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Thursday, March 1, 2012
Vancouver is on my mind due to watching the finale of Top Chef Texas, which did not take place in Texas, but instead took place in Vancouver, with the first part of the finale taking place north of Vancouver, at the Whistler Ski Resort.
The final two Top Chefs were both Texans. One of the Texans, Paul, remarked, upon seeing the view of Whistler, from a gondola, that the scenery he was looking at was about a total opposite of Texas.
Been there, thought that.
On Wednesday night's Top Chef Texas finale the chefs went to find food at Vancouver's Granville Island Public Market. Vancouver has several of these type markets. Many of them located near Skytrain Stations.
I remember going to a very cool one with my oldest nephew a few months before I moved to Texas. We rode Skytrain to its northern terminus at Canada Place and took the Seabus across the bay to North Vancouver, where it docks at a big public market.
Granville Island is near False Creek. False Creek is where Vancouver's Expo 86 took place. False Creek has since been re-developed into combo residential/commercial type enterprises.
That re-development is part of what helped bring about the bizarre thing in Fort Worth known as the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.
I believe the False Creek developer/designers were consulted early on in the Boondoggle.
I remember being barely recovered from the bizarre nonsense spewing from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about a lame little nondescript enterprise called the Santa Fe Rail Market, touted as being modeled after Seattle's Pike Place Market and public markets in Europe, thinking to myself, does it cross the mind of no one at this idiotic newspaper that there might be readers who have actually been to Seattle's Pike Place Market, who know the absurdity level of this propaganda?
And then the Star-Telegram topped itself with more absurd propaganda.
With a headline along the line of "Trinity Uptown Project to Make Fort Worth the Vancouver of the South."
I remember thinking to myself, have none of these morons actually been to Vancouver? How can they insult their readers like this by assuming such a high level of ignorance?
It was very perplexing.
I remember making fun of this "Vancouver of the South" absurdity, sort of around the same time I had fun making fun of the Star-Telegram's tendency to find nondescript things in Fort Worth to be causing spasms of envy across the world.
The "Vancouver of the South" propaganda did not last very long.
Looking at the photo above, of part of Vancouver, I am sure some people can see the resemblance to Fort Worth. Mountains. A lot of natural water features. Marinas. Dozens of tall buildings. Long bridges.
The towns are almost twins.
See that big expanse of green at the north end of downtown Vancouver? That is Stanley Park. Sort of Vancouver's Tandy Hills Natural Area. Only with a world class aquarium, zoo and a cool suspension bridge, called Lion's Gate, across to North Vancouver.
Fort Worth does not have sufficient elevation changes to warrant suspension bridges. We did have some cool signature bridges scheduled to be built across an un-needed flood diversion channel. But, we found out we were too poor to build those in the billion dollar boondoggle vision.
However, we did find enough money to build the world's premiere wakeboard lake, called Cowtown Wakeboard Park. Cowtown Wakeboard Park was recently damaged by a flood because our Trinity River Vision Boondoggle flood control project isn't finished yet, so we are still vulnerable to flood damage. That or our Cowtown Wakeboard Park was built in a really stupid location, due to bad vision.
Before the Cowtown Wakeboard Park got wiped out by a flood it was one ugly eyesore, I have to say.
I wonder what a Fort Worth native thinks when, or if, they visit something like Vancouver's Granville Island? And see a well designed, well developed, well landscaped development developed with zero nepotism or bad taste?
There are 3 big cities in the world with which I am very familiar.
Fort Worth, Seattle and Vancouver.
Vancouver's population is 603.000 in a metro area of 2.3 million.
Seattle's population is 608,600 in a metro area of 3.4 million
Fort Worth's population is 741,206 in a metro area of 6.15 million.
So, how is it that Vancouver has multiple successful Pike Place Market type enterprises? Has staged a World's Fair. Rail transport in the form of Skytrain. The best Chinatown I've seen other than San Francisco's. Can put on an Olympics.
Seattle has light rail. A massive transit tunnel under its downtown. One of the world's most famous public markets. Has put on a World's Fair. Currently has more than one multi-billion dollar public works project underway.
Meanwhile, Fort Worth, with the biggest population, seems to have no vision, flounders about, falling into bizarre public works projects, like the Santa Fe Rail Market, the Mercado, the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, giving tax breaks to a sporting goods store because the desperate town somehow managed to believe this would be the top tourist attraction in Texas.
This is all just sad. Really sad.
Despite naming a corrupt public works project the Trinity River Vision, there is no vision. Just visit the flood damaged Cowtown Wakeboard Park and you will see a precise metaphor of what this "vision" actually will look like.
I mean, we are dealing with visionaries whose idea of a vision is to go back to the future and open a Drive-In Theater.
If Fort Worth really wants to have a coherent vision for its future the town needs to send a non-nepotistic task force to places like Seattle and Vancouver and Portland and figure out how it is that these smaller than Fort Worth towns can put on their big boy pants, while Fort Worth can't seem to get out of wearing kneepants.
I am willing to assist with this vision search, but first, J.D. Granger must be fired.