White Rock Residents Unhappy About Proposed High Rise

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The town of White Rock BC, is often referred to as as a sleepy beach side community right next to the US border crossing. Residents of White Rock welcome beach going visitors year round to their small town  – however most residents do not welcome change with open arms.

On Aug 13 2015 a meeting was held in White Rock’s Center for Active Living, to discuss the proposed plan of creating a 15 story high rise project – right in the middle of White Rock’s suburbs – 10 blocks west of the town Center. View the Proposal Here: White Rock Development Proposal

It was quickly evident that many locals were not happy with the plans. As written by the Peace Arch News
this morning:

“This is nasty,” Barry Belec told Howard Steiss, a South Surrey resident and vice-president of project proponent Texor Homes Inc., of the 134-unit residential project planned for North Bluff Road at Nichol Road.

“There’s no place for a 15-storey tower in a residential neighbourhood,” added Wilma Boyd, a longtime volunteer on White Rock’s environmental advisory committee.

Naomi Ohlsson, who said she has lived immediately behind the site for the past 23 years, told Steiss that if it goes ahead, “I don’t want to live in White Rock anymore.”

Ohlsson said the project would impact her quality of life and devalue her property, while increasing crime and other safety issues.

Texor’s 134-unit proposal includes two-storey townhouses on the south and west sides of the highrise.

To proceed, it would require rezoning as well as an amendment to the city’s Official Community Plan – currently under review – which designates only White Rock’s town centre as high-density.

While the location of the proposed development – on three lots at 14022 and 14034 North Bluff Rd. and 1590 Nichol Rd. – is several blocks from the town centre, and amongst primarily single-family homes, Steiss said it “makes a lot of sense.”

In addition to being close to transit, not impacting views and needing few, if any, trees to be removed, he told Peace Arch News the “vertical subdivision” would provide a diversity of housing attainable to a wider range of potential buyers.

Building single-family housing for the equivalent volume of people would require about 13 acres of land, he added.

White Rock resident Dan Driediger, who moved to the city’s town centre three years ago, told PAN he fully supports Texor’s plans; that the project will provide options for those who can’t afford single-family homes.
“That’s how you create affordable (housing), is by density,” Driediger said.

Several Residents are questioning why White Rock city officials are even considering this application which will impact the quality of life and devalue the property of so many.

The next step for the application process includes internal city review, meeting with the land use planning committee and then schedule a public hearing.

At this point – no further meetings have been schedule.

Are Single Family Homes on an Endangered List?

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The dream for many in the middle class is that they will be able to afford a detached home with a yard. And many want this same dream for their children, so that they can have a rich and happy home-life for years to come. However, this dream is quickly becoming unattainable for those living in Vancouver. Single family homes are, essentially, poised to be placed on the endangered list.

Bob Rennie, the “condo king” of Rennie Marketing Systems, recently spoke to the Urban Development Institute. In his speech, he declared that “the world has moved on,…cities change, and that younger generations are adjusting their expectations.” The Harvard International Review has also pointed out that Vancouver is a great hedge city that is attracting foreign investors in droves. Particularly, Chinese and Russian investors are making millions from their capitalist countries, while fearing the unpredictable governmental regimes that can be oppressive. They see a locale like Vancouver as being a safe place to invest their fortunes.

Journalist Jessica Dormann has recently noted that “whole neighbourhoods are under construction.” She also ponders, “How long can Vancouver sustain these levels of growth and investment? And what will a sudden crisis in Beijing mean for Vancouver?” She also ponders what this problem will mean for Vancouver’s younger generations who will find it harder to afford local properties.

Following this same train of thought, Rennie has suggested that Vancouver institute a tax to cut back on real estate speculation. However, this will not fix the problem of foreign investment. Most foreign investors are not buying to resell again quickly for a fast buck. Instead, they are looking to buy a house and maintain it for the long term. Nor does it take care of the supply-and-demand issue as there are expected to be thousands of incoming immigrants annually who will need housing as well.

Another suggestion from Rennie to handle the demand problem is to more densely pack real estate with multi-family properties. He adds that the single-family detached home is going to be extinct soon in Vancouver. More and more properties will be tightly populated with families. In the five years between 2006 and 2011, Vancouver had 900 single-family homes demolished and converted into other types of property, such as duplexes, condominiums, and apartment complexes. Currently, there are only 47,000 single-family homes and very little land left to build new ones. Although the future is uncertain, one line of thinking is that if the supply increases to accommodate the demand, then perhaps the overall price will start to come back down to something that is more affordable for local Vancouver residents.



Moving to White Rock more affordable for Vancouverites

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Recently, Vancouverites for Affordable Housing drew 500 people to their rally in hopes of drawing attention to an issue that is consuming the city right now. Eveline Xia one of the keynote speakers and organizers, is hoping to put a focus on the problem of out-of-control housing prices without letting the debate degenerate into accusations of racism. She feels that holding this rally will raise the level of discourse so that something productive will come out of it rather than just falling apart into “noise and fog and useless banter.”

Xia, who started the viral hashtag #donthave1million, is an example of the millennial generation that are finding it harder and harder to find affordable places to live in Vancouver. Like many of these individuals, she grew up in Vancouver and is now finding herself priced out of living in her own hometown, leading to serious questions about how she is expected to live in this city that is becoming more and more the exclusive domain of the ultra-rich.

Many in our younger generation are looking outside the city to places like, White Rock, Surrey and Burnaby for more affordable housing. However, recently there has been a lot of social media activity around living in Rich-mond and being poor. So it seems that even the suburbs of greater Vancouver are feeling the pinch of unaffordability.

So far, the issue has been largely ignored by the BC government. Although researchers have been pointing to foreign investment in real estate as the main cause for outrageously high home prices, the government has taken a “hands-off approach.” It is only recently that members of the government have even acknowledged that there is a problem. But that acknowledgment has come with little action, even so much as collecting data on foreign ownership of homes. This has been the first step for other countries that have been hit by foreign investment, using data collection to help implement new laws, including special taxes on home purchases by overseas investors.

The data that does invest has been culled from private research. For instance, the South China Morning Post has pointed out that Vancouver is the number one city in the world when it comes to millionaire foreign migration. In the seven years ranging from 2005 to 2012, Vancouver saw 45,000 foreign millionaires move into the city. That is substantially more than those who moved into the entire United States during those same seven years.

Besides the problem of a younger generation who see themselves as lifelong renters, the rising home price-tags are driving young workers out of Vancouver. This has the potential to hurt the economy as labor shortages are likely to keep workers out of the city. In the next ten years, all but three of the top 88 high-demand jobs will pay so little that those in the jobs will not be able to afford housing. In that time, the average household will have to earn over $125,000 to be able to take out a mortgage.

Unbelievable Places To Visit in Canada

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Canada has always been known for its majestic vistas and spectacular landscapes.  People come from all over to visit and move to Canada because of the beauty of the natural surroundings.  But did you know that there are some truly magnificent places in Canada that are absolutely unbelievable until you behold them in all of their glory?  Here, then, are just four Canadian locales that you should consider adding to your bucket list as “must-see” locations in your lifetime.

Mount Thor—Like its mythical namesake, Mount Thor is surely an awe-inspiring peak of epic proportions.  This mountain reaches 1,675 metres and is located on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada.  (It is part of the Auyuittuq National Park.)  Besides being a mountain with over one mile of height to it, Mount Thor also features the world’s largest vertical drop at 1,250 metres.  That’s over 4,000 feet of straight drop with an average angle of just fifteen degrees from the vertical!  Even though the mountain is very remote, it still attracts mountain climbers from all over the world who want to test themselves with this feat of Nature.  But you don’t have to be into extreme outdoor sports to enjoy the view; camping is also allowed in the park as well.
•    Abraham Lake —Although it may not be necessarily “made by Nature,” Abraham Lake is still a beautiful view that you should definitely check out.  Abraham Lake is a man-made lake on the North Saskatchewan River in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies that run through western Alberta.  This artificial lake was formed in 1972 when the Bighorn Dam was built, forming a 53.7 kilometer by 32 kilometer lake that is known for the deep blue color that other glacial lakes are known for.  The lake is truly majestic in the winter and it is a sight to see if you haven’t seen ice bubbles in a lake before.
•    Manicouagan Crater —This crater, which is located mainly in Manicouagan Regional County in the Côte -Nord region of Quebec.  The crater is over 200 million years old and is actually visible from space.  (It is the sixth-largest confirmed impact crater in the world.)  The crater is thought to have been caused when a five-kilometer meteor hit the area as part of a possible extinction level event.  It also features an unusual multiple-ring structure that features a lake surrounding an inner island plateau.

•    Pingualuit Crater—If craters are your thing, then consider another beautiful crater that dates back just 1.5 million years to the Pleistocene Era.  This crate, also called the New Quebec Crater, is located in the Ungava Peninsula.  The crater has a circular diameter of almost 3.5 kilometers and features the Pingualuk Lake that is one of the deepest lakes in North America and also one of the clearest.  The water accumulates only from precipitation and is some of the purest on the planet with a salinity level of three parts per million.

Express Immigration

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Five months ago, Canada started a new initiative for immigration. This program is meant to streamline the program for those immigrants who are applying for permanent residence in Canada. This new program is Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Express Entry system, or CIC for short. Even before the program was initiated, there were serious grumblings about the plan and the Canadian Bar Association is just one group that is putting pressure on the government in order to change the program, especially concerning how it affects foreign nationals.

As of February of this year when the program was two months old, CIC has collected a pool of candidates, from which four draws have been announced. All of these applicants scored between 735 and 886 on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) that is used to determine immigration. It is impossible for a candidate to score more than 600 points without a qualifying provincial nomination or a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)—which replaces the Labour Market Opinion (LMO). Since all of the candidates thus far scored at least 735, that means all of the applicants met one of these two requirements. So far, if you do not have these portions of the application, you are still waiting in the pool of candidates to receive permanent status, no matter what your level of education, skills or talents that could profit the job market. It also does not take in any possible Canadian or foreign experience that you may (or may not) have. As of this writing, a little over 3700 candidates have been selected as part of this program. As such, they have been invited by the Canadian government to apply to become permanent residents of the country.

To put some of this into perspective, you must consider the original goals of CIC that were laid out in 2014. CIC had anticipated admitting roughly 15,000 foreign nationals under the heading of Canadian Experience Class. This would not have included the numbers that they planned to admit under the auspices of Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, and Provincial Nominee Programs. If CIC continues on its current rate of processing and invitation, approximately 18,000 foreign nationals will be invited to claim permanent resident status this year under the Express Entry program. This may seem daunting, but keep in mind that it is a little more than one-fourth the total anticipated invitations it hopes to issue out in 2015 (65,000 anticipated). CIC has, as yet, not been very forthcoming about why the applications are being slowed leaving many to think that they are taking things relatively slowly as the program is first starting out.

For  more information about immigrating to Canada visit:http://www.immigration.ca/en/

Star Trek Fivers

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When science-fiction legend and Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy passed away on February 27 of this year, everyone knew that fans would be greatly affected.  The actor, who famously portrayed the Vulcan Spock in the TV series from 1966-1969 and went on to play the role in eight subsequent films, was one of the most beloved television actors in history with legions of devoted fans.  However, no one could have possibly guessed that his death would lead to a trend with Canadian currency.

As a tribute to the actor, many Canadian fans began immediately after his death to “Spock” their five-dollar notes.  Since then, the practice has continued until even the Bank of Canada has stepped in to request that Canadians cease the practice.  The Canadian five-dollar bill has the portrait of Sir Wilfred Laurier, who not only served as Canada’s seventh prime minister, but who also bears a passing resemblance to Leonard Nimoy.

By shading in the Laurier’s hair to give him a longer cut like Spock wore on the television show.  Angling the shading also gives the prime minister the appearance of pointy ears like the Vulcan aliens of which Spock was a member.  Draw in some arched eyebrows, another of Nimoy’s trademarks, and Laurier can become a dead-ringer for the beloved Spock.  Many Canadians are topping off the “Spocking” of their fivers by adding Spock’s famous mantra, “Live long and prosper.”  This phrase has become a philosophy of sorts and is probably one of the most famous lines in television and movie history.  There is no word on whether anyone has figured out how to add the famous Vulcan hand salute as well.

The Bank of Canada has stated that, unlike in other countries, it is not illegal in Canada to write on or deface Canadian currency in this manner.  However, they did issue a statement urging Canadians to stop the practice.  They claim that writing on the bill could “interfere with the security features and reduce its [the bill’s] lifespan…[and] may also prevent it from being accepted in a transaction.”  The bank is also appealing to Canadian’s civic duty as they feel that the bills are “a symbol of our country and a source of national pride” that should not be defaced.  Since its not illegal, many are still continuing the practice and some are suggesting it should become a permanent change to the bill.

Is There a Real Estate Insiders Club in Canada?

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The MLS is a tool for sellers and buyers in the real estate market, but sometimes a home does not always find its way to the MLS and instead finds its way from seller to buyer via other means. Pocket listings, pre-listing sales, and non-MLS listings are considered hazardous ways to work the market.

The advantage of a broker selling a property in these manners, some might argue, is to gain more of the commission or keep the property within the agent’s office for their own advantage. When properties are sold this way, they are possibly not given the fair and proper exposure to the public and oftentimes these homes see fewer offers and obtain a lower sales price. However, they sell much, much quicker.

When the government takes action, you know that harm is possibly affected by not giving a home a proper listing period. Fannie Mae now requires an MLS listing for five business days before approving short sale offers. Some might argue that it is discriminatory to not post a home on the MLS because by doing so, certain people are denied accessibility to bid on the property.

Privacy concerns may come into play with listings not posted on the MLS, but risks are inherent and all parties involved typically get everything in writing. This might be the case for high-profile homeowners – such as an athlete or celebrity.

Pocket listings are becoming less common, as the ‘Coming Soon’ signs are essentially taking their place. Some pocket listings might involve a home currently rented out; with the broker knowing the house will come to market once the tenants lease nears the end and plans on moving out. If they have a suitable buyer before then, it might just be the perfect home for the perfect buyer with less than perfect timing.

Brokers often sell Pre-MLS listings after marketing to other brokers in their own firm and other local firms. Clearly, their marketing of the property is working and if another broker has just the right buyer for the home, a sale of the property before it goes to MLS is not uncommon.

While forgoing the MLS may be more common, many homeowners do not choose to forgo a licensed broker. Having a professional’s objective and collective experience can guide the process, whether selling or buying. As for dual agency transactions – whereas a single agent acts for both the buyer and the seller – they can often hurt a homebuyer, home seller, and agent or brokerage firm if the deal goes bad.

Some brokers argue that the system of selling homes is outdated and has operated the same for the past several decades. The method by which homes are sold needs to catch up to the technology savvy and swift consumers of today. Additionally, the average Canadian moves thirteen times in their lifetime, up significantly from the frequency in which residents moved 50 years ago. Mom and dad’s home of yesteryear is still standing and happily occupied by them, but mom and dad’s house of today will long be gone, many times over, before the kids are even off to college.


CRTC VS Netflix – Who Will Win This Battle?

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As usual Netflix and Google are ruffling some feathers. This time its the feathers of the CRTC. For the last year the CRTC has been trying to get the Canadian broadcast regulation reformed. Thanks to the vocal support of the government CRTC has made quite a bit of progress in the way consumers are able to purchase their channels. Some of the policies that protected the marketplace are now being changed.

No longer will Canadian content be prioritized over commercial success. And while these changes are important changes, the problem is it’s not just the Canadian broadcasters that are bringing them up. Netflix and Google have stepped in and are now challenging the commission’s authority when it comes to online video services.

netflix-canadaThe debate over how online video services should be regulated is nothing new. As a matter of fact it has been going on for almost 20 years. Back in the 90’s the CRTC decided they wouldn’t regulate online video. Instead they set up an exemption that excluded this type of service from broadcast regulations.

However, once services like YouTube and Netflix became super successful the CRTC decided to step in and try to regulate. Most people wanted the commission to create a contributions program that is commonly referred to as a Netflix tax. The commission didn’t think this was needed and decided against it. Instead of a tax they opted to adjust the regulatory exemption and make it mandatory for online video providers to disclose certain information.

When this change first took place it garnered very little attention. But now looking back it is the very reason there is a legal war going on between the CRTC and Netflix.

The real issue is that the law is outdated. The lines have been blurred and it is very unclear what can and cannot be legally regulated. The law is simply not suited to deal with internet based video services. In a perfect world the government would step up and require it be modernized. But as we all know, that’s not going to happen. Because of this the commission now finds itself in a very big fight. And truth be told, this is one they probably won’t win.

BC Alberta Pipeline Negative Effects – What Will It Really Cost?

Posted by webgard in canada, housing, moving, real estate | Leave a comment

pipelineIn the last couple of weeks energy giant Kinder Morgan made some very interesting comments about pipeline spills. They believe pipeline spills are actually a good thing as they create employment opportunities for those residing in the affected areas. After all, the spills do have to be cleaned up by someone right?

And while this statement is true, it is also morally wrong on a lot of different levels. Yes, pipeline spills will without a doubt create jobs. How many, well that’s up for debate. The bottom line is it will also destroy everything in its path. Whenever there is an oil spill it destroys the environment. It can also destroys human life as the oil can contaminate the water supply.

Even with all of that, companies still continue to increase their capacity all for the sake of a dollar. Its not about how many lives will be impacted in a negative way. No, its about how much more money can we make and how fast can we make it. That’s all the big energy companies really care about and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

Let’s take the BP spill that took place back in 2010. That oil spill was all but predicted and no one seemed to do anything about it. No one cared they were increasing their capacity from 300,000 barrels a day to 890,000 barrels a day.

They didn’t care because everyone was making money. The company and the government were cashing in big time and they justified it by creating a very small number of jobs. What’s even worse is these companies aren’t carrying conventional oil.

They are carrying tar sands which is far more dangerous than conventional oil. Tar sands is a very thick substance that is injected with chemicals to liquify it so it is able to be pumped through a pipeline. It is very corrosive and will cause major damage if spilled.

When it boils down to it cleaning up these massive oil spills costs billions of dollars. Yes they may create a few jobs, but when you really think about it, the consequences of these oil spills far outweigh the benefits.

Trends in Vancouver Real Estate: Downsizing Baby Boomers

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Vancouver’s Baby Boomers Sitting on A Gold Mine

Vancouver Developers are heavily targeting the baby boom segment of the real estate market. Many homeowners have discovered that downsizing can mean upsizing. There seems to be 3 types of boomers in this city. Those who are living on a tight budget for affordability reasons and don’t have the luxury of downsizing. Others in the 60 year age range opt to go smaller and less expensive so they can capitalize on the revenue from the sale of their home and finance retirement. The third group, are the boomers in the final phase of their lives – this is the group who is searching for bigger and better — they are cashing in on Vancouver’s outrageous house prices. One realtor suspects that the over-55 age group in Vancouver and surrounding cities is sitting on $163.4 billion in clear-title residential property – all of them report having surplus bedrooms and ample living space. These are the people downsizing, but they are looking for high end and large dwellings. They want incorporated luxurious finishings — marble in bathrooms, Wolf ovens and Sub-Zero refrigerators and wine fridges — and equipped units with outdoor space outfitted with a sink, barbecue and outdoor fireplace. The main goal is the create the feeling of a house in a condominium style space. Developer Jon Stovell, of Reliance Properties, told a spring conference on real estate development that boomers “right now are the wealthiest people in society. “They are moving into towers downtown with water views, suites measuring 1,500 to 2,000 square feet.

Changing the Vancouver Condo Market

These boomers have sold their homes in Shaugnessy for millions and realize that in order to move downtown, they will have to spend just the same. These boomers are not downsizing – it is a lateral move financially. The 50-plus buyers experiences “a ‘second coming’ of sorts, a time to reinvent or enhance their lifestyle once their kids move out, their mortgage is paid off and priorities change. This demographic is predicted to have a major influence in the Vancouver realestate market. Developers are predicting that this age group is going to be the next big trend in real estate development. A successful developer must anticipate what buyers will want before even the buyers recognize their preferences. Many developers have their eye closely watching economic conditions and the behavior of assorted target groups. That’s how a new market for micro-suites, appealing to cash-strapped Gen Y buyers, was discovered. Now developers are recognizing Vancouver’s Wealthy Boomer demographic. Visit crescentmovers.ca for information on a affordable downsizing moving rates.

Read more at the Vancouver Sun