AGENTS OF CHANGE AT WORK: A CASE STUDY OF KELOWNA’S DOWNTOWN TRANSFORMATION 6.0 INTRODUCTION According to Molotch523 agents of change are members of special interest groups, for example land and real estate developers and entrepreneurs that attempt to create opportunistic environments for growth and development. In the current neoliberal era, agents of change challenge governments in preparation for neoliberalism. These agents purposefully manipulate economic, political, social and environmental realms to create fertile grounds for the development of neoliberal ventures. In doing so, they also act as gatekeepers of their areas of interests,524 controlling access to organizations and resources, as well as the distribution of resources, either through direct personal political involvement and lobbying, or through more indirect forms of involvement, like, for example, participating in taskforces and standing committees, and being involved in policy development. These strategies grant economic and political elites advantageous positions525 where the position they hold is “itself a scarce resource,” and where they are able to gain “wealth, flattery, influence, [while using] organization[al] resources.”526 Consequently, economic and political elites are able to create and maintain exclusive power networks essential for the reproduction of themselves as a class.527 In this chapter, I attempt to identify some of the major agents of change emerging in Kelowna in the last decade, paying attention to the groups that have been instrumental in changing the face of Kelowna’s downtown. Namely, I will analyze the role of the Downtown 523 Molotch, Strategies and Constraints of Growth Elites. 524 Knox and Pinch, Urban Social Geography. 525 Wellman, Network Analysis: Some Basic Principles. 526 Ibid., 177. 527 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 124 Kelowna Association (the DKA), the Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber), the Economic Development Commission (the EDC), the Urban Development Institute (the UDI) and the Canada Lands Company Ltd (the CLC). I study the role of these agencies in transforming the city’s build environment through facilitating the application of neoliberal policies in economic, social and cultural strategies. Methodologically, I discuss the urban built environment in two areas of Kelowna’s downtown that offer the most striking contrast in terms of motivated actions by Kelowna’s agents of change: a) Ellis Street and Sunset Drive, and b) the Leon Avenue and Lawrence Avenue area. While Ellis Street and Sunset Drive have been reconfigured with important intentional investments to be rapidly redeveloped with a number of luxury condominium towers and other enhancements, Leon and Lawrence Avenues, a few blocks away, being the most blighted and impoverished area in the downtown, has not seen any investments in decades; on the contrary, it has been the focus of antagonistic policies and actions towards the users of social services or other facilities existing in this area of the downtown. 6.1 KELOWNA’S AGENTS OF CHANGE One of the most instrumental agents in changing the face of Kelowna’s downtown is the Downtown Kelowna Association (DKA), which “began as a merchants’ group, a group of businesses and business owners.”528 In November of 1989, with an application to Council to have the downtown designated as a Business Improvement Area (BIA), the DKA was granted powers to improve and beautify the downtown business area.529 Legislating a BIA means that the 528 Interview Five. 529 A Business Improvement Area develops and undertakes programs and initiatives to improve a designated BIA area. Once an area is declared a BIA, it is legislated by BIA legislation, and its members are levied with a special charge which is then used to implement the chosen BIA strategies (for example, programs and initiatives that beautify the downtown and attract people there, public awareness campaigns, policing, economic attraction and retention programs). Business Improvement Areas of British Columbia, (accessed April 20, 2009). 125 City of Kelowna, on behalf of the DKA, levies taxes on all downtown properties (members’ fees are based on the total assessed value of the entire BIA), and provides these funds to the DKA in quarterly instalments. Furthermore, the DKA is financially supported from external funding sources from private/ DKA members and industry, for example the Insurance Company of British Columbia and Services Canada.530 The main goal of the DKA is to establish the downtown as the premier business centre of Kelowna,531 organizing initiatives that lure people to the downtown. Once there, potential customers are supposed to not only shop more, but also shop more often. To reach this goal the DKA conducts general area marketing with events that promote the downtown (for example through cultural activities like the annual concert series “Parks Alive!” in Kelowna’s parks), in addition to programs for economic development of the downtown and business retention.532 Although the DKA is presented as an organization concerned with improving public spaces in general, it is primarily concerned with its members’ interests.533 Funds collected are allocated to downtown promotions, to rework downtown space, as well as for funding private security. In fact, since 2001 the DKA provides a private security force in the downtown with the Downtown Patrol,534 an initiative that thrives to this day and enforces the neoliberal discourse behind the DKA. In addition, the DKA funds the Biz Patrol, another form of private police, where students are ‘disguised’ as ambassadors, also representing DKA interests on downtown 530 Interview Five. 531 Downtown Kelowna Association, “About us,” aboutus.html (accessed August 14, 2007). 532 Ibid. 533 Sharon Zukin, Loft Living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982). 534 Since May of 2001, patrollers control a 42-square block radius of downtown, Monday to Saturday from 9am to 10pm. They assist with “front line issues related to auto and commercial property crime, safety, hospitality and the social environment.” Downtown Kelowna Association, “Programs,” http://www. (accessed October 28, 2008). 126 streets. In uniforms, they police the downtown gently, assisting tourists and shoppers, and calling on the Downtown Patrol to control panhandlers and other ‘undesirables.’ In other words, in a neoliberal move the City has privatized the policing of the downtown to a group with an invested interest in protecting business, not the public. In addition, the DKA was also allowed by the City to create the Downtown Dumpster Removal Project535 -- a daily garbage pickup service.536 This is another example of neoliberalization,537 as the City, through claiming fiscal restraints, little by little privatizes public services and empowers business owners to control not only their private property but the public space as well.538 The DKA works closely with the City, urging its members to contribute to City matters on taskforces and standing committees, as well as other community boards. In fact, historically, DKA members have given input and voiced opinions for every major planning document,539 as well as held positions on numerous City taskforces and committees.540 In addition, its members regularly meet with City managers, members from the Chamber , the EDC, the UDI and other downtown stakeholders, such as the CLC, for business luncheons and other networking opportunities,541 “[i]f it is downtown related, nine times out of ten [the DKA] are invited.”542 535 Ibid. 536 Downtown Kelowna Association, “Programs,” http://www. downtownpatrol.html (accessed October 28, 2008). 537 Denis, “Government Can do Whatever it wants.” 538 Downtown Kelowna Association, “Programs,” downtownpatrol.html (accessed October 28, 2008). 539 Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd. in association with AMS Planning and Research, Gryphos Land Use Planning Corp., Dennis McGuire, Steven Thorne, Scott Fraser, and Quoin Project and Cost Management. Cultural District Implementation Strategy and Marketing Plan; City of Kelowna Planning Department and Urban Systems Ltd., Kelowna Downtown: a People Place; City of Kelowna, Inner City Shore Zone Concept Plan; City of Kelowna, Choosing our Future, Draft Strategic Plan. 540 For example, on community groups and boards, such as “Communities in Bloom” and “Partners for a Healthy Downtown.” At the municipal level on the Mayor’s Entertainment Taskforce, as well as partners with the Hotel Motel Association. Interview Three. 541 Interview Three. 542 Ibid; Wellman, Network Analysis. 127 Moreover, executive members have taken active roles promoting Kelowna nationally and globally as a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers,543 which is a global trade association of the shopping center industry.544 At those conventions, retail real estate opportunities are exchanged. “We will attend some trade shows and work with, really anybody, be it agents to private people looking to come into the downtown. … we can help make connections. A lot of what we do, I think, comes down to being a central hub and that we can help make connections on a number of fronts.”545 The DKA is a very well connected special interest group whose members are actively engaged in the creation and sustenance of an entrepreneurial neoliberal climate in the downtown. They support the privatisation of space, enforced through their private police, who protect the interests of the DKA and its members. They further voice opinions on city matters, for example the Official Community Plan.546 Its members sit in Council committees, overall, they are involved in all matters of the downtown, especially matters pertaining to the current neoliberal transformation. Whereas the DKA represents localized downtown business interest, the Chamber of Commerce’s (Chambers) 1630 members are dispersed throughout the city of Kelowna. In BC, the Kelowna Chamber is second only to the Vancouver Board of Trade (approximately 5000 members).547 Funded through annual membership dues, as well income generated from events and 543 Interview Three. 544 The International Council of Shopping Centers has more than 70,000 members in Canada, the US and 80 countries around the globe. For more information see International Council of Shopping Centers , “About,” (assessed February 18, 2009). 545 Interview Three. 546 City of Kelowna, “Official Community Plan Consultation,” council/policies/official%20community%20plan%20consultation%20-%20pol-296doc.pdf (accessed April 21, 2009). 547 Interview Three. 128 sponsorships, with a budget of roughly “half a million dollars every year,”548 the Chamber receives no government funding. The Chamber has been instrumental in shaping economic, political, cultural and social landscapes in Kelowna since its inception in 1906. It sees itself as a catalyst for a better business community with the “one prime reason for the chamber to exist - to do whatever is necessary to keep the local area’s economic condition at a level where businesses will “risk their resources in the community in the hope of making a profit.”549 The Chamber acknowledges its responsibility for Kelowna’s economic direction; in fact, it claims the latest growth and boom in Kelowna are, partially, a measure of its success.550 Many Chamber members believe that Kelowna holds a special spirit, as former BC Premier Bill Bennett echoes at the Chamber’s Centennial Dinner: “there has always been an entrepreneurial, community spirit that has beat just a little stronger here in Kelowna…here in the heart of British Columbia…a spirit that has always made Kelowna a good place to open a business and to raise a family.”551 This entrepreneurial spirit is carefully created and nurtured by past and present Chamber members, many of whom belong to the local political and economic elites. Chamber members have been and continue to present a powerful lobby, being simultaneously involved in the economic and political realm, often holding more than one influential position, while at times straddling both realms. For example, there have been several politically active Chamber presidents two even became BC Premiers: W.A.C. Bennett (Chamber president from 1937-1938 and the BC premier from 1952-1972) and his son Bill Bennett (Chamber president in 1966 and the BC premier from 1975-1985). Also, Grote Stirling became a Member of Parliament (as Conservative Party member of the 1920s for the Yale 548 Ibid. 549 Ibid. 550 Ibid. 551 Bill Bennett, Speaking Notes Centennial Dinner, June 2006. uploads/news_june06.pdf (accessed August 28, 2007). 129 Constituency (which included the Okanagan Valley),552 and local residents J.W. Jones and Larry Chalmers were elected to the Provincial legislature.553 In addition, six Chamber presidents served as Mayor for Kelowna: D.W. Sutherland, J. W. Jones, W. R. Trench, W.B. Hughes-Games, G.D. Hammill, and W. Gray.554 Together, they have worked to sustain and foster the entrepreneurial spirit, advocating for Chamber members in a variety of ways. Chamber members lobby all levels of government, since “a united voice has far more impact than a single one, [therefore] the Chamber is in a position to influence outcomes.”555 This is done in several ways: at the municipal level Chamber members have written letters to City managers and the Mayor, expressing their stance on citywide issues (for example the CDZ556). At the provincial level, Chamber executives have met with several provincial government representatives and presented them with briefs’, “[d]iscussions at these meetings related to challenges and obstacles regarding organized crime, the carbon tax, economic sustainability and other issues of concern to our members.”557 At the federal level, they have followed the same strategy, Chamber executives meet with federal representatives to “discuss issues such as 552 Living Landscapes, “Stabilization At Last: The Natural Products Marketing Act and Final Conclusions,” (accessed October 28, 2008). 553 Personal e-mail correspondence with Jan Bauman, Secretary of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, July 23, 2007. 554 Ibid. 555 Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, “Who we are,” index.php? fid=WhoWeAre&sid=About_the (accessed September 4, 2007). 556 The proposed Comprehensive Development Zone (CDZ) comprises the area of the downtown between Harvey Avenue, Abbott Street, Bernard Avenue, Mill Street and Water Street. The CDZ erases all existing development guidelines in favour of new developer friendly planning bylaws, granting developers the right to develop condos in exchange for monies levied by the City. The City, then, can use the levied funds to build public amenities and affordable housing wherever they see fit. 557 Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, “2008 Annual Advocacy,” uploads/ 2008annualadvocacysummary.pdf (accessed February 18, 2009). 130 organized crime, affordable housing, and homelessness.”558 The Chamber attempts to build relations with key decision makers in government, to create open dialogue. The Chamber’s goal over the past 100 years has remained steadfast: to “look after the interests of the business,” 559 as well as break down barriers to doing business. Fitting examples are the Chamber’s position paper560 on the CDZ, as well as the June and September 2008 letters to current Mayor Sharon Shepherd and Council, in which the Chamber proclaims its support of the proposed OCP amendment, which proposes to solidify all current planning regulations, instead replacing them with comprehensive planning regulations – a necessity to implement the proposed CDZ.561 The Chamber has therefore been instrumental in a movement towards neoliberalism. It has contributed to the privatization of responsibilities formerly resting with the provincial and municipal government, favouring business but detrimental to the citizens of Kelowna in general and the poor in particular. The neoliberal urban reconfiguration of the city by intentional investment (in areas such as Sunset Drive and Ellis Street) and intentional disinvestment (in areas such as Lawrence Avenue and Leon Avenue), which the Chamber has actively supported, has resulted in a drastic transformation of the downtown into a non-inclusive, upscale, highly segregated, and policed spaced. In today’s downtown, the poor and marginal populations are criminalized, dispossessed of many essential services, un-free to use the public space freely, and ultimately, displaced. Meanwhile, empty and semi-empty luxury condominiums, the second homes of wealthy transients or speculators, began to fill other areas of the downtown. 558 Ibid. 559 Ibid. 560 Chamber of Commerce, “Comprehensive Development Zone Position Paper,” (accessed February 18, 2009). 561 Chamber of Commerce, “Letters to Mayor Shepherd,” June 6, 2008, uploads/cdzone_ltr08.pdf and September 22, 2008 uploads/ lettertomayorshepherd-ocp.pdf (both accessed February 18, 2009). 131 Attempting to support business in the entire Central Okanagan Regional District, the Economic Development Commission (EDC) has the function to promote the economic development of Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley region. The EDC was born out of a bylaw adoption, established by the Regional District of the Central Okanagan in 1972.562 Its role is threefold, focusing on business enhancement, attraction, and facilitation. Members are “working in partnership [with governments, capital and business representatives, as well as stakeholders] to facilitate a healthy, dynamic and sustainable community economy by supporting existing businesses and encouraging appropriate new business investment.”563 While the EDC attempts to strengthen local business, their current preferred business strategy entails the enhancement of the local business base through the attraction of investment dollars, rather than the attraction of new business to the region.564 This strategy is echoed in their goal to increase productivity and profit through enhancement and intensification of local businesses and niche markets.565 More specifically, this strategy is based on the willingness and propensity of local entrepreneurs to create favourable conditions for potential investors, vying to “meet […] the needs of potential investors,”566 with the ultimate goal of attracting capital to the region. “Portfolio capital is just as easily attracted by a speculative boom as it is by solid institutional and infrastructural arrangements that might attract high-value added industries.”567 Angel investors, a particularly risk-welcoming type of entrepreneur, lend venture capital in return for gigantic profits (vying to 562 Interview Four. 563 Economic Development Commission, Kelowna 2007 Economic Profile, 3. 564 Interview Four. 565 Economic Development Commission, Kelowna 2007 Economic Profile, 5 566 Economic Development Commission, “Home,” (accessed December 3, 2007). 567 Okanagan Angel Network, (accessed February 20, 2009). 132 multiply their investments 10, 100 or even 1000 times!)568 for start-up of advanced technology projects. They are enticed to the Okanagan region by private invitation-only to high-risk investment opportunities. “Investment amounts will vary greatly, but typical angel investments are in the $25K to $100K+ range. Often, several angels will invest in a company. In some cases, millions of dollars have been invested.”569 In fact, elsewhere in BC, this form of capital attraction has proven so successful that in the late 1990s the Okanagan Science and Technology Council (OSTEC),570 borrowed the idea and model from the Vancouver Angel Network and brought it to the Okanagan to “improve access to capital for new business ventures.”571 In theory, the EDC and the Chamber, as members of OSTEC,572 are not only connected to the Okanagan Angel Network, but also to the Angel Capital Alliance, a “Professional Alliance of Angel Groups,”573 with global connections to other Angel networks. Executives of the EDC and the Chamber do not only have access to risk-embracing individual Angels, but can also forge connections between (potential) entrepreneurs and capital. In reality, members of the EDC and the Chamber can access a vast network of investment capital locally, nationally and maybe even globally. 568 This information comes from the Angel Network website as an explanation of an Angel’s expectations: “Just to make sure that our angels aren't confused with the philanthropic variety, entrepreneurs must understand that, because angels are willing to take huge risks, they also expect huge rewards. Returns on equity invested by angels are not measured in percentage points; they are measured in multiples. Indeed, angels like to get 10 or 100 times, even 1000 times, back on their money!” Ibid. 569 Ibid. 570 Okanagan Science and Technology Council is a membership driven organization, “that fosters an environment that supports science and technology initiatives by acting as a representative and advocate for the interests of members and the business community as a whole. We are a conduit that brings people together, partnering with industry, agencies and government. OSTEC's Mission Statement is to lead the development of thriving technology-driven sectors in the Okanagan.” Okanagan Science and Technology Council, “Home,” (accessed February 20, 2009). It is important to notice that OSTEC’S members include the Economic Development Commission and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as Urban Systems, a company that often assists the City’s staff and managers with its urban planning expertise. OSTEC, “Members,” (accessed February 20, 2009). 571 Ibid. 572 Okanagan Science and Technology Council, “Members,” (accessed February 20, 2009). 573 Angel Capital Association, (accessed February 20, 2009). 133 The EDC’s board has 30 members, representing the Okanagan business community, local government and special interest associations.574 Appointees include the executive of the Chamber from all the municipalities in the EDC jurisdiction,575 as well as political appointees from municipal government and the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.576 Regardless, most of its funding comes from Kelowna’s taxpayers, collected and dispersed by the City, the amount contingent to the annual tax assessment. The last five budgets were around $620,000 annually, with approximately $100,000 raised through partnerships with the federal government.577 The EDC is connected locally to the Chamber and the DKA. They contribute to speaking engagements at luncheons to award ceremonies,578 to attending other Development Commissions meetings (for example, the Vancouver Economic Development Commission). It is also connected to government at the municipal level (the City and the Regional District of the Central Okanagan), at the provincial level (to the Economic Development Ministry and the Provincial Nominee Team, who subsidize the economic development commissions, as well as their members’ participation at trade events), and at the federal level (for example, Western Economic Diversification Canada). In addition, the EDC is part of the Business Recruitment Team, a now six-year old partnership with the DKA and the Chamber, where the three agencies examine upcoming potential projects.579 According to one interviewee, “the three groups will organize 574 Economic Development Commission, “Info,” (accessed December 3, 2007). 575 In the case of the EDC this includes Lake Country, Peachland, Westbank and Kelowna. 576 Interview Four. 577 Ibid. 578 Ibid. 579 Ibid. 134 and host a lunch so that everyone will get together and meet them all in one room.”580 Plus, the EDC is a member of OSTEC, and as such holds a sure connection to the Okanagan technology sector. Lastly, the EDC is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centres, and its executives attend International Council of Shopping Centres conferences jointly with DKA executives to market Kelowna’s retail real estate, business and capital opportunities abroad.581 Collaborating with the DKA, the EDC is instrumental in shaping and fostering the economic climate of the city. The EDC is a key player between local, national and international business and capital. It does not only publicize investment opportunities, but simultaneously helps assemble and structure financial partnerships, and in doing so, legitimates neoliberal forms of capital investments, supporting and being supported by a speculative casino economy with short-term investments.582 Another instrumental player in the neoliberalization of the downtown has been the Urban Development Institute (UDI). This association represents the urban development, planning and real estate development industry. Its mandate is to increase communication between the development industry, government and the public.583 Its corporate members are developers, property managers, financial lenders, lawyers, engineers, planners, architects, appraisers, real estate professionals, local governments and government agencies.584 Firms wishing to join one of the four BC chapters (Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna and soon Vernon) must apply for membership (with two letters of reference), so that the board of directors can decide if the 580 Ibid. 581 Ibid. 582 Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. 583 Urban Development Institute, “Home,” (accessed October 2, 2007). 584 Urban Development Institute, “Membership,” (accessed October 1, 2007). 135 applicant fits the Association’s mandate. If, and once approved, applicants stand to benefit from the UDI’s “information pipeline, [have the] chance to make a difference, [are offered] professional development opportunities, [may act as] government liaison, [partake in] partnerships and networking opportunities, [will have access to the] exclusive members only website, [are privy to participation in] a social calendar, [and, in addition, might be eligible for] group health benefits.”585 The Institute’s code of ethics states that “as a responsible corporation, [the UDI] recognize[s] the need for wise, efficient and productive urban land use. To achieve this it is essential that governments, communities and industry work together.”586 In Kelowna, the UDI was born from the work of a group of developers, in the attempt to represent the local development industry as a united front.587 Whereas the Kelowna chapter has no national representation itself, the Vancouver UDI, where the Kelowna chapter holds a seat, represents all local BC chapters,588 being “committed to working with the Federal, Provincial, Regional and Municipal governments to ensure we create sustainable communities where all British Columbians, regardless of income levels, can find high quality housing and job opportunities.[…] UDI is a well-oiled machine because of their commitment and service.”589 While not all Kelowna’s developers are UDI members, the UDI is the only local association representing developers in Kelowna.590 The UDI is funded entirely by private money591 and receives no government support.592 Its members make financial contributions ranging from 585 Ibid. 586 Urban Development Institute, “About,” (accessed October 1, 2007). 587 Interview Fifteen. 588 Ibid. 589 Urban Development Institute, UDI Annual Report 2007, 5. Publications/ UDI/UDI_Annual%20Report.2007_PDF.pdf (accessed January 2, 2008). 590 Ibid. 591 Interview Fifteen. 592 Ibid. 136 CAN$300 to CAN$5000 a year.593 According to the UDI events website, Aquilini Development,594 Ledingham McAllister,595 UBC Okanagan596 and Okanagan College597 are among its sponsors.598 The UDI states it holds respect for the public and consumers, community and land, the larger environment and future generations, as well as for others in the development profession.599 This association is very well connected, locally, nationally and beyond, and benefits from national and international affiliations.600 To illustrate, at the local level, UDI members work 593 Ibid. 594 Aquilini Developments belongs to the Aquilini Investment Group, whose members have been instrumental in the neoliberalization of Vancouver. The Aquilini Investment Group owns the Vancouver Canucks and are an official sponsor of Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Games. Its team members include UDI executives, real estate and property developers, planners as well as construction companies. They have been responsible for the Concord Pacific neighbourhood in Vancouver and recently have been instrumental in highrise real estate and development in Kelowna’s downtown, with a development named “Twentyfour.” In 2007 the Vancouver Sun pegged Aquilini business at CAN$ 5 billion. Respectively, Vancouver Real Estate Direct. February 27, 2009, http://www. and Brian Hutchinson, “Arrested development,” Financial Post Mobile, March 2, 2009, magazine/ story.html? id=1299065 (both accessed April 19, 2009). 595 Ledingham has been building in British Columbia since 1905. Bruce McAllister and Ward Ledingham became partners in 1984 and since then have been instrumental in real estate and development in Vancouver and now in Kelowna: the CAN$150 million “Waterscapes” development on Sunset Boulevard and Ellis Drive, as well as the proposed CAN$235 million master built community “Portraits” on the corner of Benvoulin Road and Springfield Road. In addition, they have built for UBC Vancouver. In order, Ledingham McAllister, “About us,” and “New Communities,”;UBC Properties, “Awards,”; and the Economic Development Commission, “2008 Central Okanagan Major Projects Inventory,” Major%20Projects %20 2008.pdf (all accessed April 19, 2009). 596 UBC Properties Trust manages real estate development, planning and construction on UBC (Vancouver) and UBCO (Kelowna) lands. They have strong connections with Vancouver real estate and land development companies, in fact many developers and planners are UBC alumni. The UBC lands will never be sold, but instead developed with the goal to create endowment funds. Construction activity at UBC Okanagan is valued at CAN$207 million, with another proposed building for CAN$30 million. The current UBC properties endowment is CAN$506 million. UBC Properties Trust, “Endowment,” (accessed April 19, 2009) and Economic Development Commission, “2009 Central Okanagan Major Projects Inventory,” (accessed July 24, 2009). 597 2008 Construction activity at Okanagan College was valued at CAN$162 million. Economic Development Commission, “2008 Central Okanagan Major Projects Inventory,” pdf/Central%20Okanagan%20 Major%20 Projects %20 2008.pdf (accessed April 19, 2009). 598 Urban Development Institute, “Events,” (accessed August 27, 2008). 599 Urban Development Institute, “Home,” (accessed October 2, 2007). 600 Ibid. 137 closely with the City’s senior management and Council. They meet quarterly with the City of Kelowna Liaison Committee, where senior City officials and the Mayor discuss development matters with UDI members. In addition, they collaborate with the Chamber and attend luncheons where City, Chamber and EDC members come together. Members of the UDI responsible for the current transformation of the downtown do not only represent local business interests. One of its members, currently interested in development possibilities in Kelowna, is the Senior Vice President of Concord Pacific (part of the Aquilini Development Group), who in the past was also the president of the UDI Pacific Region Chapter,601 another is Ledingham McAllister.602 Clearly, both companies are trying to manifest their presence in Kelowna’s land development market. In conclusion, as an organization bringing together those with direct interest in land and real estate development in Kelowna, the UDI has been instrumental in the transformation of the downtown. It has held luncheons bringing senior City management together with land entrepreneurs and developers, often with presentations from land development experts. Moreover, the UDI has written to the Mayor asking specifically for increased incentives for developers to build affordable housing in a profitable way.603 In fact, the City has a policy to 601 Nate Berg, “BC Sees Development Market Frozen Into 2010,” Planetizen, February 4, 2009, http://www. (accessed April 19, 2009). 602 Vancouver development companies Concord Pacific and McAllister are trying to develop in Kelowna. They have know-how and crane technology to build highrises. Moreover, McGarva (from VIA Architecture) has collaborated with Concord Pacific in the past for Vancouver’s False Creek redevelopment. VIA Architecture has also worked for the Canada Lands Company. Respectively, commsvcs/currentplanning/ urbandesign/ br2pdf/falsecreek.pdfFalse (accessed March 3, 2009).City of Kelowna Advisory Planning Commission minutes, August 30, 2005. committees/ advisory%20planning%20commission/history/2005%20meetings/minutes%20-%202005-08-30.pdf (accessed April 21, 2009). 603 Chamber of Commerce Statement of Policy, 3, kelownachamberocppositionpaper.pdf (accessed April 21, 2009). 138 consult with the UDI as a special interest group in matters relating to the OCP,604 granting the UDI a say in municipal matters. The last agent of change with power to influence neoliberal transformations in the downtown in particular, is the Canada Lands Company Ltd., a federally owned public crown corporation whose sole shareholder is the Government of Canada.605 The mandate of the CLC was to maximize value from Canadian National Rail Company (hereafter CN Rail) assets,606 but recently has also bought other federal lands that are “surplus to the real estate needs of the Government of Canada.”607 The CLC deals with surplus land derived from earlier waves of neoliberal privatization, in this case the privatization of the CN Rail Company. Upon privatization of CN Rail in 1995,608 some of its holdings became superfluous. These ‘surplus’ lands were in turn offered to the CLC, whilst rail operations remained with CN Rail. Conveniently, the CLC was able to ‘buy’ those properties from the government with only a promissory note,609 while “drafting […] an Agreement of Purchase and Sale […] in lieu of payment in cash at the time of sale.”610 This strategy grants the CLC the ability to defer capital expenditures on land purchases until the property has been redeveloped. This process happens 604 City of Kelowna, “Official Community Plan Consultation,” council/policies/official%20community%20plan%20consultation%20-%20pol-296doc.pdf (accessed April 21, 2009). 605 Canada Lands Company Ltd., “Home,” speeches/pdf/2002/sp10032002.pdf (accessed April 3, 2006). 606 Ibid. 607 Canada Lands Company Ltd., “Frequently Asked Questions,” (accessed April 21, 2009). 608 The Canada Broadcasting Corporation reports that “the Canadian Government auctions CN off for 2.2 billion in order to “streamline operations and raise funds for future growth” and the shares are traded publicly at the Toronto and New York Stock Exchange. Thomson, Justin, CBC News Online, “Canadian National: from Coast to Coast to Coast,” (November 25, 2003), (accessed October 29, 2008). 609 Canada Lands Company Ltd., “Land Transfer,” (accessed April 3, 2006). 610 Ibid. 139 away from the public’s view, since “details of on-going negotiations involving properties are not normally public information.”611 Here the government, paradoxically, acts in ways unbeknownst to the public. The CLC has several strategies to create value from CN properties. Generally, the CLC first decontaminates and remediate the site.612 Thereafter, they sell so-called ‘non-strategic’ properties to private developers, while keeping strategic properties for their own redevelopment purposes. A strategic property is one with land use zoning that permits developers to recoup clean-up and remediation costs with a 6-10% profit margin,613 so that the property can be subdivided and rezoned. Thereafter the CLC makes further choices: sell the subdivided and rezoned land either to a developer, or partner with a developer for redevelopment purposes.614 The latter happened in Kelowna. The CLC acquired the Kelowna rail yard in 1995. The clean up and remediation for the 35 acres site (25 acres of rail yard and 10 acres of land) began in 1996.615 A development plan was soon put in place and finalized as the 1999 Downtown North Area Structure Plan.616 It allowed for subdivision and rezoning617 of the property for a mixed- use community, “incorporating industrial, office, commercial, residential lots and a hotel site, focussing on a 1.8 ha (4.8 acre) stream protection corridor and Sunset Park.”618 To date, the 611 Canada Lands Company Ltd., “Frequently Asked Questions,” (accessed November 30, 2007). 612 Lands used for railway operations need to be decontaminated and remediated, meaning that pollutants and/or contaminants from rail way operations are removed from the environment (soil, ground and surface water). CN, Glossary of terms, “Remediation,” (accessed October 29, 2008). 613 Interview Eleven. 614 Ibid. 615 Ibid. 616 Stantec Consulting Ltd., Downtown North Area Structure Plan. 617 Brandt’s Creek, “History”, (accessed November 30, 2007). 618 Brandt’s Creek, “At a Glance,” (accessed December 2, 2007). 140 development of Kelowna’s Brandt’s Creek Crossing is at varying stages. The portion of the site approved for highrise redevelopment has been pre-sold and construction has begun. One section of the property bordering Water Street, which has been rezoned for a hotel redevelopment, remains vacant. Initially, the Sheraton hotel chain announced they were to build a 20 storey619 358 room luxury hotel in 2002,620 but that deal collapsed and in 2006 new plans to build a Westin Luxury Hotel were announced.621 That project also collapsed when the developer cited financing problems for this CAN$150 million project.622 To date, this part of the CLC property is still undeveloped, an eyesore pile of pre-load, as Illustration 6.1.1: Preload on the Corner of Ellis Street and Clement Avenue below shows. Illustration 6.1.1: Preload on the Corner of Ellis Street and Clement Avenue. Source: Photo taken by Tina Marten. (February 2009). The CLC has therefore collaborated with the City for a decade now, the CLC has succeeded in having the OCP zoning and bylaws amended in order to complete its land development goals. Moreover, executive members sit on Council committees and give input into planning issues. In doing so, the CLC has not only successfully contributed to the 619 Steve MacNaull, “Major Hotel Sought for Downtown,” The Daily Courier, October 18, 2005. 620 Canada Lands Company, “Canada Lands to Sell Hotel Site to P.R. Hotels Ltd. to Develop a Sheraton Hotel at Brandt's Creek Crossing,” (accessed October 29, 2008). 621 Alistair Waters, “Hotel Chain has Curious Way to Announce Local Project,” Kelowna Capital News, April 19, 2006. 622 Steve MacNaull, “Top-10 Business Stories,” The Daily Courier, December 19, 2007. 141 reconfiguration of its north end downtown land parcel, but also reshaped the downtown elsewhere. Overall, in Kelowna, the focus of economic development is twofold: according to the Kelowna Economic Development Commission’s website, the focus is not solely to attract new business to Kelowna, but also to “grow and diversify existing businesses.”623 Yet, the modus operandi remains the same: intensification of the economy equals growth and densification, followed by in-migration. In order to reach this goal of unbridled growth, the local growth coalition has to create a discourse that supports growth pursuits, suggesting that growth is in everyone’s interest. As such, newspapers and magazines, close allies of the growth coalition, become the medium for the growth coalition’s new discourse, publishing experts’ opinions, heralding members of the growth coalition as local heroes, and printing pro-growth feature articles. In exchange for advertising dollars, they produce glossy and shiny advertisements of the new land and real estate developments. Dissenting opinions are not denied and one can find anti-growth letters to the editor, but the stance of the editor can bee seen in between the lines. In Kelowna, the climate in the local papers The Daily Courier and the Capital News has been in favour of the growth coalition and there has been very little examination of the growth coalition or its members. A very recent example of the social construction of a pro-growth discourse can be seen in the Okanagan Life magazine’s article “The Future of our Valley: a Roundtable Discussion,”624 which is a verbatim account of a three part discussion between three university professors, two developers, a consultant/wine grower, a farmer, an architect and an entrepreneur. Some of the 623 The Economic Development Commission, “Info,” (accessed October 9, 2007). 624 Okanagan Life, “The Future of Our Valley: a Roundtable Discussion,” (Jan./Feb. 2008) (accessed November 23, 2007). 142 attendees are, one way or another, closely affiliated with Kelowna’s growth machine. For example, Gail Temple is a member of the Urban Development Institute and works for the Alberta developer Phil Milroy.625 There are other members of the growth coalition, for example the director for Smart Growth BC, as well as large-scale property developers.626 During the second segment of the interview, participants imagine the Okanagan Valley’s future, the “ideal Okanagan Community.”627 It is in this section that the experts, or the “the Okanagan’s best minds and important players,“628 begin the creation of a discourse that imagines an ideal community based on the interests of the growth coalition, leading to the third part of the roundtable, which deals with development and growth. This is the most interesting section, because it is here that the participants suggest that Kelowna can be home to three million people living in high-rise buildings. One roundtable expert makes the statement that “we haven’t developed the land that we have and [we must] retrofit [...] it in a way that will allow us to keep our vistas of the hillsides, the quality, the beauty – all those things that people came to live here.“629 The new terminology is not to develop land, but to retrofit and redevelop underdeveloped land. Temple “would love to say something to that. It’s that, but it’s also that – I mean, redevelopment, you’re so right. The footprint of this community – we could have so many thousands of people living here and simply by just redeveloping the land that we already have sacrificed, that already has buildings on it. [...] one of the biggest things in my job – I stand in front of council and I lobby for developments all the time and one of the most difficult things is – we’re talking about redevelopment, we’re talking about infill630 and changing neighbourhoods that actually already exist. And if we’re going to 625 The developer Phil Milroy is instrumental to the restructuring of Kelowna’s downtown. I describe and analyse Milroy’s role in Kelowna’s reconfiguration in greater detail in the following chapters. 626 Okanagan Life, The Future of Our Valley. 627 Ibid (my emphasis). 628 Ibid. 629 Okanagan Life, The Future of Our Valley. 630 Infill refers to reconfiguring and redeveloping urban space with higher densities, or in other words creating more square footage in already developed areas. 143 go to that hundred year vision, these communities that exist today – that are all these single family houses or whatever on the flats – they’re going to have to go through a period of transition and they’re going to have to change. One of the hardest things that we do is lobby for higher density infill development, because people stand in that gallery and they go on and on about how we are now destroying their neighbourhood. But it has to actually change.”631 This discourse suggests that only once the underutilized space is redeveloped, Kelowna will become an ideal community. Clearly, this community vision is not ideal for everyone, which becomes apparent in the opposition that developers face. Temple herself offers an example, “And we fought three years to go for a piece of property, long and hard, and we used the smart growth argument and showed that we were putting amenities that people[in place][...]. But the hard thing was, 200 people came out to that gallery and held up placards and council caved. And maybe now, five years later, council wouldn’t cave. But I’m telling you, it’s easier to go get a zoning on a piece of hillside because no one’s going to come out and fight you, because you’re not affecting anybody. So infill, as much as we all say it’s great, it’s really difficult and we need to educate people that that’s okay.“632 There are only few groups or people who think more critically about the current growth that Kelowna is subjected to. There is open disdain about the idea to limit growth in any way or shape and as a result, discussions about new projects are very limited. Further, at times the mere suggestion of an open discussion is dismissed as ‘anti-growth.‘ The newly constructed discourse, based on the redevelopment of all this underutilized space, tolerates no counter discussions, but instead suggests that all this new development is sustainable, good for cities, the environment and those living within. That, in reality, any building activity represents intensification of economic activity, and in turn is good for the growth coalition, is missed. ‘Smart growth’ and ‘environmentally’ sensitive building is still building. The discourse centred on sustainable development is propelling growth and can thus have a variety of flavours – but the result is more and intensified growth. 631 Ibid. 632 Ibid. 144 6.2 TRANSFORMATION OF KELOWNA’S URBAN BUILT ENVIRONMENT In Kelowna, setting the stage for downtown redevelopment in the past decade materialized in two distinct ways: through the injection of capital in one area while halting capital investment in another. In other words, the stage was set with intentional investment and disinvestment. Capital was deliberately injected in the creation of an area designed as “the Cultural District,” triggering a highrise development wave along Ellis Street that spread into the North End. In contrast, Leon Avenue and Lawrence Avenue suffered from years of intentional disinvestment, resulting in a blighted ‘problem’ area. Ironically, both areas belong to the same overall neoliberal redevelopment project. In the late 1980s, Ellis Street was on the verge of becoming a “problem area”: an industrial area with nightclubs, the city’s food bank and massage parlours. To combat “urban decay” and to set the stage for redevelopment, the City assembled properties in the area. They bought properties as they became available for sale and supported the building of the Grand Hotel (South Tower in 1993 and North Tower in 2000) along Okanagan Lake’s shore, and highrises633 (the Dolphins in 1993 and the Lagoons in 2000634) on Sunset Boulevard.635 This was the beginning of the Cultural District,636 following Zukin, I may say, an urban reconfiguration 633 The highrise is the most transforming development in Kelowna’s urban built environment. At the turn of the millennium there were only four highrise in Kelowna, but since then, according to Momer, the number has mushroomed to 14 (11 additional highrises in the downtown). The year 2004 was pivotal for highrise construction: It was the first time in Kelowna’s history that more condos were built than single family dwellings. Bernard Momer, “Time to Grow Up? Kelowna’s Changing Skyline,” Planning West 48(3) (2006), 12-14 and City of Kelowna, Development Statistics 2006, 3, Docs/ PDFs//Strategic%20Planning/2006%20Development%20Statistics.pdf (accessed March 27, 2008). 634 SkyscraperPage.Com, “Diagrams,” (accessed March 3, 2009). 635 Interview Fourteen; The City of Kelowna supported these redevelopments since they provided tourism accommodation and were located in close proximity to the Cultural District. See the Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd. in association with AMS Planning and Research, Gryphos Land Use Planning Corp., Dennis McGuire, Steven Thorne, Scott Fraser, and Quoin Project and Cost Management, Cultural District Implementation Strategy and Marketing Plan; Stantec Consulting Ltd and Downtown North Area Structure Plan; City of Kelowna Planning Department and Urban Systems Ltd., Kelowna Downtown: a People Place. 636 Kelowna’s Cultural District, “The District: About Us,” (accessed March 18, 2008). 145 based on the reproduction of white middle class cultural space.637 Zukin explains that cultural spaces are spaces where “images and memories symbolize ‘who belongs’ in specific spaces”638 created with the active participation of land entrepreneurs. Along with those newly configured urban spaces, identities are forged, suggestive of those who belong and who do not. Culture and art, as themes, plus expensive stores, real estate and vacation rental offices are some of the catalysts that propel a very particular type of urban development,639 a development that is “delectable […] an urban oasis were everyone appears to belong to the middle class,”640 and in Kelowna, a white middle class. One iconic place in the cultural district is the Laurel Packinghouse. Built in 1918, it preserves the history of the local orchard industry. In the late 1990s, the City subsidized the building of the Rotary Center of the Arts, a center complete with a large auditorium, art exhibits and where artists are able to rent studio space. In the mid-1990s, the City also entered into a public-private partnership with RG Properties to build the Prospera Place arena.641 It was not until the City had planted the seeds for the transformation of the downtown that other agents of change entered the game. The City invested through several market cycles until the time was ripe for the development industry to jump in. “It [was] quite exciting. Free enterprise [started] out some projects, put some land acquisitions together to make it work. It [worked] like a kick in the pants.”642 637 Sharon Zukin, The Cultures of Cities. 638 Ibid., 1. 639 Zukin, The Cultures of Cities, 10. 640 Idem, (author’s emphasis). 641 City of Kelowna, “Prospera Place,” (accessed February 23, 2009). 642 Interview Three. 146 Once the Cultural District had been consolidated as a catalyst for a new downtown, many developers became openly and actively involved in its redevelopment. Coupled with the City’s support in the form of rezoning, one developer, Ken Webster, was the first to build on Ellis Street. He completed the Cannery Lofts in 2005, a building unlike anything ever attempted in Kelowna before.643 Webster became “a visionary” in the local real estate and development community, who risked and succeeded with this new concept of loft living in Kelowna: “[t]he Cannery Lofts, for example, were really designed for young professionals, for the creative class644 [because] the City strives to attract this class.”645 Webster “was the first guy over the gate to make a run on Ellis Street.”646 Thereafter other developers became interested in the area, making their redevelopment applications to the City. These applications for the construction of highrises required rezoning, which was a small hurdle, apparent in the number of highrises approved. There are three highrises in various stages of construction along Ellis Street today. In Illustration 6.2.1: Looking North on Ellis Street the above-mentioned pioneering Cannery Loft is in the background (on the left hand side), with the Downtown Lofts towering over a new apartment building in the foreground. 643 Steve MacNaull, “Cannery Sales Lofty,” The Daily Courier, March 15, 2006. 644 The term creative class refers to a socioeconomic class, that Richard Florida argues, plays a key role in the New Economy. This class’ individuals are often employed in the high tech sector, they are knowledge workers whose largest asset is their creativity. For a much more detailed discussion about the Creative Class see Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class (New York: Basic Books, 2002). 645 Interview Three. 646 Interview Three. 147 Illustration 6.2.1: Looking North on Ellis Street. Source: Photo taken by Tina Marten (February 2009). Illustration 6.2.2: Looking South on Ellis Street. Source: Photo taken by Tina Marten (February 2009). 148 The message conveyed is that this area of downtown is hip, desirable to live in, urban, yet safe. This is the ‘new’ Kelowna, where the creative class dwells. The ‘new’ downtown is home to independent, modern city dwellers, who understand the value of mobility and consumption. They enjoy living downtown in lofts and highrises, since this lifestyle is the new chic, especially appealing to people with ‘lock and leave’647 mentalities. Highrise dwellings may be locked up and left sitting empty, making them attractive real estate to out-of-towners, especially those looking for secondary or tertiary vacation real estate investment. It is questionable, however, how much absentee homeowners can contribute to a city’s community. Many of those who do purchase real estate are promised pleasure and a leisure lifestyle in secured spaces. Hedonistic lifestyles in fortified spaces result from fear of Others, those who cannot afford to shop in the area’s designer stores, frequent the upscale establishments or live in the highrises. A highrise is a vertical gated community,648 a development for a certain group of people, segregated according to class, socio-economic means, race and/or age,649 inclusionary only to those who can afford it, whereas the socio-economic weak and poor are not welcome. The features sold to city dwellers in highrises are sameness and homogeneity in controlled and fortified environments totally secluded from the community in which they are erected. Looking at Illustration 6.2.3: A Fortified Highrise Entrance on Ellis Street, one notices iron bars curving outward, making it impossible to scale them. In this particular building, the entrance is video- monitored with a coded swipe key-card. In addition, the metal door is reinforced, making it impossible to reach through the bars. 647 erl-daniels, Urban living comes to Kelowna, 39. 648 Setha M. Low, "The Edge and the Center: Gated Communities and the Discourse of Urban Fear," American Anthropologist 103(1) (2001), 45-58; Zukin, Loft Living. 649 Momer, Time to Grow Up? 149 Illustration 6.2.3: A Fortified Highrise Entrance on Ellis Street. Source: Photo taken by Tina Marten (February 2009). There is a sense that people who live in this building are secured from the outside world. But not only is the building secure, there is also surveillance on the street, which in practice means the public space of the street is privatized to protect these downtown building dwellers, those who belong. However, as the pictures of Ellis Street above show, while the streets are scrutinized by the eye of the cameras and filled with lines of parked cars, the sidewalks remain deserted, a clear reminder that the other side of the culture of security and safety is fear. To conclude, Kelowna’s downtown has been transformed, with the establishment of the modern Cultural District in downtown Kelowna, commemorating white culture and inviting people to participate in a celebration thereof. New downtown residents live in highrises, seduced by hedonistic lifestyles, while secured and protected on the one hand by a fortification of their living space, and on the other by the privatization of public space. The result is a culture based on segregation, propped up by security and reinforced by fear. Whereas surrounding the Cultural District and Ellis Street a discourse of success, modernity, culture, and hedonism has been created at the same time that an important injection 150 of private and public investment has materialized, Leon Avenue and Lawrence Avenue have suffered from years of intentional disinvestment, especially from a lack of investment in the physical features and infrastructure. There have been neither cash injections nor physical improvements like the streetscape improvements in the Cultural District.650 But more striking yet is the discourse under which this area is represented. The agents of change described above have been instrumental in the creation of an urban ‘barren’ land both materially and discursively. For example, property owners have not been forced to maintain their buildings, there are no hanging baskets mounted on the street lamps, just as there are few amenities such as benches. The City has not provided property owners on Leon or Lawrence Avenues with the same incentives that Ellis Street land entrepreneurs have been offered; there have been no public-private partnerships. Instead, Council has granted several nightclub owners liquor licences and over time, the area has become ‘blighted’ and ‘derelict’ with vacant boarded up buildings. Today, nightlife and services for the poor are presented as similar. They are both shown to be impediments to the urban redevelopment of downtown. Several nightclubs and three social service agencies, the Ki-Lo-Na Friendship Centre, the Kelowna Drop-Inn Centre and the Gospel Mission are lumped together as problematic. In this discourse, the nightclubs make too much noise and fill the streets with drunks at closing time, while the non-profit agencies attract ‘marginal’, ‘undesirables’ and homeless people.651 The Gospel Mission, a faith-based non-profit organisation,652 provides shelter for men on a daily, first come first served basis. They offer services such as meals, haircuts, and emergency 650 City of Kelowna, Kelowna Centre Streetscape Improvement Study (May 1994). 651 From a neoliberal viewpoint, these marginal populations are failures in the market place as they did not realize their potential (see Denis, “Government can do whatever it wants”). 652 This organization is located in the proposed Comprehensive Development Zone. 151 dentistry653 to Kelowna’s homeless populations. Depending on the time of day and social services provided elsewhere, marginal populations traverse up and down Leon and Lawrence Avenues. In the summer, many of them hang out in City Park, much to the chagrin of some people in Kelowna. Nurtured by neoliberal discourse, disdain towards marginal populations is dominant in Kelowna. Strong feelings have been voiced in the local media, as the following excerpt shows: “Your taskforce should consist of bouncers, bikers, riot squad, vigilantes and legal types. Find out what you can do to drive them [vagrant homeless bums] out. Hose them down. Make it miserable for them. Give the hotels the right to charge people money to sleep on the street, in dumpsters, in the park. It’s time to get nasty and move them.”654 This writer is ready to engage in warfare against homeless individuals and worries helping a homeless person will invite more people to choose this “free-loading” life style. Another writer asks for a return to a safe downtown. This person had to step over a homeless person and now did not feel safe any longer to walk downtown streets at lunchtime.655 Both letter writers asked why the City would allow these people to be there. They suggested that surely, they, as taxpaying citizens, have more rights to Kelowna’s downtown streets than ‘wasted’ individuals, as if the ability to pay taxes is the passport to citizenship. However, these individuals are not the only people perturbed by homelessness and poverty. Other neoliberal agents of change are also very worried: A past president of the DKA claimed, “[our members] have a right to conduct business and that is front and centre for us right now.”656 Another stated, “the Gospel Mission creates a street presence that unfortunately 653 Kelowna Gospel Mission, “Home,” (accessed March 7, 2009). 654 Beth Browne, “Hose’em Down and Run‘em Out of Town,” Letter to the Editor, Kelowna Capital News, January 30, 2005. 655 Leslie Laird, “Our City Needs to Return to Safety,” Letter to the Editor, The Daily Courier, July 20, 2005. 656 Interview Five. 152 frightens some citizens of Kelowna.”657 And yet another admitted that agencies of that nature serve a purpose, but it is difficult to let them coexist with business and suggested that this concentration of social service agencies in one neighbourhood is a problem. “From a business perspective, when you concentrate those social services, and then it is a congregation of a certain kind of people in an area. That is what you have. And from a business perspective, from a doing-business-perspective, as well as from a tourist perspective, it creates a threatening kind of environment for people and it is not a very comfortable environment for people.”658 It is not surprising to encounter a discourse of us/them in these neoliberal times where the right of business overrides any other human right. Thus, there is no sense of shame in proposing to move the non-profit organization serving the poor out of the downtown core in the name of “a business perspective, from a doing –business-perspective as well as a tourist perspective.”659 Alfred Heinrich, an advocate to the housing-first-approach,660 suggested people need housing first, only then they will stay off the streets. To be successful with the homeless, they must be scattered across the city into rental housing, “[s]pread them out, remove them from the lifestyle, show them a better way, how to live in communities.”661 Removed from their dysfunctional situations, they will ‘better themselves’ and stay in their new housing. Even though this approach to ending homelessness seems more humanitarian, his comments have a distinct neoliberal flavour: he suggests that being homeless is a life style, simply a choice that individuals make. Heinrich’s further suggested that even though institutions like the Gospel Mission have a purpose, a critical evaluation is necessary. As early as 2003 Council became 657 Interview Twelve. 658 Interview Three. 659 Ibid. 660 This approach proposes that people are more receptive to intervention and social service support after living in their own housing, gaining confidence and control over their lives faster and more successfully than those that are living in temporary shelter arrangements. See “Beyond Shelter: Housing First. Ending family Homelessness” for more information. (accessed April 20, 2009). 661 Marshall Jones, “Shelter Concept May be Outdated,” Kelowna Capital News, February 4, 2005. 153 interested in relocating the Gospel Mission662 and commissioned a CAN$25,000 dollar feasibility study to investigate a possible move.663 Problematic for the City, however, is the fact that those social service providers are property owners, owning their buildings outright. The City’s excitement was further stifled with the cool reception from residents elsewhere. Moving the Gospel Mission to another place proved a tough sell. Besides, as the local columnist Alistair Waters, poignantly wrote, “moving [the] Gospel Mission won’t make needy disappear.”664 Active disinvestment in “‘blighted’” areas, presents the lowest point of a development cycle, an undesirable space filled with derelict buildings amidst a lacking infrastructure. In these deprived and derelict areas, agents of change have purposefully not invested or pushed for development, and over time, the area becomes more blighted, thus preparing the area for redevelopment. In Kelowna, land entrepreneurs argue that the situation on Leon and Lawrence Avenues is so dire, that only drastic measures can bring about positive change. This argument is supported by a willingness to invest in that area only if a drastic planning measure is adopted by Council: a CDZ. Upon adoption of such a CDZ, all current development and building guidelines are dissolved and replaced with newly created guidelines, allowing for highrises redevelopment of a four-block area “bounded on the north by Queensway Avenue and on the south by Harvey Avenue and on the east by Water Street and on the West by Abbott and Mill Street.”665 This initiative, the City argues, will re-invigorate empty downtown streets, densify the core, and manifest the westerly portion of the downtown as Kelowna’s gateway, and showcase the area as 662 City of Kelowna, Downtown Redevelopment, “Frequently Asked Questions,“ (accessed April 21, 2009). 663 Marshall Jones, “The Heat is on the Homeless,” Kelowna Capital News, January 28, 2005. 664 Alistair Waters, “Moving Gospel Mission Won’t Make Needy Disappear,” Kelowna Capital News, February, 25 2005. 665 City of Kelowna, “Frequently Asked Questions,” (accessed September 27, 2007). 154 the heart of downtown, the heart of the city – locally, nationally and internationally, albeit according to the interests of special interests.666 6.3 KELOWNA’S COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT ZONE In September of 2007, the City publicly announced a redevelopment initiative to rejuvenate and gentrify the two most blighted areas of downtown. This initiative, the Comprehensive Development Zone foresees the ‘razing’ of a four block downtown area, which is seen in Illustration 6.3.1: Area of the Proposed Comprehensive Development Zone. Illustration 6.3.1: Area of the Proposed Comprehensive Development Zone. Source: City of Kelowna, “The Study Area,” (accessed May 10, 2009). The CD Zone 21 proposes to redevelop the area with 13 highrise towers, some up to 30 storey’s high, in addition to new shopping centers and some public plazas. City Park and the waterfront 666 Ibid. 155 will also be redeveloped to augment access to the waterfront, and to reinvent and revitalize the area with new amenities, such as a public wharf and new marinas. Illustration 6.3.2 Rendering of the Proposed Comprehensive Development Zone exemplifies the proposed urban reconfiguration. Illustration 6.3.2: Rendering of the Proposed Comprehensive Development Zone. Source: City of Kelowna.667. (accessed May 10, 2009). A project of this magnitude is new to Kelowna. The entire downtown will be further transformed, displacing still even more of the current small-town city centre. For the City, and many land entrepreneurs, the CDZ is the most radical answer to bringing redevelopment and rejuvenation to the downtown. Studying the history of the CDZ, it is evident this initiative has been a long time in the making, and many agents of change, among them land entrepreneurs have invested much political will to bring this proposal to fruition. 667 City of Kelowna, “Frequently Asked Questions,” (accessed March 23, 2008). 156 Officially, there was mention of the CDZ for the first time in September of 2007. The local Kelowna Daily Courier reporter Ron Seymour proclaimed there had been a “vision unveiled for fixing [a] forgotten part of downtown.” The Planning Department shared its vision of a new downtown with a select few, offering a concept plan to revamp it. However, this initiative began in January of 2006, when the Downtown Centre Strategy Task Force (hereafter DTCSF), a City statutory committee, was struck. This taskforce has the mandate to “advise Council on initiatives to make the Downtown a more desirable place to live and work.”668 It provides a forum for downtown land entrepreneurs and some Council members, as well as city staff to explore and pursue downtown redevelopment initiatives. Many members (such as downtown land entrepreneurs) of this committee hold vested (economic) interests in the downtown. The taskforce’s six representatives are drawn from the UDI, the DKA, the Chamber and the CLC, in addition to two Councillors. One of the first tasks of this committee was to review the plan Kelowna’s Downtown: a People Place.669 The UDI also supported this re- evaluation, suggesting what parts of the Downtown Plan should be re-examined. At the May 2006 meeting, a joint letter from the UDI, the Chamber and the DKA was presented arguing a review of the Downtown Plan was necessary.670 Thereafter, during the June 15, 2006 meeting, local developer Ken Webster indicated his willingness to contact architect and urban planner Ray Spaxman, and to ask if he could work as a consultant for the City.671 Spaxman had spearheaded several urban redevelopments elsewhere in BC, for example for the City of Vancouver and the 668 City of Kelowna, Downtown Centre Strategy Task Force, “Terms of Reference,” 20Centre%20Strategy%20Task%20Force.pdf (accessed November 28, 2007), 1. 669 City of Kelowna Planning Department and Urban Systems Ltd., Kelowna Downtown: a People Place. 670 City of Kelowna, Downtown Centre Strategy Task Force, “Minutes May, 2006,” 20Centre%20Strategy%20Task%20Force.pdf (accessed November 28, 2007). 671City of Kelowna, Downtown Centre Strategy Task Force, “Minutes June 15, 2006,” Docs/PDFs/City%20Clerk/Terms%20of%20Reference%20- %20Downtown%20Centre%20Strategy%20Task %20Force.pdf (accessed November 28, 2007). 157 City of Nanaimo. He had also worked with the Canada Lands Company, Canada Mortgage and Housing, the University of British Columbia, and other levels of local government.672 Spaxman is a well-connected land entrepreneur living in Vancouver, working as a planner and consultant. He has been instrumental in forging change to the urban built environments of Vancouver and elsewhere. Actually, consulting for Kelowna allowed him to work with many of the same companies and land entrepreneurs with whom he had worked in the past. The City’s goal was to ask Spaxman to “comment as to how (and if at all) the existing Downtown Plan falls short and how, if necessary, any shortfalls can best be addressed.”673 By November 2006, the DCSTF had Council’s support to hire Spaxman for the cost of CAN$20,000 to conduct his review of the Downtown Plan. He began his assignment in February of 2007.674 Spaxman compiled his results into the Kelowna Downtown Plan Review, now widely referred to as the Spaxman Plan,675 and presented it to Council in July 2007. Within he states the City needs to find a “champion with authority and commitment, with relevant resources to prepare and implement the new Downtown Plan and to ensure that ongoing developments are properly conceived while the plans are being developed.”676 Spaxman warned, should the City not act on his recommendations, the downtown would continue to deteriorate and become an 672 The Spaxman Consulting Group, “Projects,” (accessed September 20, 2007). 673 City of Kelowna, Downtown Centre Strategy Task Force, “Minutes October 19, 2006,” 20Strategy%20Task%20Force%5CHistory%5C2006%20Meetings%5C2006-10-19%20-%20Minutes.pdf, (accessed November 28, 2007). 674 City of Kelowna, Downtown Centre Strategy Taskforce, “Minutes November 16, 2006,” %20Task%20Force%5CHistory%5C2006%20Meetings%5C2006-11-16%20-%20Minutes.pdf (accessed November 12, 2007). 675 John Zeger, Citizens for a Livable Downtown, “The Process Prior to August 2007,” (accessed March 7, 2009). 676 Letter from Ray Spaxman to Mary Pynenburg, dated June 29, 2007. docs/pdfs/council/meetings/previous%20years/council%20meetings%202007/ 2007%2D07 %2D23/ item% 205.1 %20%2D%20downtown%20plan%20review.pdf (accessed Sept. 27, 2007). 158 even more blighted area.677 He further warned of “piecemeal and poorly executed [development] leading to an inefficient, disconnected and unattractive place”678 should the economy pick up and the City be left without a comprehensive plan in place. At the same time, the City was buying land in the downtown in the hopes of accruing enough of a land base to jumpstart redevelopment.679 Their goal was to accumulate enough land to collaborate with a developer to get the ball rolling.680 During that time, the City became aware of Phil Milroy, President of Westcorp Properties Inc.,681 who was also attempting to purchase land. Milroy was no stranger to the City. At some time in 2004, Milroy had proposed a very ambitious CAN$250 million development for Kelowna’s downtown waterfront, dubbed Lawson Landing.682 Thereafter the then-Mayor Walter Gray and five members of his Council had even toured some Westcorp Properties in Edmonton.683 The magnitude of Milroy’s redevelopment vision had scared some of Kelowna’s citizens, many of whom decried the sale of parkland to this developer.684 These letter writers questioned where Council’s allegiance really was: with the citizens of Kelowna or a developer from Edmonton, who envisaged highrise redevelopment along the water’s front?685 There was a 677 Ibid. 678 Ibid. 679 Interview Twelve. 680 Ibid. 681 Westcorp Properties Inc. owns and manages real estate, and they acquire, develop, construct, market and manage property volume of CAN$210,000,000. Daily Commercial News and Construction Record, “Westcorp Properties Inc.,” (accessed April 23, 2009). 682 Westcorp Properties Inc., “Current Developments,” development _current_ lawson.html, (accessed March 7, 2009); Economic Development Commission, “Central Okanagan Major Projects 2008,” 5. 683 John Thompson, “The John Thomson Report: Willow Inn and Westcorp,” Story: 1984,, June 10, 2004, =show_story&id=1984&page= 13#1984 (accessed April 23, 2009). 684 N.A. “Kelowna Residents Speak out Against Waterfront Development Proposal,” The Vancouver Sun, August 5, 2004. 685 Andy Thompson, “City's Future Out of the People's Hands,” Kelowna Capital News, February 13, 2008. 159 collective sigh of relief when the Lawson Landing proposal was not approved due a negative environmental assessment from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans686 and was subsequently taken off Council’s table.687 However, afterwards Milroy’s interest in taking the risk of being the first to develop along Kelowna’s waterfront was not forgotten by Mayor Sharon Shepherd. In March of 2007, she commented on Castanet that the door for collaboration with Milroy remained in fact open: “The door is still open for some form of waterfront development in Kelowna’s downtown core. I look forward to hearing from Mr. Milroy. We would like to maintain his interest in the downtown core and hopefully, there can be some project that will still meet the needs of the community as well.”688 Milroy reaffirmed his willingness to collaborate. He released a statement to the Kelowna press, stating that, “Westcorp will be reviewing re-development options for its properties on the corner of Queensway Ave and Mill Street.689 Westcorp Properties remains committed to the future of downtown Kelowna.”690 Kelowna had found its knight. “Ray Spaxman who did our review of the downtown plan said you need a champion, you need a white knight that actually sees something in the downtown. Mr. Milroy is that person.”691 Milroy was excited by the warm reception and returned to Council yet again with another proposal. He proposed to spend CAN$200,000 of his own money to prepare a conceptual plan 686 Milroy had proposed to fill in part of Lake Okanagan in order to reclaim the lakeshore so that it would be possible to build a marina. For this, however, he needs approval from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, as Okanagan Lake is under federal jurisdiction. 687 Milroy wanted to fill in part of Okanagan Lake, but the Department of Fisheries and Oceans refused to grant approval. 688 Wayne Moore, “Door Still Open: Mayor,”, March 21, 2007, news-story-27907--search.htm (accessed August 21, 2007). 689 My research shows that Milroy only bought the hotel site in 2008. Until then he simply paid for the right to purchase. 690 Westcorp Properties Inc., “Current Developments,” development _current_ lawson.html, (accessed March 7, 2009). 691 Interview Twelve 160 that - if successful - would trigger redevelopment downtown. The City accepted his offer.692 Milroy provided Council with the money, and the City in turn hired Graham McGarva of Via Architecture, whose “fee was being paid for with monies put up by Westcorp.”693 Truth be told, and as the above history of Milroy, McGarva and Spaxman explains, they had worked closely together in the past (in Vancouver). Then, in September 2007, the City organized a workshop 694 to listen to the concerns and voices of the area’s landowners and businesses. A second meeting was afterwards arranged, this time by invitation only, which included the DKA, the UDI, and the Chamber.695 Subsequently there were two open houses at the City (September 27, 2007 and November 6, 2007) in addition to one further workshop with downtown land owners (October 5, 2007). The City also conducted a community survey in September 2007 (1219 answers), simply a “non-statistically/unscientific survey of ten questions … aimed at gauging the form of development of the subject area that would be acceptable to the Citizens of Kelowna.”696 Thereafter, on February 11, 2008, Council adopted an amenity package, a wish list from developers, including a “1.51 acres of outdoor park and public spaces, a public plaza, pier, affordable housing and daycare or meeting spaces.”697 While this may look like an interesting proposal, it must be noticed that in this plan the City controls only the zoning, whereas the developer decides how, when and at what pace to build.698 One wonders how the City could hold developers accountable to their promises in the case the 692 Jennifer Smith, “City loses control over downtown planning,” Kelowna Capital News, August 24, 2007. 693 Livable Kelowna, “Process,” process.php (accessed March 15, 2008). 694 City of Kelowna, “Public Process Chart,” Community%20Development/Dwntwn%20Redev%20Pub%20Consultation%20Chart.pdf (accessed March 15, 2007). 695 Ibid. 696 Ibid. 697 City of Kelowna, “Frequently Asked Questions. Downtown Redevelopment,” CM/Page1283.aspx (accessed March 20, 2007). 698 Ibid. 161 CDZ comes to a realization. Discursively this re-development is not only to be necessary for Kelowna and its future well-being, but also to be the sole viable alternative to rejuvenate the downtown. The re-development of Lawrence and Leon Avenues was expected to help attract people to the previously empty downtown to “Live! Work! Play!”699 The CDZ is an excellent example of how Kelowna’s agents of change have made efforts to affect urban restructuring according to neoliberal principles. The City has responded to the interests of capital by becoming their partner in transforming the urban built environment according to their interest rather than those of the general public. After cleaning the downtown from its most ‘undesirable’ citizens, a new configuration will bring new and expensive buildings and new real estate opportunities. A new pier and marina is expected to appeal to people with disposable income to consume culture and leisure. While the City partners with capital to make the CDZ a reality, the City simultaneously relinquishes its control to capital, taking only care of the zoning. Capital is free to create speculative markets, which will influence the pace of development. Clearly, developers will build ‘their’ highrises first, ensuring they earn their hefty profit margins. The publics’ amenities will be built at some point in time when the market is ripe to do so. In the meantime, the downtown could be a construction site for twenty to thirty years.700 6.4 CONCLUSION Kelowna’s neoliberalization has been carefully brought about, with much political will from several neoliberal agents of change: the City, the DKA, the EDC, the Chamber, the UDI and the CLC, Kelowna’s growth machine. Together they prepare the city for a neoliberal urban restructuring, working in powerful collaborative frameworks. They come together in meetings, at 699 Slogan of the Economic Development Commission advertising Kelowna. Seen on the EDC website in January of 2008. 700 Graham McGarva at the October 21, 2008 City of Kelowna Public Council Meeting. 162 conferences or in committees where they create opportune possibilities and set the stage for urban reconfiguration. On the one hand, reconfiguration of urban space has been forced with intentional investment, as in the Cultural District and Ellis Street area, and intentional disinvestment, as on Leon and Lawrence Avenues, who have been starved of investment. Both strategies are instrumental to urban redevelopment, however, since they simply represent different stages in the redevelopment cycle. The uneven redevelopment pattern has allowed members of the real estate and development community to purport drastic redevelopment measures to the City, as the proposed CDZ exemplifies. A severely deprived area needs an extreme makeover, and intense planning measures are the panacea. The complete reconfiguration of a four-block area with highrises, plazas and other public amenities are deemed the sole possibility, to rejuvenate the downtown and revitalize the city’s core. Consequences of neoliberal urban reconfiguration include, but are not limited to, a transformation of the area’s population, especially when newly created real estate markets beckon with potential profits. People purchase real estate for investment purposes however remain absentee owners. The newly created space is privatized, purposely built for many market interactions, and interactions within this space are scripted. Public space is transformed and lost, whereas the newly created space is heavily regulated, fortified exclusive and militarized. 163 CHAPTER SEVEN: CONCLUSION Neoliberal capitalism has been spreading around the world since the 1970s.701 Neoliberalism was first underwritten by theories and models that originated in the relatively obscure department of economics at the University of Chicago and by an alliance of academics, business people, and politicians who met at Davos, Switzerland, to advance the interests of financial speculative capital and globalizing transnational corporations. Its basic tenet is that the “invisible hand of the market” is the most efficient instrument in the organization of relations between people, the most pure form of allowing human’s essence to flourish. Unhindered competition without government or regulatory interference of any kind is the ideal state of this project. Thus, the old capitalist system with its national protections, regulatory bodies, relatively strong unions, and welfare state administered under a Keynesian paradigm had to be replaced by new systems where capital and goods were allowed to roam the world unchecked. The first comprehensive attempt to implement a neoliberal model was under the aegis of a Chilean military dictatorship that followed a military coup in 1973. Thereafter neoliberalism began to spread throughout the world, propelled by a crisis of the Fordist capitalist system that had started in the early seventies. While the early neoliberal “shock treatment” was possible in Chile because of sheer terror, the model penetrated other parts of the world under democratic regimes. The neoliberal ideology became hegemonic guiding economic policy, political platforms and finally the human ethic of citizens itself. Neoliberalism permeated economic, political and social realms both in the metropolitan centers and in the hinterlands. The impact of neoliberalism on the hinterland has been little studied. Canadian studies of neoliberalism have emerged rather recently, and it is very timely to investigate how neoliberalism impacts the 701 Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance and Firing Back; Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism; Klein, The Shock Doctrine; Winn, Victims of the Chilean Miracle. 164 Canadian hinterland. Neoliberalism reworks not only economic, political, social and ethical realms, but also the urban realm, and its spaces and places restructuring cities, which in turn must adjust to the new structures.702 Within the neoliberal logic, cities become competitors.703 Large and small cities adapt to the new neoliberal realities and articulate to the hegemonic national and global interests. City politics give way to models often designed to represent the interests of local forces vying to survive and take advantage of new political, economic, social and ethical forms. This is the focus of this thesis. This thesis investigates how neoliberalism has affected Kelowna, BC, examining in detail how the City has positioned itself in the process of neoliberalization. I study how, in the past decades, the City has become a facilitator for neoliberal capital, offering its urban realm and the space of the Okanagan Valley as the medium for profit creation. I explore how Kelowna transforms due to neoliberalization, and grows from a small mid-sized semi-rural retirement and resource-based city to a Census Metropolitan Area, with more than 50,000 people in its urban core. Focusing especially on the downtown, I explore how a neoliberal market is facilitated to function smoothly. I further investigate who is in the position to create and influence such a market, paying special attention to the individuals and agencies that hold the power to do so. I uncover that a neoliberal market does not work on its own, but instead is guided, facilitated and protected by what urban sociologist Molotch calls neoliberal agents of change (land entrepreneurs and select members of the planning, real estate and development industry, as well as business). Indeed, I examine how the main institutions of the groups that are dominant in the city’s politics and economy (the Downtown Kelowna Association, the Chamber of Commerce, 702 Zukin, The Cultures of Cities. 703 Brenner and Theodore, Spaces of Neoliberalism. 165 the Economic Development Commission, the Urban Development Institute and the Canada Lands Company Ltd.), supported by the City’s senior staff, and legitimated by the City’s planning, have functioned to facilitate the transformation of the city to profit from a world speculation boom in housing, consumerist approaches to gourmet tourism, and new views of post-Fordist work and play. In Kelowna, by the early 1990s, there was a push to transform the local economy into a new one based on tourism, high-tech, high end retirement, real estate development and land speculation. The closures of the local sawmill and truck-manufacturing plant embodies the final stages of Fordism in Kelowna and with it, the end of secure unionised employment. Agriculturalists had to adjust to the impact of NAFTA, moving toward the production of expensive crops and wine-tourism. The city organized itself to aggressively attract capital, and in its offering presented a skilled workforce and a privileged urban space. Among others, software companies took root in the area and call centers relocated to the Okanagan, epitomizing the changing nature of the North American economy. The Call centers in particular represented the post-Fordist labour market with its contractual precarious entry-level part-time jobs. The work culture in Kelowna was adjusting to neoliberalization with its unequal division of wealth, the temporary nature of employment, and de-unionization. However, as the push toward making of the Okanagan a sort of Silicon Valley petered out, the local agents of change began to rely more and more on the discourse of beauty and on the urban space to link to the Canadian and global economy. Urban space is a powerful resource for cities, especially in neoliberal times, when cities must entice capital by, for example, dismantling barriers to capital or grant special tax breaks. In Kelowna, the City facilitated the approval of resort developments where people could own a timeshare, of a growing number of gated communities and redevelopment areas. The tourism industry that historically catered to lower income visitors commenced to develop and middle- 166 class tourists began to develop loyalty to Kelowna. A discourse that promised a life of leisure (or work coupled with leisure) in the Hawaii of the North,704 helped to create a new market for those who wanted to move to Kelowna permanently or for those who wanted a second home in the Okanagan. In particular, many of the immigrants to the Okanagan were people from Vancouver who could sell their houses and move to the cheaper and white(r) hinterland, or workers from high paying jobs in the booming Alberta oil industry, who were able to buy real estate in the valley. More so, as a culture of speculation seeped into the ethics of North American populations fuelled by access to easy credit and long-term mortgages, Kelowna appeared as a desirable real estate market to make quick profits. Together, these forces helped bring capital and permanent and temporary residents to Kelowna. Subsequently, themed gated communities, large subdivisions and new neighbourhoods were built all over Kelowna and the Valley, and highrises were built and planned for the downtown. In fact, the housing industry fuelled speculative housing markets in the new century. The city’s institutions have flexibly adjusted to the new conditions, keeping a favourable environment for capital. This is reflected by a new plan to transform the downtown. The City wants to redevelop it according to the interests of capital, hoping to facilitate profit accumulation. Proposed is a Comprehensive Development Zone (CDZ), a complete reconfiguration of the existing downtown space, to replace the areas close to the waterfront with luxury high-rises and new public amenities. In this proposal, the City is only responsible for the zoning, whereas the final design, timing and construction responsibility lies with the developer. The City argues that this redevelopment will revitalize the urban space, attracting skilled workers and taking a page from Florida’s705 creative class. City plans argue that more people living in the 704 Momer, The Small Town that Grew and Grew and… 705 Richard Florida, Cities and the Creative Class, (Routledge, New York: 2005). 167 downtown will translate into more dollars spent in the downtown, helping downtown business thrive. In turn, this CDZ will make the downtown a desirable place to be for the rich and wealthy, which then will move to Kelowna to “work and play.” Problematic to this development is the presence of Kelowna’s marginal, poor and homeless population in the area. Currently, they access social service providers located in downtown core, and hang out in the downtown and City Park. In fact, these people are seen to be such an impediment to urban redevelopment that it is proposed to move some of the social service providers out of the downtown core and scatter the homeless clientele into secondary suites across town. What will become of Kelowna’s downtown remains to be seen, but the sheer magnitude of this proposed reconfiguration serves as a success of neoliberal agents in preparing the City for neoliberal collaboration, and at the same time demonstrates the City’s willingness to facilitate capital. That said it might be no surprise that Council passed the proposed CDZ in October of 2008. However, I am writing this in the spring of 2009 when neoliberal capital, easy credit and housing speculation are at a crossroad. The economic global crisis that started in 2008 has not only changed Canada’s economic climate; by now, the consequences of the global cash crunch have reached Kelowna.706 Construction has ground to a halt,707 projects have been postponed or entirely shelved,708 and workers have been laid off. The speculative housing market has folded as interest in real estate investments has dried up. I wonder how neoliberal agents of change will once again work the market to sustain the growth-centered discourse that supports the redevelopment of downtown space. I question, how they will create new markets and/or revive old ones. I ask, will neoliberalism be able to sustain itself in Kelowna, and if so, what form and shape might it take? Interestingly, even though four years have passed since the beginning of this 706 Kathy Michaels, “Credit Crunch Halts Condo Construction,” Kelowna Capital News, October 16, 2008. 707 Kelly Hayes, “More cash problems for Conservatory,”, May 7, 2008. 708 N.A., ”Court order for Conservatory,”, Feb 23, 2009. 168 research, the question ‘How does neoliberalism impact a city?’ remains as pertinent as ever. Thankfully, there are still many aspects of neoliberalism that await critical inquiry. 169 BIBLIOGRAPHY BOOKS Aguiar, Luis LM, Patricia Tomic and Ricardo Trumper. “The Letter: Racism, Hate and Monoculturalism in a Canadian Hinterland.” In Possibilities and Limitations: Multicultural Policies and Programs in Canada, edited by Carl E. James, 163-174. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2005. Bauman, Zygmunt. The Individualized Society. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2001. 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