Friday, November 20, 2009
BURNABY, November 19, 2009 – The Government of B.C. announced today the HST transition rules on housing.
“As a result of the advice you have provided to government and B.C.’s unique real estate conditions, the Province is proposing to increase the threshold for B.C.,” said Colin Hansen, Minister of Finance, in a statement to CHBA BC early today.
The Province is proposing to increase the threshold for the B.C. HST new housing rebate from $400,000 to $525,000 to ensure that, on average, purchasers of new homes up to $525,000 pay no more tax due to harmonization than is currently embedded as PST. Purchasers of new homes would be eligible for a rebate of 71.43 per cent of the provincial portion of the HST paid on a new home, up to a maximum of $26,250. Homes above $525,000 would receive a flat rebate of $26,250 or the same 5% that CHBA BC has recommended. This enhanced rebate represents a 30 per cent increase in the threshold and maximum rebate available.
“CHBA BC has worked diligently to ensure meaningful change to the HST threshold and we are pleased that government has acknowledged our recommendations in their final decision. We will over the next two years continue to compile empirical data to demonstrate to government that this threshold sill needs to be raised. Indexing will also be top of mind as we continue lobbying,” said Bob Deeks, President of CHBA BC.
The Province is also proposing transitional rules for new housing. The provincial portion of the HST would not apply to sales of new homes where ownership or possession is transferred before July 1, 2010.
CHBA BC suggested to government that new houses should be entitled to grandparenting up to July 1, 2010. Grandparenting rules issued in today’s notice state that sales of newly constructed or substantially renovated homes would be grandparented where the written agreements of purchase and sale are entered into on or before November 18, 2009 and both ownership and possession of the homes are transferred under the agreement after June 2010.
For more information on new housing rebates and transitional rules for B.C. HST, please visit www.sbr.gov.bc.ca.
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC, a viable industry driven organization, is the voice of the residential construction industry in BC, and is built on a vision of strong and positive roles for the housing industry. CHBA BC is committed to supporting the professionalism of our over 1700 members and providing affordability, quality and choice for consumers. CHBA BC’s voluntary membership comprises builders, developers, renovators, suppliers and other professionals who are dedicated to industry excellence.
Nafisa Abdulla, Director of Communications
Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
If you are a homeowner or commercial building owner and you are looking to replace your roof there is a new option out there for you to consider, and that is to replace your existing roof with a green roof.
A green roof system is an extension of the existing roof which involves a high quality water proofing and root repellent system, a drainage system, filter cloth, a lightweight growing medium and plants.
Modern green roof systems were developed in Europe in the 1970’s and they have become very popular. In certain cities in Europe, green roofs are mandated for all new construction. In North America, the benefits of green roof technologies are poorly understood and the market remains immature, despite the efforts of several industry leaders. However, this is changing rapidly in some areas, such as Vancouver, which has over four hundred thousand sq. ft. of green roofs within its boundaries.
Some of the benefits of green roofs are:
• Protection of roof membrane resulting in a longer material lifespan (it is estimated that green roofs will last up to twice as long as conventional roofs), resulting in decreased maintenance and savings in replacement costs.
• Savings on energy heating and cooling costs, depending on the size of the building, climate and type of green roof. Studies at BCIT have found up to a 66 % reduction in cooling costs on a one story building.
• Improves air quality and lowers ambient temperature
• Storm water retention
• Beautifying and reclaiming unused space
• Increased property value
While there are some challenges adapting green roofs to the Okanagan climate, these can be overcome by proper planning and selection of plants.
To learn more contact Jim Frank of Okanagan Living Roofs & Walls
250 826 6814
or contact www.flywheelbuildingsolutions.com
Monday, October 5, 2009
Learn how going green can reduce operating costs, increase competitive edge and a positive work culture.
Learn more about green design and building at www.flywheelbuildingsolutions.com
By Adrian Nieoczym
A major water crisis is coming to British Columbia unless we change how this vital resource is managed, says a new report. And we’re going to feel it in the Okanagan first.
In a report released last week, the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council points out that B.C.’s population is growing, our rates of water consumption are among the highest in the world and that climate change is leading to hotter weather and smaller snowpacks, further reducing the supply of freshwater.
“Water scarcity undermines the viability of our communities and the health of our streams,” it says. The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council is an independent advisory body set up by the federal government.
Valley residents have already had a hint of what is to come, according to the report. For example, in 2003, the town of Summerland had to release water from its storage facilities into Trout Creek to save fish. As a result, less water was available for farmers.
The report also says that areas of the province which with the fastest growing populations – like the Okanagan- are also the ones reaching their limits on water use the fastest.
“First and foremost, I think the report really emphasizes the need to start looking at water as an increasingly scarce resource and it also highlights the fact that we have to manage our water resources more efficiently so we can better balance the needs of people, industry and agriculture on one hand and the needs of rivers and fish on the other,” said Mark Angelo, PFRCC chairman and head of the Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Department at BCIT.
The particularly hot and dry weather this summer has only made things worse. “There are a lot of streams running at really low levels,” said Angelo. “In many cases that’s exacerbated by excessive water withdrawals.”
Angelo noted that the provincial government recently curtailed water extraction from the Nicola River because low water flows were threatening Kokanee populations. The lower water volumes makes it harder for fish to swim upstream, increases water temperature and reduces the amount of habitat.
B.C.’s excessive water consumption is made worse by our growing population.
“We tend to use well over 300 litres per person, per day, so I think there’s lots of room to try and use water more efficiently,” said Angelo.
Part of the solution is providing financial incentives for people to conserve water, according to Angelo, who would like to see more water meters installed, like those in the City of Kelowna, so people pay for the water they actually use.
He also suggested instituting different pricing tiers so “excessive” users pay more for the extra water they consume.
Angelo also said the province’s Water Act, which dates back to 1909, is in dire need of updating. “It has to be revised to deal with the present day realities.”
The act currently only deals with how water extraction licenses are allocated, he said. “It’s virtually silent on things like the need to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems and it’s virtually silent on the need to protect fish.”
Many license holders do not use all the water they are entitled to, but if they did, many of B.C.’s rivers and streams would be drained.
“On the Nicola [river], if all of those licenses were used to their maximum potential, you would have a stream that would be close to dry,” said Angelo.
The coming water woes will be felt throughout the province but are likely to hit the the valley first, said Angelo.
“The Okanagan is one of the great places in the entire world to live but you’re seeing some dramatic increases in population. Your precipitation levels, though, are less than other parts of the province,”he said, adding that climate change is exacerbating the challenges. “You are going to see pressures and stresses on water supplies probably sooner – you’re already seeing them- and if anything those pressures or stresses are going to be greater in the Okanagan.”
Want to learn more about water conservation and green building - www.flywheelbuildingsolutions.com
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Effective June 1st, 2009
The Product Incentive Program provides financial incentives to organizations who replace inefficient products with energy-efficient technologies or add on products to existing systems to make them more efficient. Not all products are eligible. Please contact the BC Hydro web site at bchydro.com/incentives for all program policies, eligible products and performance criteria before purchasing products.
For more information, call 1 866 522 4713
For more information on green building and weblinks go to:
CPSC announced the recall of 94,000 dual sensor smoke alarms; the recall indicates an electrostatic discharge can damage the unit, causing it not to warn consumers of a fire. The smoke alarm were marked with the UL Listing Marks for the United States and Canada.
The recall can be viewed at:
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Summer’s here, and many Canadians are taking a look at the investment and lifestyle benefits of recreational property. Whether your perfect place is a cottage by the lake or a cabin in the mountains, you should be able to obtain financing on a second home with the same terms as financing on your principal residence.
How much you can afford to borrow depends on the size of your down payment, your income, mortgage interest rates, as well as your other financial obligations. A mortgage consultant can obtain a mortgage pre-approval, which will give you a clear sense of how much you can reasonably spend.
With a growing number of mortgage options on the Canadian market, as a prospective borrower you should understand your financing options. Emotion shouldn’t trump common sense when it comes to buying vacation property. Buyers need to do their mortgage homework, and the advice of a mortgage consultant can help them get the most for their vacation home dollar.
250 801 1279
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The Okanagan is heating up – and not just literally! The interior is now home to the first official solar hot water bulk buy in British Columbia, headed by Roger and Susan Huber of Swiss Solar Tech. The 24 homeowners on board are taking advantage of the additional incentives for groups of 20 or more.
"We didn’t expect to bring in the first official batch," said Susan Huber of their accomplishment. "But it feels great and we truly hope we can repeat this soon with another appeal to homeowners in the Okanagan." According to Susan, they managed to gather the homeowners by advertising, and by phoning up those who had an interest in solar hot water – some who had expressed their interest up to ten years ago.
This is a FREE event! SYNLawn will be supplying cold beverages, hot dogs, hamburgers and snacks with any proceeds going towards this weekend's 'Canadian Cancer Society Relay For Life'.
With a variety of applications from landscape grass to putting greens to playground systems, SYNLawn is a great fit for any project.
This is a great chance to get out of the house, learn a bit about SYNLawn, and help us raise funds to further support a great local event!
For more information contact:
Rene Bourgault at 250.765.4032
#140-948 McCurdy Rd
Friday, May 22, 2009
The following information was forwarded to me by Laurie Baird
5-year bond yields have jumped to 2.27%--up 40 basis points in the last 30 days. As a result, mortgage funding costs are spiking (fixed mortgage rates are generally linked to bond yields).
A few smaller lenders have already raised, or plan to raise, their 5-year fixed rates. As reported a few weeks ago, this may be a precursor to further, more wide-scale, rate increases.
1405 A Richter St, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 2L9
Visit our Blog: http://okanaganmortgageteam.blogspot.com
I don't know if "pool equipment noise" has been a concern for you on any of your projects. Some municipalities are getting so fed up with complaints of noisy pool pumps that they've mandated sound enclosures for all pool equipments. My partner Skip and I laugh at the ridiculousness of these efforts, when such an easy solution is available.
At least one of the leading pool equipment manufacturers has come out with a new "Variable Frequency Drive" pump design that has brought pump noise down to a whisper. By no great surprise, the electrical consumption has dropped dramatically as well. We've been using these new pumps for more than three years now, and getting outstanding results.
Admittedly, these new pumps aren't just "plug & play. The overall success of this new technology is dependent on three things. It requires:
An intelligent hydraulics design
Highly efficient, oversized plumbing
Proper programming for slightly longer running times at significantly lower amperages
If "noise abatement" and/or "energy efficiency" have been a concern for you on any of your projects, you may want to take a closer look at the attached article, where Skip describes the concepts and challenges in greater detail. Or give us a call. We're happy to help you with any pool-related design or construction challenges.
Till next time,
President, Valley Pool And Spa
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
On May 15 Kelowna will be hosting a Solar Hot Water Workshop for community members, developers, builders, contractors, architects and building inspectors.
Location - Capri Hotel from 7:30 to 4:30
Between a luncheon and networking session workshops will cover everything from Kelowna as a Solar Community to homeowner incentives for solar hot water installations.
Keynote speaker and reknonwned solar expert Gerhard Stryi-Hipp, will be receiving a 2009 Solar Leader Award during the event.
Gerhard Stryi-Hipp is Managing Director of the German Solar Industry Association. He is a senior expert in solar market development and also a board member of the European Solar Thermal Industry Association, chairman of the European Solar Thermal Technology Platform, and member of the European Photovoltaic Technology Platform.
Panel members will include Mayor Sheppard, BCSEA president Guy Dauncey, SolarBC's Nitya Harris, members of NRCAN, Fortis BC and the Provincial Government.
Fore more information contact: Carol Suhan (250 469 8116/carol.Shuhan@fortisbc.com) or David Mayes (250 762 4746 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
The 3rd Biennial International GeoExchange Conference and Trade Show May 13 – 15, 2009 is being held by GeoExchange BC in partnership with the Thermal Environmental Comfort Association (TECA). Through the collaboration of these two key organizations the conference aim is to bring you the latest news, knowledge and innovation in GeoExchange from the earth energy source to the point of use supply.
The 2009 conference will be held at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus in Kelowna. This newly developed campus, featuring a state of the art GeoExchange heating and cooling system, will host the trade show, technical sessions and delegate accommodation. Fabulous scenery, excellent recreational opportunities and an exciting conference social program will ensure the 3rd Biennial International GeoExchange Conference and Trade Show remains an unforgettable experience.
For more information contact
Rachel Bolongaro, P.Eng.
Telephone: (604) 308–4805
CleanTech Funding Workshop
Monday, May 11, 1-5pm
Okanagan College, KLO Campus, Kelowna
This is a free event but registration is required.
Presented by the Okanagan Science and Technology Council in association with the Okanagan Institute and Okanagan College.
Invited Agencies making presentations include: CMHC, SDTC, Community Futures, NSERC, ICE Fund, NRC-IRAP, Clean Tech Venture Capital Program
The Okanagan Science and Technology Council has been working with its regional partners to develop a cluster for "Clean Tech Construction." This initiative recognizes the fact that construction has been a driving force in the Okanagan Valley and that designing and constructing green buildings is the most efficient and cost-effective means of reducing greenhouse gases and other negative environmental factors. This is based on the fact that it far easier and less expensive to conserve a kilowatt of energy than it is to generate a new one.
Nonetheless the Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry is not always thought of as "Clean Tech" and many practitioners are not aware of the significant funding opportunities that they could access in the Clean Tech sector. While adding alternative energy sources such as solar panels to buildings is an obvious example, improved building envelope design and even the metering and monitoring of buildings for energy efficiency would both have significant impacts.
Following a template developed for the CleanTech Innovation Workshop held in March of this year, each presenter make a 5 to 10 minute overview of their programs and then we will provide break out rooms for representatives of each program to meet with interested parties.
Format and Schedule:
1 - 2 pm - 5-10 minute presentations by each agency
2 - 4 pm - Agency Breakouts - each speaker to meet with individuals
4 - 5 pm - Panel discussion and wrap up
For more information visit or contact Angela Hapke, OSTEC Projects and Events Director:
Monday, March 16, 2009
What will Kelowna be like in 2030? How can we make sure our children will still want to live here when they grow up?
How can we be more sustainable? How can we protect the environment, eliminate gridlock, and enhance the economy, all at the same time? They're important questions, and they're really best answered by you, the people who live here.
As part of the City's new public planning program called Kelowna 2030: Greening Our Future, they are looking for input from a wide range of citizens and groups.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This correspondence describes how the Ministry interprets the relevant tax provisions for information purposes only. This ruling and interpretation may be impacted by variations in circumstance, subsequent changes to legislation or subsequent court decisions. This ruling and interpretation is provided as an aid to understanding the legislation and is not intended to replace the legislation. The Ministry is not responsible for updating this ruling and interpretation if there are any subsequent changes to the law.
Policy and Legislation Branch (Consumption Tax Team)
Ministry of Finance
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The BC Minister of Public Safety John van Dongen announced on Friday January 30, 2009 that effective March 31, 2009 all house inspectors MUST be licensed in BC, a first in Canada. The Regulation provides that those certified by ASTTBC will qualify for a license. CAHPI(BC) and the National Certification Program are also named. House inspectors certified with ASTTBC will be able to apply to the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority for a license. The fee will be $100 and will be valid for 3 years. “This is an historic day in BC. I congratulate the Minister for his leadership in getting this done. ASTTBC and BCIPI have been calling for licensing for years so this represents a great step forward,” said ASTTBC’s Executive Director, John Leech. “ASTTBC will prepare full information for its members in the next week or two to make sure ASTTBC-registered house inspectors are able to get licensed without delay once the processes are fully defined.” BCIPI President Noel Murphy added that licensing is a first step to a higher quality of service for all British Columbians seeking house inspection services. “On behalf of BCIPI I am pleased that the Government has acted on their promise to license inspectors. Because of the high standards established by ASTTBC in partnership with BCIPI our members are the best qualified in BC and will most certainly be sought out by consumers to offer services as a house inspector.” For full details please go to http://www.bpcpa.ca
The regulation goes a long way to ensure the public has access to qualified, registered and accountable professionals, but it is not without some challenges going forward. “There are a couple of issues that will need to be addressed as we work together with the BPCPA to ensure the most effective Regulation and professional regulation: (1) there will not be one common standard for licensing; and (2) the complaints and professional regulation framework varies between the organizations identified in the Regulation. We need to move quickly to a level playing field to ensure best practices in this field,” said John Leech. “I have assured the Minister, Ministry staff and the Director of BPCPA that ASTTBC will continue to work cooperatively toward the highest standards of professional regulation in BC. Information will be made available to all ASTTBC-registered House Inspectors as needed to meet the requirements of the Regulation. Information will also be posted to ASTTBC and BCIPI web sites: http://www.asttbc.org/docs/govpressrelease.pdf
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
To learn more on unlocking the potential of your home go to www.flywheelbuildingsolutions.com
OTTAWA–Installing a new furnace this year? Building a deck?
The proposed federal budget offers a temporary new tax credit for your home renovations – provided you do them soon.
The Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) is designed to get Canadians spending now to help create jobs in industries typically hurt by an economic downturn.
"These measures to support home construction and renovation will help stimulate our construction and building-supplies industries," Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in his speech. "This in turn will support forestry and other Canadian industries. It will give an immediate boost to our economy, and help to create jobs."
Effective today through Jan. 31, 2010, homeowners can claim a tax credit for 15 per cent of renovation expenses between $1,000 and $10,000. The maximum tax credit (on $9,000 in renovations) is worth $1,350.
The government estimated the total value of the tax credit at about $3 billion, and expects about 4.6 million families to benefit.
The tax credit would apply to a variety of home improvements, such as renovating a kitchen, bathroom or basement, new carpet or hardwood floors, building an addition, deck, or fence, installing a new furnace, painting the inside or outside of a house, or laying new sod.
Expenses such as building permits, professional services, and equipment rentals are also eligible. Routine repairs and maintenance will not qualify for the credit. Nor will the cost of purchasing furniture, appliances, electronics, or construction equipment.
Houses, cottages and condominium units owned for personal use are eligible.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
For more detailed information go to www.freshoutlookfoundaiton.org
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
OTTAWA — The Harper government has been floating the idea of a tax credit for home renovations - an idea that could deliver significant stimulus for Canada's residential construction industry in the Jan. 27 budget.
Deliberations continue as Canada's premiers meet today in Ottawa to put the final touches on a budget request for Prime Minister Stephen Harper - one that sources say will include more cash for employment training, more benefits for the jobless and extra funding for infrastructure.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, meanwhile, has been conducting his own consultation on the looming budget, expected to deliver up to $30-billion in stimulus to soften an economic downturn.
During a closed-door session in Montreal last week, Mr. Flaherty asked participants' opinion on a partly refundable tax credit for renovations. Some economists among the more than 20 attendees criticized the proposal while representatives of the building-trades sector lauded it. Tax credits can be used to reduce the amount of taxes a person owes to the government, but refundable tax credits can benefit filers even if they have no taxes to be paid; in that case, they could get a refund based on the credit.
Friday, January 16, 2009
This year the Home Show features some excellent experts ....
Host of DISASTER DIY on HGTV BRYAN BAEUMLER is part of the new breed of contractors who are passionate, dedicated, and have a plan to execute. Bryan's mantra in his own contracting business is ‘Design, Destroy, Rebuild’ and he will bring a fresh vitality to the presentation stage this year. Saturday and Sunday only. Sponsored By Terasen Gas
JANE LOCKHARTcomes straight from her popular TV show on W, ‘Colour Confidential’ to join us at the KELOWNA HOME SHOW for the first time, with great new ideas on colour, decor and style trends for today and tomorrow. Appearances Friday and Saturday only.
DON BURNETT - ‘Going GREEN’is nothing new to Don, who has been dispensing sage advice about keeping our outside environment of trees, schrubs, gardens and landscaping healthy, green and beautiful.
Ken Kunka AScT,BCQ
Flywheel Building Solutions
250 859 6062
Monday, January 12, 2009
The South Okanagan chapter is preparing to build it’s second home this spring in Penticton. Building upon the lessons learned from its first build in 2007, Habitat is looking forward to partnering with Okanagan College this spring. Students from the carpentry program will be bringing the house up to lock-up stage but many volunteers are still needed to complete the building and landscaping. The following Video will explain the next program and family. http://www.habitatsouthokanagan.ca/movies/habitatnew.mov
Unfortunately the modern design proposed by Architect Cal Meiklejohn cannot be used with the building scheme restrictions for the new lot, but Habitat is looking to incorporate sustainable building practices and products as outlined in the “Built Green” program (www.builtgreencanada.ca).
Flywheel Building Solutions is proud to donate $400 towards this build plus assisting in the design and project coordination.
If you would like to learn more about Habitat for Humanity or volunteer please go to http://www.habitatsouthokanagan.ca . Habitat is also looking for gifts-in-kind, particularly towards “green” products.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Canadians not deflated about economic outlook
Jacqueline Thorpe, Financial Post Deflation may be public enemy number one among central bankers, monetary policy wonks and bond market aficionados, but a survey shows it has not even a blip on the average Canadian's radar screen.
The poll released Wednesday shows 50% of Canadians expect inflation to increase over the next year, versus 21% who expect the current recession to be deflationary.
The finding, contained in Pollara Inc.'s annual financial outlook survey, underscores the grip inflation continues to hold on the Canadian psyche. It could ultimately be a good thing, providing a bulwark against deflation -- a downward spiral in prices caused by consumers delaying purchases in anticipation of cheaper goods in the future. Deflation can become debilitating if it causes companies to cut production and employment, leading to ever-weaker output.
That inflation, rather than deflation, is still the main concern for Canadians could be understandable if the survey were conducted last summer when commodity prices were soaring and gasoline roared across $1 a litre, but the poll of 2,670 people was conducted between Dec. 11 and 15, 2008. That was after gas prices had tumbled, sale signs filled shopping malls, stock markets had tanked, house prices were beginning to fall and constant talk of depression and deflation filled the airwaves.
After decades of worrying about inflation, it could be that Canadians have not yet wrapped their heads around the idea that prices can also materially drop.
It could also be that with the domestic economy in relatively better shape than in the United States, Canadians simply do not see deflation posing as much of a threat as south of the border. There, the U.S. Federal Reserve has pulled out all the stops to try to prevent deflation, including cutting interest rates to nearly zero.
Meanwhile, it is hard for any average consumer to see lower prices as a threat.
"Nobody understands deflation can be bad for them because they don't recognize it could also involve their pay cheque," said Avery Shenfeld, senior economist at CIBC World Markets.
Mr. Shenfeld was among a panel economists who attended the release of the survey at an Economic Club of Toronto outlook on Wednesday.
"The reason prices are falling is usually that the economy is in a mess."
The Bank of Canada could take some heart in the perception that deflation is not considered as big a threat as policymakers or the media do. For deflation to become dangerous it has to seep into the consciousness, causing consumers to curtail purchases.
"Inflation expectations tend to be pretty sticky in both directions which is actually good thing for public policy," Mr. Shenfeld said.
While deflation is no big threat, the survey, with a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points 19 times out of 20, shows Canadians see many economic demons over the next year: A record high 91% believe the economy is in recession; almost a third believe the recession will last 13 to 18 months; 68% believe employment will worsen while 31% believe either it somewhat likely or very likely someone in their household may lose a job.
Oddly, many Canadians still expect their personal financial situation to be maintained or even improved in 2009, said Michael Marzolini, chairman of Pollara. This could be because the Canadian unemployment rate has not dramatically soared yet.
Canadians are all government interventionists now, survey data show.
"The villains are on Wall Street or in Washington," Mr. Marzolini said of the average perception. "The current solution is direct government intervention, spending on infrastructure job retraining, tax cuts and even bailouts and protectionism.