Archive for September, 2004

New $20 bills released to circulation in Vancouver ceremony

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Sun

CREDIT: Jonathan Hayward, Canadian Press Canada’s new $20 bill includes such security features as raised ink and fine-line printing.

VANCOUVER - Canada‘s new $20 bank note — bearing masterpieces by the internationally recognized late B.C. Haida artist Bill Reid on the back and incorporating anti-counterfeiting features similar to those on the recently issued $100 note — was released into circulation in a ceremony in Vancouver Wednesday.

The new note, first unveiled last month, will be available across the country within two weeks.

Its anti-counterfeiting measures include a metallic holographic stripe, a watermarked portrait, a windowed colour-shifting thread woven into the paper, and a see-through number.

The new note also incorporates such enhanced security features as raised ink (intaglio), fine-line printing, and improved red and yellow fluorescence under ultraviolet light.

A new security-enhanced $50 bill is scheduled to be released by the end of the year.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Woodward’s redevelopment scheme receives approval from city council

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

John Bermingham and Matthew Ramsey
Province

 

CREDIT: Ric Ernst, The Province

The Westbank Projects/Peter-son proposal will redevelop the Woodward’s building site on West Hastings in Vancouver.

Westbank Projects/Peterson Investment Group has been given the nod to develop the Woodward’s site in downtown Vancouver.

City councillors voted last night to give the developer the go-ahead after a long and vocal public hearing and a debate that has raged for 11 years since the store closed its doors.

The approved plan includes at least 100 social housing units, restoration of the 1908 building, saving the landmark W sign, public indoor spaces and a daycare. Work is scheduled to begin in 2006 and be completed in 2007.

The city has the next 180 days to work out the details. Two other proposals are being kept on the back-burner should the process with Westbank derail.

Coun. Jim Green was elated with last night’s results.

“We just had a great victory,” he said, adding that negotiations with the provincial and federal governments for additional money to include more social housing units are ongoing.

“Two hundred is about the proper amount,” he said.

Many speakers at the hearing demanded the city push for a higher number of social housing units. Westbank head Ian Gillespie has said there is room in the development for 236.

Sister Elizabeth Kelliher drew a biblical parallel, saying that the rich man burned in hell for ignoring the cries of poor man Lazarus.

“What had this [rich] man done to deserve eternal punishment? He had not heard the cry of the poor,” she said.

Kelliher said if the city fails to deliver 250 housing units for the neediest people in the new Woodward’s, it will be acting like the rich man.

“Please listen to the cry for housing in this building,” she said.

As part of buying the site from the province, the city got 100 units of social housing guaranteed, but only 60 of those are to be “deep core” or welfare housing units.

Jim Leyden, who heads the Woodward’s Social Housing Coalition, said there should be 250 deep-core housing units, not 60.

All along, the city’s position has been that it must be a mixture of high, medium and low-subsidized units.

“There will not be 250 units of deep-core housing,” Mayor Larry Campbell told Leyden bluntly.

The city figures it would cost $30 million to fund another 135 housing units. And only Victoria or Ottawa has that kind of cash.

© The Vancouver Province 2004

‘Caring’ plant looks after owner

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

A house plant equipped with sensors and a computer will get to know you and your routine

Sarah Staples
Sun

American and French scientists have created a “caring” house plant equipped with motion sensors and cameras to gather information, complete with a computerized brain that “learns” its owner’s routines and can tell if these stray from the norm.

Equal parts leafy adviser and calming potted friend, the plant — a prototype at Accenture Technology Labs in Chicago that’s expected to be ready for sale within about five years — uses artificial intelligence to know if its owner is eating properly, experiencing fear, loneliness and pain, or suffering from memory loss.

It’s destined for an emerging eldercare market for robotic devices designed to give assistance to those who aren’t ready to move into a retirement village but need assistance to stay safely in their own home. By 2050, 30 per cent of the world’s population will be over the age of 65 and in need of everything from specialized financial planning to solutions for managing the burden of institutional care.

Hiding technology within familiar objects such as plants isn’t only entertaining and commercially marketable. It’s designed to increase seniors’ comfort with technology they might otherwise deem intrusive, said Agata Opalach, an Accenture researcher based in Sophia Antipolis, France.

“Assistance [emanating from] everyday objects becomes more acceptable to the person who needs help, it puts them at ease,” said Opalach, who spearheads the global management and IT consulting firm’s Intelligent Home Services Initiative.

“We could have used an artificial plant, but then it wouldn’t have been as interesting,” she said. “People get very attached and emotional about caring about other living things.”

Miniaturized sensors in and around the pot gauge whether the plant itself is getting enough sunlight or water. The rest of its wiring is focused on helping the owner: Tiny motion and pressure sensors, microphones and discreetly positioned cameras feed data to a computer that analyses a person’s gaze, posture, the speed and gait of their walk, and their interaction with other objects in the room, in order to decide if family members or a hospital need to be alerted to a potential problem.

Interaction with the plant doesn’t have to be health-related. Its facial recognition software might deduce the human needs a little extra TLC, at which point it could strike up a conversation.

A forgetful owner could hold up a pillbox to be reminded of instructions for taking the medication, or a framed photograph and ask the plant to identify whose picture was taken. The plant could then project more digitized family photos on to a screen, as a kind of slide show.

The plant is also aware enough to know when its affections are unwelcome. “You don’t want to be surprised by a plant,” Opalach added.

Paul Johnston, chairman of the International Federation of Robotics and a vice-president of the Ottawa-based industry association Precarn Inc., said manufacturers are only beginning to realize the lucrative potential of devices that would let anxious children monitor frail parents’ daily routines, or alleviate the loneliness and boredom associated with solitary living.

Johnson cautioned there are many ways to tackle elder care: Researchers from Dalhousie University in Halifax, for example, are developing sophisticated experimental cameras to monitor an older person’s home — without the cover of an accompanying plant.

The most valuable innovations may turn out to be robust “helpmate” robots that would assist the elderly in and out of shower stalls or beds, do light housework and make meals — tasks traditionally performed by nurses and orderlies, he said.

“I think we have to separate out the technology’s usefulness from somebody having a new gimmick that’s not exactly useful.”

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

 

City’s red-hot housing market took a tumble in August

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Buyers likely to benefit from more stable prices, real estate board says

Krisendra Bisetty
Sun

 

Greater Vancouver home sales fell dramatically in August while prices remained generally firm, according to figures released Tuesday.

The message for buyers and sellers is that the red-hot market has been replaced by stability, said Andrew Peck, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Sales of all types of homes fell by 22.8 per cent to 2,537 units, compared to 3,290 the same month last year, the board’s numbers show.

Compared to July, sales were down between 12 per cent and 18 per cent, depending on the type of home, although August is traditionally a slower month in the real-estate market. Month-over-month listings were also down.

“Is this a bad sign for the market? No,” Peck told The Vancouver Sun Tuesday night.

He said 2003 was an extraordinary year and “that kind of pace could not be maintained in the long term.”

August 2003 was nearly a record-setting month, he said, and the extremely hot pace continued in the first part of 2004, when activity started to slow.

But he said a summer month with 2,537 sales is pretty good compared to the situation a few years ago, such as August of 1998, when there were 63-per-cent fewer sales.

“What we’re seeing today is a return to active market conditions that are good for both buyers and sellers.”

All sectors of the market saw higher prices in August compared to August last year and there were also price increases over the past three months.

The board’s numbers show prices slipped slightly between July and August in Delta South, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, east Vancouver and West Vancouver, but rose in New Westminster, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Richmond and the Sunshine Coast.

According to Multiple Listings Service data for Greater Vancouver, sales of detached properties decreased 28 per cent to 1,061 in August, compared to 1,478 sales in August 2003. As for prices, the board says a typical detached home in Greater Vancouver is worth $518,160, up 19.6 per cent over a year ago.

Sales of attached properties decreased 23.8 per cent to 396 units, compared to 520 units in August last year, with the price of the typical attached property up 19.8 per cent to $330,520.

Sales of apartment properties were down 16.4 per cent to 1,080, compared to 1,292 last August, while the typical apartment price was up 17 per cent to $243,100.

Compared to July, sales of detached homes were down 12.8 per cent, attached homes were down 18.4 per cent, and apartments were down 18.3 per cent. Listings were also down by 24 per cent for detached homes, 27 per cent for attached homes and one per cent for apartments.

According to figures released Monday, Fraser Valley housing sales fell in August for the second month in a row.

That indicates the market has stabilized from the wild ride of the last 18 months with generally stable prices and more homes coming on to the market, said Moss Moloney, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

Real estate firms are advising clients to pick realistic asking prices for their homes — and to expect to wait longer for offers.

“There’s less homes coming in the market. Homes used to sell within the first week, now there’s a two-week to a month wait before they sell,” said realtor Glen Warren, who sells condos and entry-level detached houses in east Vancouver.

Sellers made a killing during the spring, getting even more than the higher-than-normal prices they asked. But, no more. “If they expect to sell, they should make a realistic pricing,” Warren said.

While not yet a buyer’s market, it’s heading toward one, said Rob Regan-Pollock, senior mortgage consultant at Invis, Canada‘s largest independent mortgage brokerage firm.

“There seems to be more inventory available for our borrowers and more selections than we used to have. We are advising pre-approved clients who did not purchase in the spring because the market was too hot, that now is a good time to be looking again,” he said, adding that prices are also softening.

A good-condition, one-bedroom, one-bath apartment on Deercrest Drive in North Vancouver listed at $299,000 on June 22 and sold for $210,000 July 30.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

 

Companies at risk from unlicensed software

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Brian Morton
Sun

Software piracy is on the increase in Canada because employees are often installing their own unauthorized software at work, according to a new survey.

“About 35 per cent of all software sold in Canada is piracy,” said Alan Steel, acting president of the Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft [CAAST], in a telephone interview on Monday.

“In most cases, if a person has their own personal copy [even when bought legally], and then puts it on a company computer, it’s illegal. The employer has no idea, and can be held accountable. People loading something should understand the issues at hand.”

According to a Decima Research survey commissioned by CAAST, one in 11 Canadians who use computers at work are installing unauthorized software.

The survey suggests that one in nine British Columbians have installed unauthorized software, compared to just four per cent of workers in Atlantic Canada. Ontario rated the highest, at 12 per cent.

According to the survey, which was conducted in August and released by CAAST on Monday, 37 per cent of the 1,083 respondents felt there was nothing wrong with installing personal software on company computers, while 26 per cent simply felt it was more convenient than going through proper channels to acquire the software.

Nearly half, 42 per cent, said they had not been briefed about their company’s policies regarding downloading, installing or using unlicensed software. And 27 per cent said they weren’t sure of their employer’s position on the issue.

Steel said a company’s reputation, as well as the integrity and security of its computer systems, can be put at risk by using unauthorized software.

CAAST said in a news release that unlicensed software — whether illegally copied, purchased or downloaded — can result in legal liability for companies, security risks and viruses. Under Canadian copyright law, each copied software program can result in damages of up to $20,000, and businesses can be held liable for the actions of their employees.

Steel said he was shocked by the results of the survey.

“It did shock us that 42 per cent said that they’d never been briefed about the usage of software at a company. And we’re really surprised by the number of people who said they really didn’t know.”

Earlier this year, a North Vancouver robotics firm, Braintech Inc., agreed to pay more than $140,000 to CAAST for using unlicensed copies of programs.

After an internal audit, Braintech — which specializes in vision-guided automation for manufacturing — discovered it was using unlicensed copies of Adobe, Internet Security Systems, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec software programs.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Sizzling Fraser Valley market showing signs of decline

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Housing sales fall for the second consecutive month

Petti Fong
Sun

 

The once sizzling Fraser Valley real estate market is fizzling a bit.

Housing sales fell for the second month in a row, down 11 per cent in August from the previous month, according to numbers released by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board Monday.

The market has stabilized from the wild ride of the last 18 months, according to Moss Moloney, president of the board.

More inventories are coming up for sale, pleasing buyers. But prices, on average, are still climbing, which makes sellers happy.

“There was no boat to catch, no boat to miss. The only people missing the boat are those who are holding back thinking the market is going to collapse,” Moloney said. “Anybody who bought a house from 1999 through to 2002 has done exceptionally well. Anyone who bought a house in the last year has seen a 20-per-cent increase in their value.”

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) indicates there were 1,381 sales in the Fraser Valley in August. For the same month in 2003, 1,661 properties were sold.

The number of properties overall has increased to 6,891 listings, up seven per cent from the same time last year.

Moloney said his charts show there are about 5,454 previously occupied houses currently listed in the Fraser Valley, properties for sale that include condos, townhomes and detached homes.

If there were more than 10,000 such units listed, that would represent a market crash, he said Monday.

The average price for a residential detached home declined by 7.4 per cent in Surrey, and 2.6 per cent in Abbotsford, but continued to climb in North Delta, Mission and Langley.

Prices went up 14.3 per cent in White Rock over the two summer months of this year. From August of 2003 to this past month, prices in White Rock have jumped more than 35 per cent.

Geoff Lloyd, a real estate broker for Century 21 Seaside in White Rock, said the market peaked in July, and dropped the next month.

“We have gone from speculative pricing to real pricing,” Lloyd said. “For the last year and a half, it was speculative. But I’m fairly convinced between now and next spring, the prices are not going to go up by more than a little bit.”

Buyers are in a better position to purchase homes with inventories mounting, and realtors are getting a breather for the first time in 18 months, according to Lloyd.

In August of 2003, 930 detached homes sold. Last month, 706 houses sold overall in the Fraser Valley, compared to 791 from July.

There were sharp declines in the average price of townhouses in Mission, falling 21.8 per cent in one month. Townhomes in Mission sold for an average $166,625 in August. In July, that price was $212.987.

Overall, townhouse sales remain steady in the Fraser Valley, as were condominium sales.

All sales, including detached, townhomes and apartments, fell in August to 1,179 from 1,335 units sold in July.

Surrey realtor Gurpreet Chhina, of Sutton-Premier, said the days of buyers paying over the asking price are over.

“Places are still selling like crazy, but not like before. Prices are now selling for market value. There’s no bubble bursting,” Chhina said. “Before it didn’t matter if the house was in Whalley, they were still buying. But now they can go to Cloverdale or Chimney Heights for the price they were paying before in Whalley.”

Chhina said shoddy constructions by developers hoping to make quick, lucrative returns are the only losers in the market.

“People were still buying even when the floors were squeaking. Now we are seeing if you cheap out and you build poor quality, it’s going to sit there and that unit will sell below market value. All the Toms, Dicks and Harrys who were building these poor quality houses are getting flushed out,” Chhina said.

“People were running around like chickens without their heads for the last 18 months. People have their heads on now.”

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Plans in works for concrete shell

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Naoibh O’Connor
Sun

  

Gutted building (centre) has been an eyesore on the downtown skyline for years.
photo Dan Toulgoet

A long-abandoned construction site and eyesore on West Georgia near Thurlow is finally slated for redevelopment.

Work on a mixed use, highrise project could start in late 2005, said Simon Lim, president of the Holborn Group, which owns the property.

Plans for the 1133 West Georgia site are tied to the Woodward’s redevelopment proposal pitched by Lim and Concert Properties. Council will vote to approve one of three competing proposals at a meeting today.

Concert is asking city hall to allow the transfer of 400,000 square feet of density from the Woodward’s site to the West Georgia location. The latter redevelopment would help pay for the Woodward’s redevelopment, including its large public square.

Although last week a city advisory committee studying the three proposals recommended the bid from the Westbank consortium, Concert is lobbying council to back its plan.

But if Concert is turned down by council, the development at 1133 West Georgia will go ahead as planned, Lim said.

A shell of a building, which used to house offices, sits on the site. It’s been vacant for at least eight years. A former owner of the property planned to turn it into a gym and recreation centre, but the plans fell through for unknown reasons. The building was gutted and the exterior facade was removed. Hoarding was erected in more recent years to keep the public out.

Cadillac Fairview bought the land in early 2000.

Carlene Robbins, manager of bylaw administration for the city, said staff were prepared to go to council and ask that the structure be declared a nuisance. Cadillac Fairview, however, promised to either apply for rezoning to build a new structure or use the building shell for a renewed project. “So we held off and after that they ended up selling the property,” Robbins said.

The property was cleaned up, including the removal of a crane, tarps, garbage and other debris for safety reasons. Holborn bought the site last year.

“It’s relatively tidy, but the fact is it’s a concrete shell and it’s not very attractive,” Robbins said.

Dave Jackson, the deputy city building official, agrees. “In our minds it’s getting to the point where there should be some decision,” said Jackson, noting he’s fielded several complaints over the years, most recently in July. That complainant called the property, “at best a horrible blight on the city scene and at worst a dangerous shell warranting a condemned pronouncement.”

Robbins said the building isn’t unsafe. “Basically, we would have to establish it is a nuisance. If it’s unsafe, it’s easier to deal with. The fact is, it’s not unsafe, just unsightly,” she said.

Tearing the shell down would cost millions. The city does, on occasion, demolish nuisance residences and charge the cost back to owners who’ve refused to comply with earlier demolition orders. Few commercial buildings have been dealt with in that manner, although several years ago the owner of a vacant four-storey building on East Hastings tore it down following warnings from city hall. The same fate happened to a restaurant on Franklin Street.

“Sometimes we have to threaten them and it will spur them into action,” Robbins said. “We do [deal with] commercial buildings, it’s just obvious they’re a lot more costly to do and it gets a bit more complicated, especially a building of this size on West Georgia.”

Jackson said he would likely give the Holborn Group until mid-October to confirm its plans for the site.

Lim said he’s been in constant contact with city staff. “It’s not our intent to sit there and let it rot,” he said. “We fully intend to do something about it.”

Waterfront lots selling fast in BC

Monday, September 27th, 2004

Coastal and island hideaways are selling for top prices as soon as they hit the market, realtors say

Brian Morton
Sun

 

Waterfront property is becoming a scarce commodity in B.C., driving prices up for those seeking their own piece of what is quickly turning into Canada‘s Gold Coast.

Prudential Sussex realtor Grant Marshall, who deals in the Sunshine Coast, says: “There’s far more demand than supply, and for every listing we bring on, there’s probably 20 people who jump on it.

“Our sales would go up 100 per cent if we had more product.”

Rick Gustavson of Re/Max Gustavson, who specializes in water-access-only properties in Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast, said buyers flocked to a recent offering of a development on Howe Sound’s Gambier Island.

“We had 34 lots go on sale on Saturday [Sept. 18] and 29 of them were sold in six hours,” said Gustavson. “There’s a huge demand and a minimum supply.”

Both he and Marshall say they’ve seen waterfront prices rise by about 30 per cent in their areas in the last 11/2 to 21/2 years.

“What’s happened is that in the last three years there’s been a huge awakening by purchasers that it [Gambier] is accessible. It is about 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver to Lions Bay, and then a 15-minute boat ride to the island.”

Gustavson was referring to the two-phase Brigade Bay project on the east side of Gambier Island, a 283-hectare development that he says is the largest offering of waterfront acreage on Gambier since 1998.

The average size of each property is 1.6 hectares and all have their own drilled wells and septic fields. All properties also have use of a common dock, but there is no independent power source. A private boat or water taxi are the only ways to get to the island. As well, construction costs are about 30 per cent higher than in the Lower Mainland, Gustavson said.

Despite those limitations, the lots were priced from $150,000 to $329,000, an increase of approximately 30 per cent over the previous 18 months, he said.

Gustavson, who sells properties on Gambier, Keats, Anvil and Bowyer islands in Howe Sound, and Nelson and Hardy islands on the Sunshine Coast, said that buyers — primarily from the Lower Mainland, with smaller numbers from Alberta and the U.S. — are interested in the serenity that a water-access-only property provides.

“They want a cottage to escape to in a positive environment, but very close to Vancouver. There’s an unprecedented amount of interest in this type of [property]. It’s the last frontier. To get in by a boat to a property with no power, they’re very adventurous people. Waterfront is the one thing in common that is in huge demand. And it doesn’t seem to abate.”

One of those buyers is Vancouver lawyer and Yaletown resident Joe McArthur, who bought a 2.8-hectare lot at Brigade Bay on which he and his wife plan to build a cottage for a weekend retreat.

“Access was the biggest thing,” said McArthur in an interview. “We wanted a place we could go to on the weekend that didn’t require a four-hour drive. And being water access only ensures that the island is somewhat quieter.”

Marshall of Prudential Sussex said prices for waterfront properties are rising in the Gulf Islands and lake-front properties in Interior locations such as the Okanagan and the Kootenays.

And it’s not just Lower Mainland buyers, he said. “I’ve sold quite a bit of property to people from London, England, and some from the U.S.

Realtor Michelle Taylor, who lives on Bowen Island, said it’s the same thing on Bowen, where prices have risen between 30 and 40 per cent over the past two years. “We’ve had very few waterfront sales, because there’s very little on the market. But the few that have sold have seen dramatic increases [in prices] in the past few years.”

She said the cheapest waterfront lot now available is $459,000.

“The lot next to it, which included a small 1,400-square-foot cottage sold, for $740,000.”

But she said several listings over $1 million have been sitting on the market since spring. “They’re priced too high. If they were in the $900,000 range, they’d all sell.”

She also said that Bowen waterfront is different than places like Gambier Island, because owners generally live on Bowen full-time.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Circa’s simple comfort factor

Sunday, September 26th, 2004

Kerry Moore
Province

 

CREDIT: Nick Procaylo, The Province

Circa is pleasant and inviting, with generous window space (above) and strong basics in place in the bedrooms (below left) and kitchen (below right). With no upgrades, owners can make independent decisions about how their apartments look.

CREDIT: Nick Procaylo, The Province

Circa is pleasant and inviting, with generous window space (above) and strong basics in place in the bedrooms (below left) and kitchen (below right). With no upgrades, owners can make independent decisions about how their apartments look.

CREDIT: Nick Procaylo, The Province

Circa is pleasant and inviting, with generous window space (above) and strong basics in place in the bedrooms (below left) and kitchen (below right). With no upgrades, owners can make independent decisions about how their apartments look.

Circa has no upgrades: what you see is what you get, so it’s a relatively easy shopping trip.

Circa is the last tower at Collingwood Village with occupation in November, 2006. Three low rises that will share the same block go on sale a year from now.

Collingwood Village is a concept development southeast of the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station, the last station in Vancouver before the SkyTrain crosses Boundary Road east into Burnaby.

The village is a mix of high and low buildings separated by green spaces, tennis and basketball courts and fields. It includes a daycare, park, neighbourhood house with gym and program areas, a community police office, a bank and an elementary school.

Circa is 60 per cent sold and was offered only a month ago. Not mentioned in the selection are 435 sq. ft. studios, which are all sold.

There are two display suites, a one- and a two-bedroom. Explore these generally rather than specifically because there are four floor plans for two-bedroom, and nine for one-bedrooms. As well, fifth-floor suites have terraces and there’s street access for garden suites.

The display suites are simple, pleasing and inviting.

Generous window space covers almost a wall each in the living room and bedroom with a section opening vertically for fresh air.

Kitchens are galley style with an attached bar for seating, and feature standard white appliances (dishwasher, refrigerator, stove and hood). Counters are marbled laminate with ivory ceramic tile floors in this room, bath and entry. Cupboards extend to ceilings for extra storage space and are faced in birch-blond in the one-bedrooms, warm maple colour in the two-bed. Hardware is soft matte chrome.

Bedroom and living room share an ivory plush carpet, there is considerable storage space, a good ensuite bathroom and a stacked washer-dryer in a laundry cupboard. The shelving in cupboards is standard, as are the lighting and mini-venetian blinds.

Neutral colour schemes are throughout, offering no conflict with art or decor. Heating is electric baseboard.

Sharp eyes will note there is no tile backsplash in the kitchen, nor fireplace in the living room. There are no upgrades offered; if an owner wants to have wood floors, for example, such alterations are arranged by the person and take place after occupancy.

Circa will have a full-time building manager, a fitness room, a lounge, storage lockers, bicycle storage and parking. For security, an integrated key-fob system controls the main entrance, elevators and underground parking while each resident’s television doubles as a security monitor.

In the final assessment, Circa will be a building where little luxury touches are left to the buyer to add but it will score high on comfort, community and convenience.

QUICK FACTS

WHAT: Circa is a 22-floor tower with side “wings” of four stories each.

WHERE: Display suites at 1502 – 3588 Crowley Dr., Vancouver. Contact 604-438-8580 or www.circavancouver.com

DEVELOPER: Concert Properties Ltd.

SIZES: Condominiums: One-bedroom, one-bed-and-nook, one-bed-and-den, one-bed-den-and-nook, and two-bedrooms; from 564 sq. ft. to 983 sq. ft.

PRICES: $155,900 to $298,900.

OPEN: 12 to 5, closed Fridays.

© The Vancouver Province 2004

 

Shangri-La begins: a tall order for the well-heeled

Saturday, September 25th, 2004

Malcolm Parry
Sun

 

IAN GILLESPIE and developer-partner Ben Yeung launched their 60-floor Shangri-La tower by inviting an overflow crowd to a tented plaza at Alberni and Bute Street Thursday.

Happily, the overflow didn’t occur streetside, where two Full Moon Washroom Rentals trailers hummed busily. (Should this outfit change from a lunar to planetary identity, let’s hope its chosen orbit isn’t between Saturn and Neptune.)

As for future Shangri-La dwellers, Bob Rennie said Jimmy Pattison and Senator Ed Lawson have signed up. Meanwhile, only five units remain for sale below the yet-unbuilt Shangri-La’s 42nd floor, and 30 of 60 above the 43rd, where prices run from $1.6 million to $5.35 million.

The event was rather eclipsed by a city hall steering committee choosing Gillespie’s Westbank Projects firm for a $149-million redevelopment of the former Woodward’s store.

City planning director Larry Beasley, who was at the Shangri-La shindig, said the city’s acquisition of the building for $5 million will greatly benefit the city and the Downtown Eastside community. The purchase was Mayor Larry Campbell and Councillor Jim Green’s first official act after being elected, Beasley said.

Not so, Green said later. “The first thing we did was legalize skateboarding.”

But will Campbell and Green’s often-recalcitrant fellow COPE council members endorse the steering committee’s decision when it comes before them Wednesday?”

“I can’t predict anymore,” Green grimaced.

- – -

STEPHEN DARLING, who checked out as the Westin Grand hotel’s general manager recently, has signed on to run the 120-room Shangri-La hotel that will occupy 15 of the building’s floors.

He’s also regional vice-president and will begin welcoming guests when the hotel opens in late 2007.

Meanwhile, Daniel Craig has succeeded San-Francisco-fled David Currell as the Opus hotel’s GM, and is looking for someone to fill his old job as sales and marketing manager.

- – -

BRYAN ADAMS, Justin Timberlake and Oprah Winfrey were rumoured to be buyers of a three-lot West Vancouver waterfront home that fetched $17 million in June and went on the market for $19.8 million last week.

I hear the buyer is actually Ivanhoe Mines chair Robert Friedland, although his name is unlikely to appear on land-registry records. Friedland hit the bigs when his Diamond Fields Resources sold its Voisey’s Bay nickel deposit for $4.3 billion in 1996.

Friedland, who resides mostly in Singapore and Australia, reportedly divested himself of the property in the early 1990s, and acquired it again from a former colleague, geological engineer Doug Forster.

- – -

PATRICK REID, the Fraser Basin Council chair, may be revising the speech he’ll deliver at the council’s conference Nov 26-27. An announcement of the speech’s theme, Sustainability Works, was made Sept. 21, a day after The Sun’s Page One headline read: “Sockeye runs disastrously low, fisheries experts say.”

- – -

STEPHEN HEGYES and Brightlight Pictures partner Shawn Williamson kicked off the Vancouver International Film Festival with a reception at Jack Evrensel’s CinCin restaurant this week. Vancouver Film Studios co-hosted the bash, and Pasquale Cusano’s Nuvo magazine sponsored it.

The do gave Williamson and Hegyes a rare chance to chat. The former jets to and from Rumania, where he is producing another computer-game-derived feature film, the $30-million BloodRayne. It’s been an easier commute for Hegyes, who is producing six independent features in Victoria with CHUM-TV.

The pair vamped at their party with The Collector series regular Sonya Salomaa, who also appeared in their rave-teenagers-meet-zombies flick, House Of The Dead.

Mayor Larry Campbell also kibitzed with unrelated Nicholas Campbell, who dramatizes hizzoner’s old coroner job in the TV series Da Vinci’s Inquest. The pair loomed over filmfest and city-hall veteran Jane MacDonald, unconsciously echoing a real-life drama that still pits some Scots against others.

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SHANE O’BRIEN and Mark Reddeko Rating 2opened Gallery Jones at 1725 West Third Avenue Thursday. Their nine-artist exhibition includes hand-painted photographs by former Province editor-in-chief Vivienne Sosnowski. Maybe our Patricia Graham will counter culturally by reprising her feted figure-skating routines.

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JOELY COLLINS is busier than many actresses dream of. She’s just finished a season of the Cold Squad TV series, has a recurring role in Da Vinci’s Inquest and is bagging plenty of other small-screen work.

She’s also in three movies to be screened at the Vancouver international Film Festival. She plays the title role in director Bruce McDonald’s The Love Crimes of Gillian Guess, and is in Mark A. Lewis’ Ill Fated and Shea Wageman’s short A Clown’s Gift.

Collins also makes her professional singing debut in Love Crimes.

Does that mean there’ll be gigs and albums in the manner of rocker-dad Phil?

“You’ll have to wait and see,” said Collins, who obviously can hardly wait.

Meanwhile, she’s finding time for Dutch-language lessons. She’d doubtless rather be in Holland, where her 12-month but so far unidentified squeeze is a sales-and-marketing executive.

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JIM HIBBARD, the veteran tap dancer-choreographer, won’t just shuffle his feet and say “Aw, shucks” when B.C. Hall of Fame brass induct him Nov. 11. He’ll dance solo to a big band playing the Blond Boys from Alabama song Rock Me. That day, of course, is an epic one for Taps.

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DR. PETER JEPSON-YOUNG died in 1992 after being the subject of a television documentary series that detailed his encounter with HIV/AIDS.

A foundation was soon endowed in his name. It raised capital to build the Dr. Peter Centre — www.drpeter.org — which opened a year ago at Thurlow and Comox Street.

Public visitors will be welcomed there from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today.

More cash was raised at a reception recently, when Tracey Schonfeld, whose doctor-husband Mark once headed the B.C. Medical Association, bid $4,000 for dinner for two at a dozen city restaurants.

Entrepreneur Donald Hayes promptly added an equal amount to the pot.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004