> From: Ken Norton <ken@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: [OM] Pick a Metro
Oh, do I HAVE to?
> Total freedom to live anywhere that has several requirements:
> 1. One Million population in area. (may be more or less depending on
> other factors)
I like my populations like I like my skiing: close enough to visit, but I don’t
have to deal with driving in snow every day. :-)
Portland, OR was good to me that way. I went to visit the snow some 70 days a
year, but didn’t have to drive in it during the week.
Vancouver, BC is sorta like that, in terms of population. I can get there and
back in a day, and still preserve the illusion that I live in the country. But
I don’t find myself going there often at all, unless it involves a summons. :-)
Victoria is actually a fine place with about 200,000 that has most of the
things I’d go to Vancouver for, including a couple nice camera stores, diverse
ethnic restaurants, museums and a thriving waterfront scene. But the last ferry
doesn’t let me do evening events there, unless I’m willing to couch-surf.
> 2. Good airport connectivity
YYJ (Victoria BC) is just a 35 minute ferry and 10 minute taxi away. It only
adds about $40 to any flight, for the 14-minute “puddle jump” to YVR (Vancouver
BC). It would cost five times that much for ferry and parking to drive to YVR,
and a bit more than that to endure three hours of public transport on foot.
> 3. Reasonable cost of living
Okay, you got me on that one. The Chinese and East Indians have invaded
big-time. The average single-family home is over $1M within driving range of
Vancouver. They recently slapped on a 15% foreign buyers tax, but that has only
caused the speculators to buy in Victoria and even Nanaimo, driving up prices
Other than housing, things aren’t too bad. Mercans get “sticker shock” in the
stores, until they realize they’re spending Arctic Pesos. Salaries are
generally commensurately higher, and seasoned IT pros can expect six figures. A
veteran teacher with a Masters can pull down $85k. On the other end, minimum
wage is just $10.85, but most reasonable jobs will pay $20.
> 4. Not too weird (Austin weird is OK, Tulsa is not).
We are definitely “Austin Weird.” Or perhaps Austin aspires to “Southern Gulf
Islands Weird.” I am one of only about 50,000 people in the western hemisphere
who has a Green Party representative at BOTH the Federal and Provincial level.
There are thirteen choirs on this island of 10,000 people. The big social
events of the year (for me) are the Literacy Society’s book sale (12,000 sqft
of used books!) and the Film Festival, which features enviro-social indie films
— it pulls people from as far as Vancouver. The vibrant Saturday Market pulls
people from as far as Alberta, and is a “gotta go” for out-of-town visitors.
(And a big source of our income.)
> The comparative would be Denver.
Meh. We have air you can breathe. And the ocean. And it’s green here most of
the year, rather than brown.
Themed Olympus Photo Exhibition: http://www.tope.nl/