Archive for April, 2004

GVRD faces tough water restrictions

Friday, April 30th, 2004

Hot, dry summer could mean a total ban on watering

William Boei
Sun

LOWER MAINLAND – Greater Vancouver residents may face the toughest-ever water-use restrictions this year as another hot, dry summer is expected to strain the region’s drinking-water supplies.

Water district officials are considering adopting a plan to tighten existing regulations and give the region the power to impose dramatic new measures that would ban virtually all outdoor uses of drinking water during a severe water shortage.

“This stage would only be required for the most extreme of situations,” says a water district staff report that outlines the draft Water Shortage Response Plan.

But it may come to that this year if the summer is as hot and dry as last year’s, said Surrey Coun. Marvin Hunt, who chairs the boards of both the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the Greater Vancouver Water District.

The emergency stage would ban all lawn and garden watering, including commercial gardens and turf farms; stop watering of artificial turf, playing fields, parks, cemetery lawns and golf courses; shut commercial car washes; prohibit refilling of private swimming pools, and shut public pools, water-play parks and fountains.

“Yeah, there’s an awful lot of stuff in there that is really, really tough,” Hunt said Thursday.

“But if we find ourselves in that same position again as we did last year with the consumption of water, we’re going to be there.”

The Greater Vancouver Water District’s board is meeting today to consider setting up a public consultation process for the plan, possibly including a public meeting in May to hear from delegations.

The revised plan was commissioned last year after unusually dry weather in summer and early fall forced the district to ban lawn-watering completely and keep a high level of restrictions in effect until seasonal rains finally arrived in October.

There are signs of similar conditions this year. With only sunshine in the forecast for today, this month is expected to be the region’s second-sunniest and third-driest April on record.

By midnight tonight, Vancouver will have had about 251 hours of sunshine, second only to April 1951′s remarkable 294.1 hours. This month’s 14 millimetres of precipitation compares with 13 millimetres in 1973 and 13.7 in 1956.

The long-term outlook is for a drier and slightly warmer summer than normal, Environment Canada said Thursday.

The water district adopted the current shortage response plan in 1993, when population growth and limited storage capacity first presented the prospect of shortages.

It requested a staff review after last summer, when a tight water supply and high warm-weather water usage forced the district to impose the most strenuous restrictions yet.

Hunt said the problem is not so much a shortage of water as a shortage of water storage capacity. The district has three reservoirs and two small lakes in several watersheds in the North Shore mountains for drinking water storage. It has restricted access to only the largest, the Coquitlam reservoir.

“We get lots of rain here, but we just haven’t the capacity to store it up there,” Hunt said. “So we have to make sure that what is there is going to last us through the summer until sometime in October, when we usually get the rains coming again.”

The water district is also working on longer-term plans to solve the problem, Hunt said.

It is trying to encourage individual municipalities to adopt water metering and other measures to reduce use, and is urging municipalities and the provincial government to consider building code changes such as requiring toilet tanks that use less water.

“Really, we use an awful lot of water compared to the rest of the world,” Hunt said.

As well, the district is in long-term talks to get access to a larger share of the Coquitlam reservoir, most of which is controlled by BC Hydro. “We are in negotiations with BC Hydro over that,” Hunt said. “It’s got a number of layers of process to go through.”

[email protected]

‘WHAT IFS’ FOR DROUGHT SCENARIO:

Greater Vancouver‘s proposed new Water Shortage Response Plan calls for escalating stages of action. Each successive stage includes all measures from the previous one.

STAGE ONE

When: June 1 to Sept. 30 or longer

Lawn sprinkling: Restricted to early-morning and evening hours two days a week.

Car and boat washing: Only with hoses that have spring-loaded shut-off valves.

Cemetery lawns, artificial turf and outdoor tracks, municipal lawns and boulevards: Limited watering.

Routine municipal hydrant flushing: None.

STAGE TWO

When: As needed

Lawn sprinkling: One day a week.

Water play parks: Some shut off.

Public and commercial fountains and water features: All shut down.

Sidewalk and driveway washing and pressure-washing: Banned except for health and safety reasons.

Cemeteries, etc.: More restrictions.

STAGE THREE

When: As needed

Lawn sprinkling: Totally prohibited.

Flower and vegetable gardens, shrubs and trees: Watering only by hand.

Golf courses, etc.: Watering cranked down to minimum levels.

Water play parks: Most shut down.

Private pools, spas and garden ponds: No refilling.

Outdoor car or boat washing: None — except for windows and lights.

STAGE FOUR

When: As needed

Watering: None of any kind, including commercial flower and vegetable gardens.

Commercial car washes: Shut down.

Water play parks: All shut down.

Municipal outdoor pools: All closed.

Watering of any kind using drinking water at turf farms, golf courses, municipal lawns, etc.: None.

NOTE: None of these restrictions apply to watering with rain water, “grey” water, other forms of recycled water, or other sources of water besides regional district drinking water.

Source: GVRD Frank Myrskog, Vancouver Sun

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

City ponders tough stand on dog licences

Friday, April 30th, 2004

Report recommends increasing budget for animal-control services

Frances Bula
Sun

VANCOUVER - Vancouver is about to embark on a new program to require dog owners to buy licences for their pets.

The city also plans to increase penalties for mistreatment or lack of control, and to educate people about responsible dog ownership.

The new program will include such measures as having police officers accompany animal-control officers at parks and beaches, starting this summer, so they can require owners to produce identification and fine them if their dogs don’t have a licence.

All of the new plans, going to council for approval next Thursday, are the result of a changing Vancouver dog world.

The dog population is soaring, along with the human population. More people see their dogs as part of the family, which means they believe they should have the right to go everywhere with them. And more people in apartments are buying dogs, which increases the demand for public space.

The downside of all that has been more attacks by vicious dogs, more complaints from people about dogs in public spaces, and more complaints about how people treat their dogs.

“We feel we’ve done a great job so far. Now we need to take that next step,” said the city’s chief licence inspector, Paul Teichroeb.

The report going to council recommends increasing the budget for animal-control services to $1.7 million, from the current $1 million, over the next six years.

It paints an ominous picture of what could happen if Vancouver doesn’t improve its animal-control services.

“The status quo could lead to more people and dogs being injured, an erosion in residents’ sense of security, an escalation in conflict between dog owners and non-dog owners [and] and greater sense of entitlement for bylaw violators.”

The biggest chunk of the budget, about $200,000, would go to hiring four more animal-control officers to add to the nine currently working.

It’s hoped the city can cover part of the extra costs by bringing in extra money from licences. In 2002, it issued only 15,750 dog licences, which is conservatively estimated as representing only a third of the dogs in Vancouver. A recent poll indicated the total population is about 44,000, although figures on dog-to-human ratios elsewhere indicate the number could be as high as 56,000.

Licences are $34 for spayed and neutered dogs, $54 for those that aren’t.

Teichroeb said there’s no plan to increase the licence fees. He just wants all dog owners to buy a licence. If the city could achieve even 80-per-cent compliance from 44,000 dog owners, it would bring in an additional $675,000.

In Calgary, 90,000 dogs are licensed, which is estimated to be 92 per cent of the population.

Teichroeb said there is also a plan to rebuild the city’s animal shelter at some point. Vancouver‘s shelter already had to be expanded recently, from 32 kennels to 48, because of the “no kill” policy it adopted.

But it still doesn’t have the kind of space it needs to make sure the dogs get lots of exercise and for the 200 volunteers who come down to work with them.

Teichroeb said the plan is going to go out to the public for feedback on this often controversial issue.

Margaret Newton of the Vancouver Dog Owners Association said the group hasn’t had a chance to see the plan, but is looking forward to responding to it at the public sessions.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Mine water could heat Britannia Beach

Friday, April 30th, 2004

Death of heavy metal is music to the ears of these pollution-fighters

William Boei
Sun

An artist’s sketch of Britannia Beach, produced by a design workshop of landscape architects and stakeholders. The old mine town south of Squamish would be transformed into a tourist town. CREDIT: Vancouver Sun files

University of B.C. researchers are designing a community-wide geothermal heating system for Britannia Beach, using the same runoff water that made the Howe Sound community one of the worst mine pollution sites in North America.

The system would extract heat from the warm water that runs out of the old Britannia copper mine, said UBC mining engineering professor John Meech.

“If we can pull this off, it helps move Britannia from being the eyesore of the industry to something that becomes a showcase for the world,” said Meech, who heads UBC’s Centre for Environmental Research in Minerals, Metals and Materials.

The project has not yet been funded or approved by the provincial government, but it would work hand-in-glove with an acid water treatment plant the province is commissioning to strip heavy metals, especially copper and zinc, from the mine runoff.

The government said this week it has short-listed three consortiums bidding to build the treatment plant as a public-private partnership. The plant is scheduled to open in the fall of 2005.

UBC mining engineers have built two gigantic plugs in old mine shafts to block multiple runoff sources and divert them into a single stream that is being piped directly into the deep layers of Howe Sound instead of flowing down Britannia Creek. One plug, built of sand, gravel and clay and being installed this year, is known as the Millennium Plug, because it is expected to last 1,000 years.

“Britannia Creek is now free of significant copper and zinc levels, and there are signs of salmon fry coming back to the mouth of the creek,” Meech said.

The treatment plant is expected to eliminate — almost overnight — the heavy-metal pollution that has created a dead zone in Howe Sound since the mine closed in the mid-1970s.

The runoff from the mine is a nearly constant 13 C to 14 C year-round.

A geothermal plant would use heat exchangers to extract heat from the runoff, either before it enters the treatment plant or after it leaves, and use it to heat clean water that would circulate through a closed-loop community distribution system.

“Each user would have a heat pump that can extract the heat into their homes for personal use or into their business,” Meech said. “It would supply 45-degree water, which is more than enough for heating a home or even supplying hot water.”

The system could supply heat to 1,200 people, four times Britannia Beach‘s current population of over 300.

A utility company would be formed to install and maintain the distribution system. Residents’ heating bills would fall significantly, Meech said, and the provincial government, which now “owns” the mine runoff water, could expect to collect a royalty.

Meech said his research centre is considering a small demonstration project that would be built after the treatment plant opens, followed by a heat distribution system for the existing town. It would be expanded as new development takes place.

Development companies that own land north and south of the existing townsite have plans to build 400 to 500 new homes in the near future.

“We could heat all of that with what’s available,” Meech said. “And with that kind of phased-in approach, the economics look very attractive.

“Everybody benefits from this because it’s a resource that’s green. It takes what is currently a very negative thing and turns it into a positive. And everybody gets something out of it.”

There are also plans, first revealed last fall, to turn Britannia Beach into a major tourist stop capable of attracting 400,000 to 500,000 tourists per year.

The centrepiece would be an expanded B.C. Museum of Mining, with its existing museum in the old mine buildings representing past mining practices, exhibits of current environmental mining technology, and a research centre to develop new technologies such as magnetic levitation hoisting and isolating a virus that targets the bacteria that generate acid rock drainage.

Project backers are hoping to get funding from UBC and the federal government. The Museum of Mining is working on a feasibility study.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Form meets function in new building

Friday, April 30th, 2004

Research centre’s new home is a wonder of architectural iconography

Shelley Fralic
Sun

 

The architecture crew behind the centre includes (from left) Richard Henriquez, David Thom, Mike Zeng, Rui Numes, Ivo Taller, Peter Willemse, Ron Eagleston, Christian Schimert, Raj Nath, Yijin Wen, and sitting Daniel Friesen, Frank Stebner.

CREDIT: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun

There are buildings in Vancouver that make you shake your head and wonder what on earth the architect was thinking.

The bunker on the northeast corner of Georgia and Thurlow does that for me. Its 1968 unveiling was the talk of the town, as was its renowned architect, Arthur Erickson, who designed the stark concrete and glass office tower for forestry giant MacMillan Bloedel.

More than three decades later, it’s still a building you either love or hate.

I hate it. It has always been called, and not kindly, the waffle building. It looked then, and does now, like a hard, dirty ice cube tray.

Then there are buildings that make you beam. For me, these are the ones that wear their years with grace, their edifices still strong and distinct against our young skyline. The Marine Building. The Hotel Vancouver. Tudor Manor. The Sylvia Hotel. Carnegie Centre. The Rogers Mansion.

It’s all very subjective, of course. One woman’s fondness for brick and leaded glass is another man’s decaying eyesore.

But then architecture — from Bauhaus to your house — is all about the visceral, especially for those of us who know zilch about building form and site influences.

And now there’s a new kid on the block to get the town talking.

It rises 14 storeys over the soft, south slope of False Creek, near Vancouver General Hospital. You can’t miss it if you’re out that way, because it has round windows.

Sixty-eight of them.

Officially, it’s called the BC Cancer Research Centre. It’s 231,000 square feet, cost nearly $100 million (including funding from the BC Cancer Foundation, which owns the building), and will house eight cancer research departments and some of the world’s most respected scientists, among them the folks at the Genome Sciences Centre who sequenced the SARS virus.

In all, about 60 principal scientists and 600 technical and medical staff will work there. Its amenities will include a restaurant, an auditorium and a research library. The building will open for business at year’s end.

Here’s the cool stuff: It has an external spiral double helix staircase connecting the office tower to the sustainable lab building, where the mechanical equipment is sandwiched between each lab floor.

All the windows, the round ones for the labs and the square ones in the adjoining office tower, are fitted in coloured glass strips, emulating chromosome 8.

The top-floor meeting room has an amoeba-shaped roof and, in time, there will be a bridge over 10th Avenue to the nearby BC Cancer Agency, and an atrium on the building’s east side.

It was designed by IBI Group Henriquez Partners, a Vancouver joint venture that counts the Justice Institute in New Westminster among its heralded work.

Back to the round windows.

They are what drew me to Richard Henriquez’s office, in a gorgeous old bank at Pender and Homer, my new favourite heritage building.

Henriquez and his architectural firm have been changing Vancouver‘s skyscape since 1969, with projects like the False Creek Housing Co-Op (those red roofs are his) and the UBC Student Recreation Centre.

The Jamaica-born, Cambridge-educated Henriquez is soft-spoken and not given to self-congratulation. He is quick to credit the entire team that worked on the cancer building.

But the round windows, he confesses, were his idea.

“Petri dishes,” he says, as if it isn’t obvious. “They’re Petri dishes.”

Of course.

The Petri dishes, the DNA staircase, the chromosome 8 glass, the amoeba roof — all are architectural iconography, and they are what will stake this building’s claim in Vancouver‘s history.

That, and the brilliant scientists at work within.

Or, as Henriquez more eloquently puts it: “They are all the little bits that go together to make a cure for cancer.”

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Downtown Vancouver condos command top premium in Canada

Friday, April 30th, 2004

Sun

 

Century 21 looked at what $1 million would buy in major cities. For the Vancouver area it found a two-bedroom condo downtown with a view or an eight-bedroom house in Surrey.

CREDIT: Vancouver Sun files

People in Canada‘s luxury housing market are paying a premium of more than $500 per square foot to live in downtown Vancouver, compared with an average of only $205 among four other major cities, according to a survey released Thursday by Century 21.

In the study, Canadian brokers from the international real estate firm scoured Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton to find the best deals for an executive home in the $1 million range, looking both at exclusive inner-city and suburban locations.

The most dramatic variations turned up in Greater Vancouver — which already boasts the country’s highest residential property prices — where purchasers could choose between a two-bedroom, 1,760-square-foot downtown waterfront condominium for $1.175 million, or a 6,600-square-foot, eight-bedroom house in Surrey for $999,000.

The downtown condo, attractive because of its urban conveniences, costs $671 per square foot, compared with the Surrey home’s $150 — among the best dollar values in the country — a difference of $521.

“The much larger differential for the Vancouver property is probably attributable to the premium that investors are willing to pay for the big West Coast view — that water and mountain vista that isn’t available in any other Canadian centre,” said Don Lawby, president of Vancouver-based Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership.

For the survey, Century 21 brokers selected representative executive homes located within 30 minutes of a city’s downtown core, based on the home’s neighbourhood, amenities and square footage. Premiums were calculated by subtracting the per-square-foot value of the commuter home from the per-square-foot value of the downtown residence.

The $1.175-million downtown Vancouver property chosen was located close to the library, theatre, General Motors Place and Robson Street shopping. The condo unit offers a spacious layout on two levels, with views of the North Shore mountains and Vancouver harbour.

Along with secured entry, this home has marble and hardwood flooring, rooftop deck, gourmet kitchen, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, gas cook top and gas fireplace.

The $999,000 Surrey home is in Panorama Ridge, one of the city’s finer areas, located about 30 minutes to an hour’s driving distance to downtown Vancouver, depending on traffic.

This residence offers eight bedrooms and five bathrooms, including a rental suite as a mortgage helper.

Among Canada’s other four major cities surveyed, the per-square-foot differential between a centrally-located property and a suburban home is $351 in Toronto, $179 in Montreal, $172 in Calgary, and $118 in Edmonton.

For executives who don’t mind commuting from an out-of-the-way location, Century 21 found a 22-room, 7,100-square-foot Tudor-style mansion, situated on a double lot in the prestigious Brighton area, on the North River in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Features include formal living and dining rooms, two fireplaces, large pool, a built-in gymnasium and solarium with water views. The price: $800,000, or just $115 per square foot.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Scientists build cell-sized robots to treat cancer

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Margaret Munro
Sun

Scientists who dream of someday unleashing tiny computers in the body to diagnose and treat disease have produced their first minuscule prototypes.

A team of researchers at Israel‘s Weizmann Institute of Science reports in the journal Nature Wednesday that they have created biological computers that can diagnose cancer and produce drugs to combat the invasive disease. The computers have so far worked only in the test tube, but even that is seen as a major accomplishment.

“This work represents the first actual proof of the concept and the first actual demonstration of a possible real-life application for this kind of computer,” says Dr. Ehud Shapiro, head of the research team.

Shapiro and his colleagues hope to eventually create “a ‘doctor in a cell” able to operate inside a living body, spot disease and apply the necessary treatment before external symptoms even appear.”

Their computers are so tiny, several trillion can fit in a drop of water. They are not made of silicon chips but of such biologically active molecules as the DNA normally found in genes. One computer was able to identify the molecules that indicate the presence of prostate cancer and release short DNA strands designed to kill the cancer cells, according to the Nature report. In another experiment, a computer detected lung cancer.

But, Shapiro says researchers have a long way to go before such computers roam through people’s bodies.

“It may take decades before such a system operating inside the human body becomes reality,” says Shapiro, who presented the findings at a meeting of Nobel laureates in Brussels on Wednesday. “Nevertheless, only two years ago we predicted that it would take another 10 years to reach the point we have reached today.”

Dr. Kirk Schultz, a cancer specialist at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, says such computers may sound like something out of Star Trek, but the technology is moving ahead quickly.

“That they could do this is very exciting,” says Schultz. He says miniaturized diagnostic and treatment devices that could be implanted or worn just outside the body are not far off. He envisions devices for diabetics that could monitor and manage the disease, and others to check for the molecular markers of prostate cancer and administer agents to inhibit the malignancy.

Schultz is working on a Canadian research initiative to bring such microtechnologies to the bedside and doctor’s office. He says they would be tiny but not invisible.

The Israeli scientists are operating on a much smaller nanoscale and the cancer-detecting computers are just the team’s latest creation. In 2001, they built a biomolecular computer that could do simple mathematical calculations in the test tube. Last year, they created what was dubbed the smallest biological computing device on the planet. It used DNA as its source of energy.

The scientists say the beauty of biological computers is that they should be able to function where silicon-based machines cannot — inside the body.

The computers developed for the latest experiments have “software” that is composed of DNA, while DNA-manipulating enzymes make up their “hardware.” They work by assessing concentrations of specific molecules, which are known to be over-produced or under-produced in prostate and lung cancer. The computers make a diagnosis based on the detected levels of these compounds. In response to a prostate cancer diagnosis, it initiates the controlled release of a single-stranded DNA molecule that is known to interfere with the cancer cell’s activities, causing it to self-destruct.

“Our medical computer might one day be administered as a drug and be distributed throughout the body by the bloodstream to detect disease markers autonomously and independently in every cell,” says Shapiro.

“In this way, a single cancer cell could be detected and destroyed before the tumour develops.”

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Not enough cheap housing in Games plan

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Damian Inwood
Province

Vancouver Coun. Jim Green wants to boost the low- and middle-income housing legacy that comes from the 2010 Olympic Athletes Village.

Right now, plans call for only 20 per cent of the $165-million, southeast False Creek units to be non-market housing.

“We may be looking at 30 per cent,” said Green yesterday. “When southwest False Creek was developed, it was one-third low income, one-third middle income and one-third what the market could bear.”

Green said the ratio was used by Art Phillips and Mike Harcourt when they were mayors of the city. It changed to 20 per cent for low income under then-mayor Gordon Campbell.

“I really like the one-third, one-third, one-third option, if we can make it work,” said Green, who speaks today at an Olympic round table at the Architectural Institute of B.C.’s annual conference.

“That’s probably the model that we’ll be looking at and I think we can do it. The great thing is that by 2020 we will be an inclusive city and people will come from around the world to see how we make that work.”

He said the low-income portion would be co-op or non-profit rental housing, the middle income would be starter homes and the remaining third would be high-end units.

Green said there are several ways of off-setting the cost through municipal, provincial or federal incentives.

“We are working with the feds on some major issues, coming to the table over the Olympics for housing,” added Green.

“It would require subsidies, there’s no question about that.”

The Olympic village will house up to 2,100 athletes and their coaches.

It will stand on six hectares of industrial land on the south shore of False Creek, east of the Cambie Bridge.

It will comprise 610,000 square feet of housing and 35,000 square feet of commercial space.

Construction is due to start in June 2008 and end in September 2009.

The city will lease the units to the 2010 Games for $30 million and after the Games, they will be available for housing.

© The Vancouver Province 2004

No ‘bubble’ in housing sales

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Ashley Ford
Province

Higher interest rates are on their way and the dollar will climb even more, the 10th annual Vancouver Real Estate Forum was told yesterday.

Derek Burleton, senior economist for TD Financial Group, said he expects to see the Bank of Canada move up rates in the fourth quarter following an expected U.S. Fed increase in August or the third quarter.

He said the move will take some steam out of real-estate markets as it will “weaken affordability” for some.

But generally the housing market — especially in the Lower Mainland, which will outperform the rest of Canada – is in no danger of collapsing and will remain robust.

Burleton denied there is “any bubble” in the high-flying market and said buying activity is being “rationally driven.

“We are not seeing the level of speculation” that existed in the market of the late ’80s. The market is much more balanced.”

However, he said housing activity will slow over the next year primarily because of a dwindling pool of first-time buyers, slower population growth and an increase in new home inventories.

“We are already seeing some slowing,” but overall the housing market will remain strong, he said. The fundamentals of the Canadian economy are positive and inflation is being held in check.

He also said Canadian business has already adjusted to a large extent to the rapid rise of the dollar, although he acknowledged it has constrained the economy to some extent.

Rising commodity prices have partially offset the dollar’s strength, which he says will strengthen even more over the next year as interest rates rise.

“A higher Canadian dollar is here to stay and a 79-cent [US] dollar is reasonable over the next year or so,” he said.

© The Vancouver Province 2004

Housing market keeps bloom on BC economy

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

2.2 per cent growth despite fire, flood, mad cow

Lindsay Kines
Sun

B.C.’s booming housing market propelled the provincial economy to a top-four finish in Canada last year despite forest fires, floods and mad cow disease, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday.

Preliminary figures show B.C.’s economy growing by 2.2 per cent in 2003, about the same as the previous year, but above the national average of 1.7.

The province, which led the country in housing starts, tied for fourth with Alberta in real gross domestic product growth. The Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan took the top three spots.

Finance Minister Gary Collins said the growth surpassed even the government’s own forecasts and reflects rising confidence in the B.C. economy. “The economy has clearly turned the corner and we’re starting to see the benefits flow to British Columbians,” he said.

The Statistics Canada report ranks B.C. second in “hours worked for all jobs,” which Collins said indicates more people are shifting to full-time from part-time jobs.

“Not only are we creating more jobs as the No. 1 job creator in Canada, but we’re creating better jobs for British Columbia,” he said in the legislature.

David Hobden, an economist with the Central Credit Union of B.C., described the growth as “moderate,” but said it’s significant that B.C. passed Ontario and pulled even with Alberta in 2003.

“That’s a big change, because the year before that, and for several years, we’ve been behind growth in both those provinces,” he said. “Consequently, we’ve seen an outflow of migrants from B.C. to those provinces, driven largely by employment opportunities. Now we’re seeing a reversal of that, and it’s because the B.C. economy is performing relatively well compared to those other two key economies.”

“It’s all about energy and housing,” Hobden said. Those are the growth industries.”

Statistics Canada says corporate profits jumped 12 per cent in B.C. last year, driven in large part by higher prices for natural gas. Business investment in housing climbed 15 per cent.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

BC to get limited liability partnership

Wednesday, April 28th, 2004

Personal assets of the partners will not be put at risk

Sun

B.C. professionals and other entrepreneurs can form new business partnerships without having their personal assets put at risk under legislation introduced Tuesday by the provincial government.

The proposed amendments to the Partnership Act would allow for the creation of a new type of business entity in B.C. called a “limited liability partnership,” or LLP, Finance Minister Gary Collins said.

“Unlike other provinces, where only professionals such as lawyers and accountants may register as LLPs, there will be no restrictions on what types of businesses are able to register an LLP under the new Partnership Act,” Collins said.

Currently, the active members of a partnership — such as law firms, accounting firms, or engineering firms — are personally responsible for the liabilities of all the other partners and of the partnership itself, the minister explained.

An LLP is an arrangement in which each partner is responsible only for his or her own liabilities, similar to protection afforded an incorporated limited liability company (Ltd.), in which a company’s liabilities are restricted to the assets of that firm.

Collins said the new legislation is designed to make partners more fully accountable to their clients or customers, and ensures that all partners can engage in their business without fearing their personal assets could be put at risk, unless negligence or wrongdoing is involved.

“These amendments will contribute to making B.C. a more attractive place for investors to establish new partnerships that they might not have otherwise, which in turn, will stimulate new investments and help create jobs across the province,” Collins said.

To obtain and maintain LLP status, a partnership must register with the B.C. corporate registry, notify clients of their change in status, include the letters “LLP” in their business name, make an up-to-date list of partners available to the public at all times, and remain in compliance with all relevant laws and requirements, he said.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004