As a newly retired guy I’ve developed a couple of new pastimes:
1. I now check the obituaries every day, just to see who I know, and
2. I daydream a lot about devising a sure-fire, low risk, high return money-making scheme to supplement my meager pension.
This week those pastimes collided, and, with a sudden firing of aging synapses, a brilliant idea was born – it’s sure to make me millions !
What Vancouver needs, I muse, is a Catacomb!- that’s right, an honest to goodness commercial crypt- a honkin’ big hole in the ground where the remains of the dearly departed can be elegantly laid to rest (for a fee). All the truly world-class cities have them- after all, what would Paris or Rome be without theirs? and consider Central America, where every old church basement is a crypt- One of Lima’s Cathedrals, for example, boasts over 30,000 skulls in its cellar.
With land prices reaching the dizzying heights of $400 per build-able square foot, and all of our existing cemeteries quickly running out of space, we need to start re-thinking our tradition of ye olde pine box, six feet under. Jerusalem, a truly ancient city, with limited available land, has already grasped the nettle, and has started construction on several kilometers of tunnels beneath the city to serve as modern days catacombs.
The Israelis are dropping a cool $50 million on their project, which is a little rich for an entrepreneur on CPP, so I got to thinking- where can I lay my hands on a large unused empty space beneath the streets of Vancouver?
Well dear reader, it turns out that there exists such a space – it’s the Canada Post tunnel -2400 feet of tunnel built in the 1950’s and leading from the main post office, along Dunsmuir Street, then beneath Richards Street to West Cordoba, and ultimately to Waterfront station. It was originally designed to transport mail sacks being offloaded from the transcontinental trains, via a conveyor belt to the post office.
It would make a perfect crypt ( indeed until recently the city used to quietly rent it out as a movie set) it is drilled though bedrock, and concrete lined and even has electricity. (I figure all I’d have to do would be to install some shelving, pretty up the entrance a bit and add a sales office, and presto, we are in business with North America’s first commercial catacomb. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, the biggest hurdle may well be obtaining a business licence for the venture, since we will have to keep a secret from Mayor Roberson- you see, back in the day, posties used to ride through the tunnel on their bicycles! If Mayor Happy Planet ever gets wind of that, my putative catacomb is doomed in favour of Canada’s first subterranean bike lane .
Keep your fingers crossed for me, and watch this space for my Kick-Starter campaign to crowd fund the crypt!