Archive for April, 2005

Too much TV? Tiny remote silences them all

Thursday, April 28th, 2005


This is TV Turnoff Week, and couch potatoes are being urged to stash the remote and find something better to do.

But what about the TVs you can’t controlNULL ones in the airport lounge, waiting room, restaurant or local bar?

A clever little device called TV-B-GONE may do the trick.

Launched in 2004, this keychain remote-control gizmo is designed to fit in a palm and shoot a beam containing more than 200 codes to switch off almost any blaring monitor within 15 metres.

It can be ordered from or for about $15.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

Home market hot from coast-to-coast

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Especially here in Vancouver, most expensive in Canada

Eric Beauchesne

Home sales are so hot in Vancouver that, for the first time, some buyers are including a “trump” clause in their offers, allowing them to ante up on any higher offers, a major real estate firm said Tuesday.

But Vancouver isn’t, and hasn’t been, the only hot housing market, according to the report by Re/Max, on what has been a decade of rapidly rising home prices and surging home sales, and what it predicts will continue to be a hot housing market in many cities across the country.

“While residential housing values across the country have posted impressive increases over the past decade, unit sales have absolutely soared,” said the Re/Max report, which projects sales to continue increasing despite the rise in home prices.

The 10-year review of 16 urban housing markets across the country said sales have tripled in Prince Edward Island over the past decade and more than doubled in Ottawa, Toronto, St. John’s, Calgary, Montreal, Victoria and Edmonton.

Meanwhile, Montreal and Calgary have posted the greatest average price appreciation — in excess of 80 per cent or eight per cent annually — while prices in Halifax-Dartmouth, Saskatoon, Kelowna, and Edmonton are now 70 per cent higher than a decade ago.

“More Canadians bought into homeownership during the last 10 years than in any previous decade,” said Elton Ash, a Re/Max regional vice-president for Western Canada.

Low mortgage rates and a shortage of apartment vacancies jump-started the real estate engine in the latter half of the 1990s while consumer confidence and a solid economy kept the market on track, he said.

There were 3.6 million home sales during the past 10 years, 25 per cent more than during the previous decade, the report said.

The steepest surge in home sales has been in P.E.I., up 203.6 per cent from a decade earlier, followed by Ottawa at 165.6 per cent, Calgary 143, Toronto 142.2, and St. John’s 139.

“Despite a year-to-date increase in the number of homes listed for sale, housing values are positioned to climb even further,” said Michael Polzler, a vice-president with Re/Max’s Ontario and Canada divisions. “Demand simply continues to outpace supply in hot pocket areas of major Canadian centres.”

“In Vancouver, for example, demand is so heated that purchasers are including ‘trump clauses’ in their offers to purchase . . . a first for this industry.”

The average price of a home in Vancouver, Canada‘s most expensive market, is $395,390, 19 per cent higher than a decade earlier, despite a slump in prices in the mid to late 1990s.


With homes averaging $395,390, Vancouver is Canada‘s most expensive housing market. But prices haven’t appreciated as much here over the past 10 years as they have in other areas of the country. Here’s how Vancouver compares to some of the fastest-growing markets:

Vancouver $395,390 19.1%

Victoria $352,825 66.1%

Montreal $194,963 85.9%

Calgary $245,049 81.7%

Halifax $183,110 77.3%

Kelowna $253,019 76.1%

Toronto $330,093 60.3%

Source: Re/Max, Vancouver Sun

© The Vancouver Sun 2005

House prices grew more slowly in Vancouver

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005


For all the talk of an over-heated real estate market, and despite million-dollar homes on 33-foot west-side lots, Vancouver rated 16th among 16 Canadian cities in terms of house price appreciation in the last decade.

According to figures released Tuesday by Re/Max, average price for a residence in Vancouver rose 19.1 per cent from the first quarter of 1995 to the same period in 2005, from $332,003 to $395,390.

Highest-ranking B.C. city was Kelowna, fifth at 76.1 per cent. Victoria placed eighth, with a price rise of 66.1 per cent.

Of the 16 upward-appreciating cities, Vancouver had the highest average 2005 house price. followed by Victoria at $352,825, then Toronto at $330,093.

In unit sales, Victoria led B.C. regions with a 114.3-per-cent rise in units sold. Vancouver was 10th (83.2 per cent) followed by Kelowna, 11th at 80 per cent.s.

In Vancouver, house prices fell from 1995 to 1999, rose and fell for the next two years, before climbing steadily since 2002. Both Kelowna and Victoria experienced moderate growth from 1995 to 2002, then rose dramatically.

Vancouver‘s rise is partly from baby boomers selling homes for smaller, luxury condominiums and townhouses. Hot areas were the downtown waterfront, Yaletown, the Main /Cambie Corridor, Steveston and Fort Langley.

The hottest areas in the Victoria area were Colwood, Langford, Highland and View Royal.

© The Vancouver Sun 2005

Housing from Coast-to-Coast

Monday, April 25th, 2005


One of the most important decisions any family makes is to purchase a home — and it’s a decision that’s both daunting and exciting because for most of us, it’s the biggest financial deal we’ll ever make. And while housing markets across the country are robust, prices and supply vary greatly across the country. With that in mind, the members newspapers of CanWest News Services — including The Province — has compiled this bird’s-eye view of residential real estate prices across the country.


The starter home:

Address: 108 – 520 Dunedin

Type of house: condominium

Bedrooms: One

Bathrooms: One

Size: 732 square feet

Garage and/or parking: One in a secure underground parking lot

Asking price: $99,900

Selling price: $105,000

Property taxes: $873

Condo fees: $181/month

Number of minutes from downtown: Seven

Major features: Gas fireplace, in-suite laundry.

The middle-of-your-life-cycle home:


2751 Arbour Lane

Type of house: Two-storey single family detached on a strata lot

Bedrooms: Three

Bathrooms: Two

Size: 1,517 square feet

Garage and/or parking: single car garage, parking for two in driveway

Asking price: $319,900

Selling price: Sale not yet complete

Property taxes: Not assessed; new construction

Strata fees: $15/month.

The dreamhome:


617 Senanus Drive

Type of House: Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired mansion on oceanfront acreage

Bedrooms: Five

Bathrooms: Six

Size: 7,300 square feet

Garage and/or parking: Oversized two-car garage with ample parking

on two-hectare property

Asking price: $4,675,000

Selling price: Still available.

Property taxes: $22,682

Strata fees: None.

Number of minutes from downtown: 30


The starter home:


Address: 1055 Homer St.,


Developer: Qualex Landmark

Bedrooms: One

Bathrooms: One

Parking: One stall

Asking Price: $200,000

Selling Price: Full price

Property Taxes: $2,800 annually

Condo Fees: $205 monthly

Number of minutes from downtown: Zero.

Features: Gym, steam room, entertainment lounge with wet bar

The middle-of-your-life-cycle home: “Springbrook Estates”

Type of House: Executive semi-detached home

Address: 6300 Birch Street, Richmond

Developer: Cressy

Bedrooms: Three

Bathrooms: Two

Garage: Two car attached

Asking price: $433,800

Selling price: Full price

Property Taxes: $971.92 annually

Strata Fees: $142.68 monthly

Number of minutes from downtown: 35 minutes

The dreamhome: “Kamakura

Address: 7423 Treetop Lane, Whistler

Developer: Vision Pacific Development

Bedrooms: Four

Bathrooms: Five

Garage: 2.5 car

Asking price: $6.5 million

Selling price: Under negotiation

Number of minutes from downtown: 90 minutes

Property taxes: $28,000 – $30,000 annually

Features: 5,000 square feet of living space, media room, Zen garden with hot tub


The starter home: “The Brio”

Type of house: Bi-level.

Size: Condos and single-family homes in this market range from 800 to 1,300 square feet.

Bedrooms: Two to three

Bathrooms: 1.5 to 2.5

Price range: Condos and single-family homes in this market range from $70,000 to $150,000.

Buyer profile: Typically renters, married or unmarried with no children.

The middle-of-your-life-cycle home:

Address: In the southeast Calgary community of Copperfield.

Size: Homes in this market generally are two-storey homes ranging from 1,600 to 2,000 square feet.

Bedrooms: Three to four

Bathrooms: 2.5 to 3.5.

Price range: $230,000 to $270,000.

Buyer profile: Repeat buyers, couples between 25 and 45 years old.

The dreamhome:

Type of house: Bungalow

Size: The main level of these bungalows range from 1,800 to 2,200 square feet with another 1,600 on the walkout level.

Bedrooms: Four to six.

Bathrooms: Five or more.

Price range: $700,000 to $2 million-plus.

Buyer profile: Professional couples 35 to 55 years old, with or without children, who like to entertain.


The starter home:


322 Maryland St.

Type of house: Two storey, single family

Bedrooms: Three

Bathrooms: Two

Garage/parking: open carport and garage at back

Asking price: $58,900

Selling price: $58,900

Property taxes: $1,065.71 in 2004

Number of minutes from downtown: Five

Three major features: Within walking distance of major downtown stores and professional offices; located next to major artery with lots of bus service; small kitchen located on the second storey.

The middle-of-your-life-cycle home:


104 Kinlock Lane

Type of house: Raised bungalow

Bedrooms: Three

Bathrooms: Two including master bedroom en suite

Garage: Double attached

Asking price: $217,900

Property taxes: n/a

Number of minutes from downtown: 25

Three major features of the house: gas fireplace; vaulted ceiling/track lighting; lot 43 by 110 feet

The dreamhome:


4 Fieldberry Way

Type of house: Two storey split

Bedrooms: Five

Bathrooms: Three full and one half bath

Garage and/or parking: Triple attached garage/driveway at front

Asking price: $599,900

Selling price: $567,500

Property taxes: 2004 Gross Taxes: $7,741.51

Number of minutes from downtown: 20

Major features: Numerous built-in cherrywood cabinets, shelves, china cabinet; fully finished lower level.


The starter home:

MLS # W634925

Price: $275,000

Condo Fee: $280/month

Location: Waterfront, Toronto

Type: condo

Bedrooms: One plus den

Bathroom: One

Lot size: 300-sq. ft. ground-floor patio terrace

Features: Fireplace and central air; curved glass wall, granite counter, stainless steel appliances; indoor pool, locker, exercise room, rooftop party room, yoga room and guest suite.

The middle-of-your-life-cycle home:

New, no MLS #

Price: $475,990 plus upgrades

Taxes: About $5,200

Location: Burlington, 30 mins from west edge of Toronto.

Size: 3,437 square feet.

Bedrooms: Four

Bathrooms: Three and a half.

Lot size: 50 x 120

Features: Two-storey ceiling in living room, coffered ceiling in dining room, nine foot ceilings on main level; oak staircase; great room with gas fireplace.

The dreamhome:

MLS# C622578

Price: $4,895,000

Taxes: $21,770

Location: Forest Hill

Type: Large detached stone mansion on double lot

Bedrooms: Six

Bathrooms: Six

Lot size: 98.42 x 146 feet

Features: Original 1929-era wood trim, 18-inch baseboards, hand-carved staircase and mahogany panelling; updated kitchen; full nanny’s suite in basement.


The starter home:

Address: 735 Rockcliffe Ave. in Dorval

Type of house: Bungalow

Bedrooms: Three

Bathrooms: Two

Taxes (municipal and school): $2,177

Asking price: $224,000

Sold for: $202,000

Features: Fireplace; home theatre room; located on 9,466-square-foot lot.

The middle-of-your-life-cycle home:

Address: 18071 Hardouin St., Pierrefonds

Type of house: Cottage

Bedrooms: Three

Bathrooms: One

Taxes (municipal and school): $3,690.

Asking price: $309,900

Sold for $305,000

Features: Powder room, sunken living room with fireplace, above-ground pool.

The dreamhome:

Type of house:


Size: The main level of these bungalows range from 1,800 to 2,200 square feet with another 1,600 on the walkout level.

Bedrooms: Four to six.

Bathrooms: Five or more.

Price range: $700,000 to $2 million-plus.

Buyer profile: Professional couples 35 to 55 years old, with or without children, who like to entertain.

The dreamhome:

Address: 4255 Old Orchard Ave., Notre Dame de Grace

Type of house: Cottage

Bedrooms: Three

Taxes (municipal and school): $6,065

Asking price: $524,000

Sold for $522,000

Features: Ground floor family room, solarium, fireplace.


The starter home:


6436 Vienna St.

Type of house: Bungalow

Size: 750 square feet

Number of bedrooms: Three (all small)

Number of bathrooms: One

Garage/parking: Driveway — no garage

Asking price: $186,500

Selling price: Buyers asking that it be private — but close to asking price

Property taxes: $2,132

Condo fees: Not applicable

Minutes from downtown: Five minutes

Three major features: Large eat-in kitchen, interior brick, plenty of mirrors to create the illusion of space.

The middle-of-your-life-cycle home:


149 Cresthaven Dr.

Type of house: Two storey

Size: 2,385 square feet

Number of bedrooms: Three

Number of bathrooms: Three — two full and one powder room

Garage/parking: Double attached garage and driveway

Asking price: $455,000

Selling price: N/A

Property taxes: $4,909

Number of minutes from downtown: 15 minutes, 30 minutes during rush hour

Major features: Attractive, meticulously landscaped property with built-in irrigation system and a view of the Bedford Basin; large master bedroom with ensuite.

The dreamhome:

Address: 770 Young Ave.

Type of house: Three storey historic home built in 1897 in the Queen Anne Revival Style

Size: 4,880 square feet

Number of bathrooms: Four — three full and one powder room

Number of bedrooms: Five

Garage/parking: Double detached garage off the private laneway out back

Asking price: $1,250,000

Selling price: N/A

Property taxes: $9,313

Condo fees: Not applicable

Number of minutes from downtown: Two minutes

Major features: Extremely private half-acre property surrounded by trees on one of the most prestigious streets in the city; renovated kitchen with sunroom.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

Hard to beat housing heat

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

REAL ESTATE: It goes right across the country, our report finds


CREDIT: Jason Payne, the Province ‘Sold’ stickers attest to buyers’ enthusiasm for home ownership in north Burnaby.

Canada‘s current housing market can be described in just one word: hot.

Homes are practically being sold before the for-sale sign even hits the front lawn — and that includes the “insatiable demand” for home ownership across Greater Vancouver, where you’ll find the country’s highest prices.

Record low interest rates have made home ownership increasingly popular, sparking bidding wars and sky-high prices.

So it’s easy to see why the subject of housing prices is just as hot among readers as is the industry.

Everyone wants to know, not only what’s going on in their own cities, but what’s happening on the other side of the country.

In this special package, CanWest News Service gives readers a clear picture of the housing situation across Canada.

Vancouver — The simple fact that Greater Vancouver will be the only area in Canada this year to see an increase in residential-home construction tells you all you need to know about the strength of the residential market.

The fact that buyers, even at the lower-end of the market, are eagerly lining up and paying full price for new starter homes and their piece of real-estate heaven on the West Coast, underlines the markets confidence.

All this, despite the city’s doubtful reputation of having the most expensive housing in the land.

Victoria — The average price of a single-family dwelling jumped 53.6 per cent between 2000 and 2004, from $251,398 to $386,045.

And ,while many believe Canada‘s aging baby boomers looking to retire in Victoria are fuelling the market, housing industry experts say that the number of out-of-town buyers have held steady between 25 and 30 per cent over the past five years.

Calgary — As the city approaches the one-million population mark, it continues to boast of being one of the most affordable major cities in the country in which to live.

With no provincial sales tax, low mortgage rates, a young population (the average Calgarian is 34.8 years of age) and high personal income levels (an average annual income of $39,080 per employee at the end of 2004), the demand for housing is strong at all market levels.

Winnipeg — New housing starts are at near historic highs in metropolitan Winnipeg, while resale houses continue to sell for higher and higher prices and at a faster clip.

Analysts don’t see the market pressures abating anytime soon.

Toronto — According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, 3,702 resales were recorded over the first half of March, up 10 per cent over March 2004, which was a record month for Toronto resales.

Prices have also jumped, with a low-rise home in the greater Toronto area averaging $335,967, up nine per cent from the $307,155 recorded at the end of March

Montreal — For the first time in at least six years, the number of active listings in the Montreal market is on the rise.

In February, there were 31,712 properties on the computerized Multiple Listings Service, compared to 24,024 a year earlier.

Halifax — After record high prices and sales in Halifax in 2002, the city’s hot real-estate market is slowing down.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

300 Whalley condos sell in 3 hours

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Lena Sin

An artist’s rendering of the five-tower Central City residential and retail development project in Whalley. The project is being touted as a landmark that will transform the neighbourhood. — THE PROVINCE

Homebuyers are voting with their dollars for a Korean developer’s ambitious plan to turn Whalley — the much-villified, crime-riddled Surrey neighbourhood — into a revitalized centre.

The first of 1,300 prospective buyers showed up at 5 a.m. yesterday to bid on the first of five towers to be built next to the King George SkyTrain station.

Just three hours into the sale, offers had been made on more than 300 units worth about $79 million.

By 5 p.m., there were just 10 suites left of the 345-unit Infinity tower, part of the Central City residential project.

“These are the strongest condo sales we have ever seen in the suburbs,” said realtor Jason Craik of MAC Real Estate Solutions.

Final sale figures won’t be known for another six days, since buyers are given a one-week grace period to rescind their offers.

The $350-million, five-year project is spearheaded by Myung-Soo Jung, the first developer to argue that new residential construction can be profitably built in Surrey‘s beleagured centre.

Although MAC, the marketer of the property, outlines a number of advantages — easy transit access, its own shopping arcade — price is clearly the biggest draw.

“It’s an unmatched offering when you look at what you really get for what you’re paying,” said Craik.

One-bedroom suites start at $140,000, two-bedroom condos at $180,000. In comparison, the average condo price in Vancouver West was $326,849 in March, up 8.8 per cent from last year, according to MLS housing statistics.


Whalley’s reputation as a crime and drug centre, arguing that city council is actively working to realize its vision of Whalley as a livable, mixed-use centre.

“Every area has its challenges, and I think people are going to see through that,” said Craik.

“Bottom line is, nobody can buy a home for this price anywhere else.

“You’re getting a five-tower development, you’re getting the start of a revitalization of a city that really has a clean slate to work with.”

Jung, 41, is president of Jung Ventures and moved from South Korea to West Vancouver last year.

He said he’s aware of Whalley’s crime problems but believes Central City will become a landmark in the revitalization of the neighbourhood.

The second tower for Central City will go on sale in June, at about the same time construction for the first tower is set to begin.

Surrey Re/Max realtor Scott Williams said there’s a lot of interest in the Whalley area from first-time homebuyers.

“I get a fair amount of interest every year, but more so lately because it’s been years since anything’s been done in that area,” said Williams.

“But now, it’s going all over the place. There are several townhouse sites, condo buildings and, of course now, you’ve got the big towers they’re selling.”

Yesterday proved to be a major coup for Craik Surrey wasn’t the only city where condos were selling fast.

A second property in Burnaby, Park 360, also marketed by Craik, had half of its 100 units sold by the afternoon, netting about $35 million in sales.

Craik has already sold $60- million worth of real estate in the first quarter of this year, outpacing Vancouver‘s top realtor, Bob Rennie, who has sold $27.9 million as of March 31. Rennie, of Rennie Marketing Systems, moved 703 units worth $405.8 million last year.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

Canadians ‘unrealistic’ about buying homes

Friday, April 22nd, 2005


A lot of Canadians appear to be as blind to the financial risks of buying a home in the booming housing market as many were about the risks of investing in the booming stock market of the 1990s.

Nearly one-half of homeowners and potential homebuyers believe house prices will never go down, according to survey results released Thursday by a major financial institution.

While 54 per cent suggested they believe it’s “possible” that house prices could go down, 44 per cent feel they “will never go down,” the CIBC homeownership survey revealed. Just over one in five “strongly agree” and nearly one-quarter “somewhat agree” that house prices will never go down.

While the housing market has had a good run for the past half decade, and analysts don’t expect the current housing boom to go bust as it did in the 1980s.

© The Vancouver Sun 2005

Lumiere’s chef in a stew over his patio

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

City inspector says the sheltered sidewalk patio doesn’t comply with the rules

Maurice Bridge

VANCOUVER – He smoked the Iron Chef, but Rob Feenie, Vancouver‘s international celebrity chef, could be facing an even tougher fight against the bureaucrats at Vancouver city hall.

Earlier this year Feenie triumphed over high-ranked Japanese chef Masaharu Morimoto in a television showdown on Iron Chef America, the highest-rated series in the history of the Food Network. But now Darren Joseph, large sidewalk patio coordinator for the City of Vancouver, has Feenie pinned, and ready to cry “Ojisan” — uncle in Japanese.

The fight is all about the patio outside Lumiere, Feenie’s renowned restaurant at 2551 W. Broadway. Sheltered behind chest-high trees in concrete planters, diners can enjoy their meals al fresco, with a green barrier between them and the traffic on the street and sidewalk.

The patio was installed seven years ago, and Feenie says it has worked just fine ever since, with nary a complaint from anyone.

“For me, the frustrating part is to have a patio that’s been the same for seven years and no one notices it, and then seven years later wanting us to redo it,” Feenie said Wednesday, adding that he has been paying the city a regular patio fee since it was installed.

“I think in this city — and it’s just my own opinion, with having to pay this money — I think there’s a lot of other things they can worry about instead of clamping down on patios.”

Feenie even wonders if he was ratted out by someone jealous of his success, but Joseph says Lumiere is just one of a number of establishments caught in the net when the city recently decided to check the 250 or so large patios on city property for compliance.

When it got to Lumiere in February, the city found the patio wasn’t exactly the same as the design that had been approved back in 1998.

Feenie doesn’t argue that point, but says the current arrangement works well for his customers and adds a pleasant green touch to the streetscape — just the kind of thing a recent city-sponsored contest called 21 Places for the 21st Century seems to encourage.

But rules, says Joseph, are rules.

“Businesses are expected to be in compliance with the legal agreement that they’ve all signed that clearly states what the regulations are,” he said.

He adds Lumiere’s patio is not living up to the city’s philosophy for allowing sidewalk patios in the first place.

“They’re supposed to provide life and vibrancy to the property,” he said. “What [they’re] not supposed to do is provide an enclosure, or an extension of the building, or a private setting for patrons.”

He says Feenie is welcome to appeal his case to city council, but he doesn’t think he stands much of a chance.

Feenie’s not folding his hand just yet, but admits he and his partner are reluctantly looking at Plan B, a compromise that would see some of the planters removed and replaced with open railings, and nothing higher than the city-mandated 101 centimetres — 40 inches.

He has a month to comply, but he’s not going without a parting shot.

“… It’s just sad to see something so minute when there are so many other issues.”

© The Vancouver Sun 2005

Bell Mobility Blimp takes aerial tour of Downtown Vancouver

Thursday, April 21st, 2005


GLENN BAGLO/VANCOUVER SUN It’s a leisurely if noisy way to tour the sites of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Vancouver obliges with a warm, clear spring day that affords an unobstructed view.

From the gondola of the Bell Lightship, Norm Silins looks down Tuesday on what will be his domain for the next five years.

Silins directs the pilot to take the blimp first to the University of B.C., then over to Cypress Bowl, then back to the city core.

As it does so, he points out each of the 2010 Olympic venues for which he will oversee the build-out of the telecommunications infrastructure that will not only wire that athletic world together for two weeks, but aid in bringing it to Vancouver and the globe.

The entire solution offered by Bell will be one based on Internet protocol, a first for the Olympics, said Silins, who is the general manager in charge of the overall telecom solution for 2010.

“All the finished services for 2010 will be IP,” said Silins. “So it’s going to be voice and data, all the Internet services, all the broadcast and the audio services.”

What that does is it parallels the evolution of Bell Canada, said Silins in an interview.

“We’re turning our company into an all-IP company in parallel to the delivery of services to the Games,” said Silins.

Silins said that recently Bell has been working with broadcasters to provide solutions for them and has been building its infrastructure.

“And our infrastructure is centred on building our fibre-optic connectivity to all the venues, building our fibre-optic connectivity from Vancouver to Whistler and building out our wireless services.”

Silins added that Bell is working with the architects and the Vancouver Olympics Organizing Committee to plan the access and services at all the venues.

“Where we have the opportunity to build new we’re particularly interested because we can really enhance the service offering by building conduit and access paths that are tailored specifically to the events of the Olympics, as well as left for legacy,” said Silins. “We’re very focussed not only for delivering for 2010, but also for what legacy we’re going to leave in communities.”

Silins said that predicting the technology that will be available for use in 2010 is difficult.

“We do know one thing and that is that the services we deploy for the Games will be reliable, tested and true,” said Silins. “Two years prior to the Games all services have to be fully beta tested, so reliability is of paramount importance.

© The Vancouver Sun 2005


Moving vans head toward booming BC

Thursday, April 21st, 2005


For the second year running, more people have moved to British Columbia from other parts of Canada than have gone the other way, an important statistic that reflects growing economic opportunity in the province.
   During the lost decade of New Democratic Party rule in the 1990s, B.C. witnessed an alarming exodus, with net outflow surging to a record of more than 17,000 in 1998. The trend continued through 2000 as B.C.’s poor economic performance, stifled by the high-tax, anti-business policies of the NDP, turned a once wealthy and prosperous land into a “have-not” province within
Canada, qualifying for federal handouts to make ends meet.
   The Business Council of British Columbia points out that there have only been nine years since 1961 when net migration was negative and five of these reflect the legacy of poor economic performance in the 1990s.
   The election of the Liberals in 2001 began to reverse the negative trend and, by 2003, the net inflow of population returned to normal levels. Using figures compiled by Statistics Canada, the Association of Canadian Studies has calculated that B.C.’s net gain from interprovincial migration in 2003 was 3,747. With the economy firing on all cylinders, that number soared to 7,080 in 2004 and the Credit Union Central of B.C. has forecast that it will rise to 7,300 this year.
   In 2003 and 2004, B.C. and
Alberta were the only provinces to record net migration gains, and B.C. alone saw a dramatic turnaround. The net gain from other provinces confirms what other indicators suggest — B.C. is outperforming the Canadian economy.
   B.C.’s unemployment rate fell to 6.5 per cent in March, a rate not seen since 1981. And the province is leading the country in job creation.
   While external factors, such as global economic growth, high commodity prices and lower interest rates, are partly responsible for this performance, they don’t fully explain B.C.’s dramatic return to economic health. Provincial government policies — lower personal and business taxes and less counterproductive and costly regulations — have created an investment friendly climate. B.C. was top of the heap for new business investment in 2004. As a result, B.C. has become a magnet for thousands of entrepreneurs and workers looking for business opportunities and work.
   There’s little downside to this inflow, other than putting upward pressure on real estate prices. People moving from other provinces are coming to take advantage of the bounty that B.C. has to offer. As such, they make a positive contribution to the economy. They tend to be younger, keen to work and happy to make B.C. their home.
   We’re happy to have them.

©The Vancouver Sun