Archive for February, 2004

Boomers bring new vitality to housing market

Thursday, February 19th, 2004


OTTAWA — Older baby boomers are showing no signs of sliding passively into retirement, some even taking on new mortgages to upgrade housing rather than downsizing, as has been the norm for their age group, a report by real-estate firm RE/MAX said yesterday.

The report said a significant number of boomers, the leading edge of whom are aged 58, have been upgrading to more expensive properties and in some cases assuming mortgages, unlike previous generations who typically downsized their homes and cashed in their equity as retirement approached.

For example, 61.6 per cent of Canadian homeowners aged 45 to 54 years held a mortgage in 2001, up from 59 per cent two years earlier, and 39.1 per cent of those aged 55 to 64, up from 35 per cent, it said.

“As the first wave of baby boomers head into their retirement years, realtors and builders alike are scratching their heads,” said Elton Ash, a RE/MAX vice-president. “Most of us work all our lives to be mortgage-free . . . the thought of incurring debt at this stage of the game has given many of us reason to pause.”

The report credits low interest rates and healthy real-estate markets, combined with increased financial security, for much of the shift in the attitudes of those currently nearing retirement age.

“Money is so cheap these days, the principal residence has become part of the overall investment strategy and ultimately, the retirement plan,” Ash said.

However, there are a number of other factors that set boomers apart from their predecessors, the study says. Canadians today are living longer and are more active than previous generations. Many have also accumulated significant wealth.

Those with the wealth are looking for luxury condominiums, communities offering golf and adult lifestyles, secondary residences and smaller homes in better areas.

Older boomers are moving into major centres to be close to family, friends, cultural activities and health-care services, it says, adding they are also fuelling the housing renovation and restoration market with their demands for housing with all the bells and whistles.

They are looking for housing that offers low maintenance, security and location. “Condominium sales, as a result, are on the upswing from coast-to-coast,” the study says, noting condo sales represent anywhere from 31 per cent of total sales in Vancouver and 30 per cent in Toronto and Edmonton, to five per cent in Cornwall.

In contrast, it says normal retirement locations outside Canada, such as Florida, Arizona, and California have lost some of their appeal due to the high cost of health insurance and what was, until recently at least, the depressed value of the loonie.

The report says relatively warmer communities, such as Victoria, Kelowna, Niagara and Halifax are luring boomers.

© The Vancouver Province 2004

BC leads in home building

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004


B.C. will post Canada‘s largest increase in new home construction this year, Royal Bank of Canada economists predict.

Low mortgage rates should buoy house sales in B.C. in 2004 as they ignite a response from the enormous pool of potential first-time homebuyers, RBC economists said yesterday.

The lack of resale supply will force prices sharply upwards, fuelling the biggest annual increase in new home building among the provinces, the economists said. “This shouldn’t be misconstrued as a boom but rather a trend towards building at more demographically consistent levels,” RBC economist Carl Gomez said.

B.C., already Canada‘s least affordable province for housing, has been getting even less affordable, the bank said.

The bank’s housing affordability index for B.C. rose to 42.9 per cent in the final quarter of 2003 from 42.1 per cent in the third quarter. The index measures pre-tax household income needed to service the costs of owning a detached bungalow.

This amounts to a payment of $1,645 per month for an average detached bungalow, including principal, interest, tax and utilities — up 2.6 per cent from the third quarter of 2003.

Vancouver‘s affordability index reached 46.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2003 for an average monthly payment of $1,969, cementing its status as Canada‘s costliest city.

© The Vancouver Province 2004



Bugged homeowners face devastated lawns

Tuesday, February 17th, 2004

The European chafer beetle arrived somewhere around 2001; now the tan-coloured bug may prove unstoppable

Steve Whysall

Conway Lum displays beetles that are infesting lawns and golf courses across the Lower Mainland. CREDIT: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun

A devastating beetle infestation sweeping the Lower Mainland is expected to destroy thousands of lawns and ruin large grass areas at parks and golf courses unless an environmentally acceptable method is quickly found to stop the invasion.

The European chafer beetle (Rhizotrogus majalis) first surfaced in New Westminster a couple of years ago. Since then, it has spread to Burnaby, where it is currently killing lawns throughout the South Slope area. So far, there are no reported outbreaks in Vancouver.

Experts predict this could spell the end of the perfectly manicured garden lawn in countless neighbourhoods. Homeowners anxious to preserve their pristine lawns are being told the only workable solution at the moment is to be willing to put in much more time de-bugging, watering and fertilizing and repairing damaged grass.

Many homeowners are noticing the problem for the first time this month as they step outside to find large areas of lawn torn up by raccoons, skunks and crows in search of chafer grubs. Lawns are left overturned as if they had been severely power raked.

The tough-shelled beetle is virtually indestructible and especially difficult to eradicate once it gets into an established cycle of reproduction.

Solutions being suggested include the replacement of lawns with hard landscaping such as brick, slate or hardy groundcovers such as kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos.)

Homeowners desperate to keep their beautiful lawns are being told that if increased maintenance does not work, the only other option is to use pesticides to kill the beetles in their developmental stage.

However, this solution flies in the face of the current trend and popular wisdom to shun the use of pesticides, excessive use of chemical fertilizers, and to save water by allowing lawns to go brown and dormant during the hot summer months.

The chafer beetle has been a problem in eastern North America for many years, but it was first identified as a new insect to B.C. in 2001.

Measuring half an inch long, the adult beetle is tan coloured and resembles a smaller version of the familiar June beetle. The chafer completes its life cycle in one year.

In June and July, it can been seen flying up from the ground into high trees or other vertical objects such as chimneys and telephone poles where it mates before diving back to the ground, preferring lawn areas, to lay its eggs. During the fall and winter, the grubs feed voraciously on the fibrous roots of grass. The problem for homeowners becomes more obvious in spring and early fall, when the grubs come closer to the surface of the ground, making them a tasty morsel for birds, raccoons and skunks.

In spring, the seriousness of the problem is often masked by rain which keeps the grass moist and the damage less noticeable.

When warmer, drier weather arrives in late spring, lawns quickly show the extent of the root damage, with large areas of grass turning into dead, brown patches, especially undesirable in a park or on a golf course.

In July, the adult beetles are frequently mistaken for bees as they fly around in swarms and feed at dusk on the leaves of deciduous trees. Some homeowners have noticed the frenzied beetles crashing against windows. Fortunately, they seldom cause any significant damage.

One way to check if you suspect that your lawn has been infected is to cut a piece of a 12-inch square of turf and fold it back to a depth of two inches. If you find more than 20 grubs, you have a serious infestation.

There are no reliable biological controls. Experiments have been conducted with nematodes — organisms comprising thousands of microscopic worms that infect the beetle like a bacteria — but this method of control has so far proven to be expensive and the results have been unpredictable.

Sophie Dessureault, integrated pest management coordinator with the Vancouver park board, is more optimistic about the effectiveness of nematodes.

“We did some tests last year and the results were very encouraging. We have to do more experiments to see if this is the way to go,” she says.

Insecticides such as diazonon and carbaryl (Sevin) have been found to be effective if applied at precisely the right time in late July or early August after the beetles have laid their eggs to complete their life cycle.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

‘Smart’ home does a lot of thinking on your behalf

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

HOUSING I Design features for the future include a fridge that checks expiry dates and keyless entry


So, what does the home of the near future, say 2010, look like? A visit to the Microsoft Home in the Executive Briefing Center at Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., campus offers a glimpse.

Built in 1994 and last updated in May 2002, the home is not much like a house on the outside, but inside the completely furnished one-storey abode has a hallway, a dining room, a family room, a working kitchen, an office and a bedroom.

“The purpose of the Microsoft Home is to explore the various ways technology can change lives in the near future,” says Jonathan Cluts, director of consumer prototyping and strategy at Microsoft, who was doing double duty as a well-versed tour guide.

Cluts says this “smart” home — a computer-controlled dwelling complemented by smart appliances, voice recognition and wireless high-speed Internet access — is expected to be a reality within five to eight years. While there are not any Microsoft products obviously displayed (save for a Media Centre-branded PC and a Xbox video-game system), behind the scenes its Windows platform runs the concept home’s ecosystem.

Best of all, Cluts says, it will not be cost prohibitive, and will be easy to integrate into existing homes.

As an example of how fast the prices of these technologies are falling, the iris scanner built into the front door was more than $10,000 US when it was implemented in 2000. In 2002, when the Microsoft Home was updated, the same scanner cost $500 US, and it has dropped by half since.

Some points of interest in the home include:

Doorway: The front door has one glaring omission — a keyhole. Instead, there is the iris scanner, a small camera lens that uses “biometrics” technology to identify visitors. When the home acknowledges the owner, it grants entry by unlocking the door and temporarily disabling the alarm. As a backup, residents can opt for a personal identification number, or wear enough “RF-ID” tags (inexpensive identification tags that transmit data via electromagnetic waves) on their clothes to grant access.

Hallway: Inside, we were greeted with Cluts’s favourite music, while in the family room, a TV automatically turned on and tuned to his preferred channel. Before heading to the kitchen, Cluts checked a console for video messages left by visitors to the home.

Kitchen: Easily the most impressive room, the kitchen tour began when Cluts plopped ingredients down on the countertop. The home asked if we would like help with dinner (it knew the time of day). After replying in the affirmative, a hidden ceiling projector beamed recipe ideas and mixing instructions on to the countertop. They were relevant recipes based on the available ingredients (e.g. flour, chicken) because of the food’s RF-ID tags. Think of a smart bar code that contains product information. Imagine a fridge that will tell you when the milk has expired. Or a cupboard that informs you when you are out of breadcrumbs. That is what the information stored on the RF-ID tags can do.

Family Room: The widescreen high-definition television does not look much different than a 61-inch high-end plasma screen, but it will cost a fraction of the price. Viewers will be able to chat with friends or pick up e-mails while watching TV, or play an online video game.

Before ordering a pay-per-view movie via video-on-demand technology, Cluts begins to read a child’s storybook. The home asks if he would like it enhanced. He agrees, and each page is accompanied by changing light patterns, images on the TV screen and well-timed sound effects.

As for lighting, tiny LED lights in the family room are a “simple light source with good brightness — but much more energy efficient, with a 100-year life span.

I was fascinated with this technology and how seamlessly it was integrated into what appeared to be an ordinary home, but I still wonder if it is wise to live in a home that is smarter than I am.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004


BC boom works against self-contracting

Friday, February 13th, 2004

Shell Busey

Q: I have recently purchased a building lot in Chilliwack. I looked-up contractors and builders through the Fraser Valley Builders Association and tried to contact two or three, without success. Can you recommend a custom builder in the Chilliwack area? How much should I be looking at for a finished square foot? Would the range be $95 to $115, depending upon terrain, house plan and amenities?

Clive, Vancouver

A: My suggestion would have been what you’ve already tried. Unfortunately, you have picked the wrong time to build your own home acting as your own contractor. Building a custom home at this time would be difficult because the housing market in our province is at an all-time high and most of the builders are too busy to take on additional projects.

I suggest you pay a visit to the Fraser Valley Home Builders office to register your concern.

Q: Our house is 12 years old. The problem is within the house and every winter the ceiling separates from the wall. The area affected is a closet-pantry area, which is an island separating the kitchen-dining and living and hall areas. In the summer, the gap closes up tight. In some places the gap is more than 1/2 inch in the winter.

Mel, Abbotsford

A: This is commonly known as truss uplift and is usually caused by poor roof ventilation and ceiling draft proofing. Contact our HouseSmart roofing division when it’s time to replace your roof because that’s the best time to correct the situation. Our roofing division deals with your roof as a system with ventilation and draft proofing taken into consideration. To repair it as a separate project would be quite costly due to the amount of labour involved. The structure of the home is not being damaged by leaving it alone for the time being.

Q: I live in a townhouse in Richmond, with the master bedroom on the second floor facing north (very little direct sun exposure). In the cold months of the year, the aluminum window fogs up during the night and water collects all over the glass and frame. This, of course, causes water to collect at the bottom of the window frame track, and promotes the growth of mildew, which I am constantly trying to clean up. Is there a solution to this problem?

Deiter, Richmond

A: It sounds as though your home requires more exhaust ventilation, such as bathroom- and kitchen-exhaust fans. After each bath or shower, your exhaust fan should run at least one hour; if it’s two showers, then run it for two hours and so on. As well, one of your fans can be operated by a dehumidistat that will take out the guesswork. A dehumidistat will turn the fan on and leave it on as long as excess moisture is indicated. If you don’t have an efficient bathroom exhaust fan, call the HouseSmart Referral Network at 604-542-2236 to get a referral for a quote on installing a proper fan to exhaust excess moisture.

Q: I have an older house whose basement ceiling has a tongue-and-groove type “cardboard” tiles. They were installed right to the underside of the joists. The tiles are about 16 x 32 inches. Recently, I had to change the water-pressure valve, which was located in the basement ceiling. The plumber had to open up the tiles and in doing so, the three pieces were damaged and not re-usable. I can’t find any. Can I still buy them and if not, what would be the best way to cover up the ceiling?

Theng, Vancouver

A: The ceiling you describe is known as a ten-test CIP ceiling tile that was very common back in the ’60s and ’70s. Unfortunately they are no longer available.

My suggestion would be to remove the individual tiles around the perimeter in order to obtain enough to replace the area damaged by the plumber. This will transfer the problem of missing tiles to the outside border. Add some blocking between the floor joists to accommodate a 16×16-inch tile. You can then use Donnacona board cut into 16-inch wide pieces around the perimeter, forming a border. Then paint the ceiling blending the old with the new.

Shell Busey hosts a weekly radio show on CKNW from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Sunday mornings and a weekly TV show, Home Check, on Global Saturday mornings. Look for Shell’s new book It’s Just That Easy; Volume 4 (Shell Busey’s House Smart Centre, $16.95) which offers answers to many of the most commonly asked questions dealt with in this column.

© The Vancouver Province 2004


Home warranties suspended for grow ops

Friday, February 13th, 2004


 Strategic information for REBGV Realtors
February 13 , 2004 

Windsor forsees more home warranty suspensions as non-residential and illicit purposes continue to increase.

Home warranties suspended for grow ops

As police counterattacks against grow-ops throughout the Lower Mainland soar, so do the negative impacts of this criminal commerce.
    Recently, National Home Warranty Programs Ltd., which serves one-third of the BC new home warranty program, has sent some homeowners letters notifying them that their home warranty has been suspended because their home had been identified as a former grow-operation.
    Ray Windsor, chief operating officer at New Home Warranty, says it’s impossible to guarantee a home once used for growing marijuana because of damage from moisture and heat which causes mold, as well as other dangerous hazards including bad electrical wiring.
    While the Homeowner Protection Act does not specifically refer to grow-ops or associated defects, homes for uses ‘other than residential’ can have exclusions to their warranty. Grow-ops fall into this category.
    Windsor foresees more home warranty suspensions as non-residential and illicit purposes continue to increase. Cooperation between companies like his, and local police detachments, are now more common.
    Sensitive legal issues regarding privacy must be observed by Windor’s company, as they pertain not only to criminal proceedings, but the protection of homeowners’ privacy.
    “You can’t just say, okay everyone knows that this house on this street is a grow-op and proceed from there,” says Windsor. “What we need is for the police to inform us that a house has been identified as a grow house before we can do anything.”
    From there his company sends a notification letter about a suspension of a home warranty to the Superintendent of Real Estate, the municipality, and the homeowner explaining the reasons.
    Windsor says his company has its own inspectors who thoroughly examine a home to determine if there are problems. If there are and they’ve been caused by grow operations, the warranty could be excluded from coverage, in whole or in part.
    In some cases, a home will retain part of its warranty – for example, the house foundation, if it’s unaffected by grow operations, while excluding wiring and plumbing, which may be directly affected.
    In other cases, the warranty suspension can be reversed pending a review. Some homes may remain in warranty suspension indefinitely and some may undergo remediation and have their warranty reinstated.
    The Homeowner Protection Act and Regulations, in effect as of July 1 1999, require all residential builders to be licensed by the Homeowner Protection office and to have third party warranty insurance to obtain a building permit in BC.
    Legislated home warranty insurance covers two years on labour and materials, five years on the building envelope, and ten years on structure.
    For more information, go online to the home protection program at or contact one of the companies that provide home warranty products.

Cannery restaurant builds boat dock to lure English Bay, Burrard Inlet tours

Thursday, February 12th, 2004


The Cannery Seafood House is hoping this year’s boating season will bring in new customers to its new boat dock.

“It was put in a bit too late for last year, but we’re expecting it to do very well this year,” said Steve Bickerdike, director of sales and marketing.

The restaurant spent about $60,000 on the 60-foot-long dock designed to berth the class of vessels now being used for tours of English Bay and Burrard Inlet as well as large yachts and runabouts.

“These tour vessels can carry about 100 passengers. Now that we have the dock we can offer tour companies an exciting destination where they can stop over for lunch or dinner during a cruise,” he said.

Bickerdike said the company added the dock after market research showed tour companies would welcome such a facility.

“We’d been planning to do it for years, but it always ended up on the back burner,” he said.

Private vessels are welcome to use the dock, but Bickerdike said operators should call ahead to check if the space has been scheduled for a tour group.

He said the company was hoping to attract at least 20 large tour groups a season.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Housing prices still on the rise

Thursday, February 12th, 2004

Wendy McLellan

Prices for new homes are still rising, says a report released yesterday by Statistics Canada.

According to its new-home pricing index, Victoria had Canada‘s largest 12-month price increases, with a 10.2-per-cent hike between December 2002 and December 2003. In comparison, Vancouver‘s new housing prices increased 3.9 per cent during the same period.

The increases are mainly due to higher prices for labour and building materials as well as higher land prices in some centres.

“Builders are doing what they can to hold prices down, but their costs are rising,” said Peter Simpson, chief operating officer for the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association.

“When the cost of land, materials and labour are increasing, it’s a triple whammy. And it’s all added to the cost of housing.”

Chris Janssen, a business professor at the University of Victoria, said low interest rates are keeping mortgages affordable despite the rising cost of housing. But he said people may have to look outside urban centres for lower prices.

“Some people may have to suffer longer commutes if they work downtown,” Janssen said. “We may be heading in the same direction as Manhattan.”

The New Housing Index surveys selling prices in 21 urban centres across the country.

The current report shows housing prices in Canada increased an average of five per cent in the 12-month period.

© The Vancouver Province 2004


$400-million North Shore development underway

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

Condos, parks and hotel planned; mayor wants project fast-tracked for 2010 Olympics

Wyng Chow


The $400-million redevelopment by Michael De Cotiis will extend from Lonsdale east to the Versatile Shipyards in North Vancouver.

CREDIT: Peter Battistoni, Vancouver Sun

More than two years of planning and design work have culminated in the start of construction on a massive $400-million redevelopment of North Vancouver‘s waterfront east of Lonsdale Quay for residential and commercial uses.

The revitalization of the historic, 5.2 hectare (12.9 acres) Versatile Pacific and Burrard Shipyards site represents one of the most significant waterfront revivals in the Lower Mainland, North Vancouver city Mayor Barbara Sharp said Monday.

She wants to see the project fast-tracked and finished in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The project, undertaken by Vancouver-based Pinnacle International, calls for creation of various amenities and infrastructure, including a maritime museum, pedestrian bridges and walkways, and refurbishment of a 213-metre (700 feet) shipyard pier, providing public access to that particular area of the North Shore waterfront for the first time in a century.

“This is like a reclaiming of the waterfront for the people who live here,” Sharp said in an interview. “The whole development will become a real legacy for the City of North Vancouver.

“It’s about sustainability, a combination of social, economic and environmental aspects.

“We want the entire project finished in time for the 2010 Olympics.”

Pinnacle’s project, called The Pier, totals 1.16 million square feet, and is to include:

* Eight condominium towers, ranging up to 23 storeys, comprising about 1,000 residential units.

* One seven-storey, 110-room “boutique-style” hotel, with retail outlets and 20,000 square feet of convention and conference space.

* A five-storey, 50,000-square-foot office building.

* About 65,000 square feet of retail shops, restaurants and galleries.

* More than 20,000 square feet of recreation and clubhouse facilities.

* More than one kilometre of public walkways, waterfront, pedestrian bridges and piers, plus large dedicated public plazas and open space.

* A heritage precinct with four historic shipyard buildings restored and revitalized with restaurants and shops. The largest heritage building, called The Machine Shop, will be given to the city for use as a public amenity to highlight its colourful history and other facets of the community, including local industry’s leadership in underwater technology and design.

The precinct approved by the city will celebrate the history of shipbuilding in North Vancouver, particularly during the Second World War, when more than 2,000 people, including hundreds of women, worked there in a massive shipbuilding effort.

The restoration of the pier — which will be able to accommodate at least tall ships and naval frigates — will transform it into a public promenade, complete with lighting, seating, integrated art and historic artifacts.

“As a working shipyard, this property made a significant contribution to the heritage and history of North Vancouver,” said developer Michael De Cotiis, president of his privately held Pinnacle International.

“The Pier redevelopment is destined to become one of the community’s proudest and most dynamic destinations, and by later this spring, we can all look forward to the waterfront walkway and piers being accessible to the public for the first time in 100 years.”

Once the public amenities are completed during the project’s first phase, Pinnacle plans to begin construction and realignment of the East Esplanade streetscape.

The roadway is to be improved to include new parking spots, bicycle lanes, sidewalks and landscaping. Water and sewer lines will also be upgraded, while hydro and telephone lines are placed underground.

Over the next half-dozen years, De Cotiis expects the various phases to create about 500 new jobs.

“The former shipyard will become a vibrant and exciting focal point for the community,” he said. “After the project is finished, it will become a tourist attraction to complement Lonsdale Quay.”

Sharp said she is especially enthusiastic about Pinnacle’s planned creation of convention space that she says is currently non-existent in North Vancouver.

“That’s a real boom for the economy as well,” the mayor said.

Pinnacle’s development manager, Kerry Kukucha, said the 20,000 square feet of convention and conference facilities will include a 5,000-square-foot ballroom, making it the “single largest venue on the North Shore.”

Asked whether the developer will be able to meet Sharp’s desire to see the project completed before 2010, Kukucha said: “The vast majority will be finished by then.”

De Cotiis‘ previous high-profile residential developments include the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel & Residences, the Classico and Venus condo towers, all in downtown Vancouver; the Pinnacle International Hotel and Resort in Whistler; the Perla and Jade in Richmond, and the Bellagio in Toronto.

He is currently building the upscale Pinnacle Museum Tower near the waterfront in San Diego.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004


Housing starts soar in January

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

Metro Vancouver number is best in nine years and is an advance of 140 per cent over January ’03

Wyng Chow

New residential housing construction in Greater Vancouver soared 140 per cent in January, compared to the same period a year ago, but developers still can’t keep up with demand for homes.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported Monday a total of 1,619 units broke ground last month — the highest level for the month of January in nine years — in the Lower Mainland, up from 677 starts in January 2003.

“We haven’t seen this many January housing starts since 1995,” said Cameron Muir, CMHC’s senior Vancouver market analyst.

“Demand for new housing continues to outstrip supply in [Greater] Vancouver, with many home builders sold out of available inventory.”

Of the 1,619 new starts last month, condominiums accounted for 1,235 of them, compared to 244 units in January 2003 — a whopping 406-per-cent increase.

However, condominium developers find it virtually impossible to meet consumer demand, as the number of new condos that are finished and unoccupied in the region has dropped 95 per cent over the past five years.

CMHC tracking shows there were 2,624 units complete and unoccupied at the start of 1999. Currently, there are only 141, including only five units in Vancouver‘s downtown core.

Said Muir: “Low inventories are not only a result of strong consumer demand, but also a product of limited developable land, difficulties in finding skilled tradespeople and bottlenecks in the [project] approval process.

“The time between the conception and completion of a housing development has lengthened, making it more difficult for home builders to respond to demand in a timely manner.”

Across the province, housing starts climbed 93.5 per cent to 2,365 units in January, up from 1,222 units the previous year. Multiple starts last month totalled 1,588 units, a 235-per-cent increase from 474 units in January 2003.

For all of 2004, CMHC forecasts 27,000 new starts for B.C., up three per cent from 26,174 actual starts last year.

“Low mortgage rates, solid job growth and rising consumer confidence will continue to fuel home sales,” Muir said. “Strong economic fundamentals are expected to continue through 2004, keeping demand for housing robust.”

© The Vancouver Sun 2004