The biggest challenge Canada faces in creating affordable housing is getting people to and from home and work.
"If you think housing prices are high now - just wait." - Heino Molls, REMonline
"Census Canada figures show that Canada’s population has rocketed past 35 million. In fact, that number is going to be 36 million before the ink is dry on this most recent report and it will, without a doubt, be going at light speed past 40 million way before 2020. That means a huge boost in housing demand. It means that the privilege of living in a home in Canada, not to mention an actual house in Canada is going to come with a high cost. You think the cost of a house in Toronto, Vancouver or Ottawa is high now, just wait.
Do the math on your own. Not the math of the naysayers, the doom and gloom crowd, the people who will show you diagrams and charts with circles and arrows that pinpoint the exact time and date of the collapse of the real estate market. Rather look around, see what is going on and add it up for yourself.
We are facing many problems in our country. There is not enough time and space here to discuss all the challenges of health care, especially mental health care, as well as housing for the poor and marginalized people in our society. Another major challenge that should be mentioned in the same conversation as housing and property value is public transit.
Our governments are scrambling to build new transit ways and highways to accommodate all the people who will be travelling to and from our inner cities for business, health care, restaurants and entertainment.
How Much is YOUR Home Worth?
Our biggest problem is going to be building transit, not just within our cities but also from the towns and satellite communities that will have even higher population growth in the coming years. Communities like Chilliwack and Abbotsford in B.C. and cities like Kitchener-Waterloo not far from Toronto. The same for all other cities in the country. Transit is going to be our biggest problem.
Earlier in the school year we had the opportunity to experience one of the Semiahmoo Music Society's various concerts.
While we had heard great things about the school music program, we were blown away by the quality of musicianship of the various levels of bands the school has. Afterwards, we had the opportunity to meet and talk with the Music Department Teachers, all so very enthusiastic and passionate about what they do.
We talked about the students, the funding and how financing the program has it's challenges. Mr. Lowe, the department head, mentioned how they are constantly looking at way to fund-raise for the purchase/upkeep of instruments as well as funding for festivals, workshops and trips, sometimes to far-off places in the world.
We realized we have an opportunity to do our part. We enjoy supporting the community through various fund-raising efforts for food-banks, hospital charities, neighbourhood events and sports participation, but we had no focus on the music. And without music... well, what is there to dance to?
As a Team, we would like donate $400 towards the Semiahmoo Music Society for every house marketed to completion or bought through us in the South Surrey/White Rock area. If you have experienced the joy of the Semi Music Society's talented students, please keep us in mind when the topic of Real Estate comes up in conversation.
With your assistance we can help the music in our neighbourhood play for years to come.
For more information please contact Andrew at 604-773-3940 or Info at HudsonHomeTeam.com
There is a coordinated Neighbourhood Garage Sale being held by our associate in the Crescent Beach area that you won’t want to miss.
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As usual, we would like to remind you that this is a complimentary service to give you an example of how we are a forward thinking, ‘outside of the box’ Real Estate Team. If you feel this service is a good one, try using (and recommending) our Real Estate Services!
Surrey’s Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre will be the ultimate immersive experience.
The aquatic centre, which will open in the fall of 2015, will feature a rippling roof line that mimics undulating waves. Walking into the $55-million complex will be like plunging into a huge breaker.
Indoor municipal pools used to be dark, windowless boxes that reeked of chlorine and were better for cavefish than humans. You dived in, got a swim lesson and left as fast as you could.
They were the slightly icky lair of fitness buffs, competitive swimmers and shivering swim classes.
Not anymore. Pools have been transformed from endless bummers into endless summers complete with spa-like luxuries including Jacuzzis and saunas.
Fitness hard-cores and competitive crawlers have been joined by a rich pageant of humanity, including water babies, back-stroking octogenarians and families seeking thrills on white-water rides.
Pools are splintering into diverse tanks to handle the competing needs of lane-swimmers and leisure-bathers who would splash rather than stroke.
Pools are getting deeper to accommodate divers and shallower to cater to wading tots.
Aquatic centres have evolved beyond sheer fitness and training venues to become social hubs, according to Vancouver architect and pool designer Darryl Condon.
“We wouldn’t dream of designing a pool that doesn’t have a high degree of natural light and ventilation,” says Condon, a managing partner in Hughes Condon Marler Architects. “That sort of chorine smell is not acceptable any longer. People expect much higher standards for water and air.
“There’s an increasing interest in social and wellness-oriented activities. There has been a radical shift in how these facilities are used.”
Condon’s firm is riding the crest of change that’s revolutionizing the world of pool design. Over the past two decades, Hughes Condon Marler Architects has made a splash at the leading edge of North American pool creation by tapping into the public’s growing demand for multi-use leisure spaces.
Beginning with Burnaby’s Eileen Dailly pool in the early ’90s, the firm has designed eight major pools in the Lower Mainland, including the still-under-construction Grandview Heights at 168th St. and 24th Ave. in Surrey.
Its other local projects are Langley’s Walnut Grove pool, Vancouver’s Killarney pool, Coquitlam’s Chimo pool, an expansion of Delta’s Sungod Recreation Centre and an upgrade of the West Vancouver Aquatic Centre.
Perhaps the firm’s highest-profile design is the Hillcrest centre, which became famous four years ago as the Vancouver Olympic Centre.
HCMA is still best known in B.C. for designing fire halls, libraries, housing projects and university teaching centres. Outside the province, it’s known as a pool expert.
The firm has co-designed or collaborated on four aquatic centres in Ontario and Quebec. Its most expensive project — a $72-million facility in Windsor, Ont. — opened a waterpark last month to rave reviews from local splashers.
Condon says HCMA is one of just a few Canadian architects with the deep-end smarts to design successful municipal pools. The firm celebrates its designs — they’ve won some two dozen awards — in a new coffeetable book called Pools: Aquatic Architecture.
“The book gave us a chance to re-examine our work to learn what worked and what didn’t,” Condon says.
For a municipality, an aquatic centre must be more than an award-winning heap of steel, glass and water to work.
Per square foot, an indoor pool is the costliest building a municipality builds and operates, Condon says.
“Because of the technical demands of their systems and the aggressiveness of the environment, they need to be durable,” he says.
Rates of use are one of the most direct measures of success. New pools are like shiny new cars, he says — initially appealing but possibly less exciting after a few rides.
“Pools that hit the mark are those where usage doesn’t drop, but increases,” he says.
Rising popularity has been the happy lot of the West Van Aquatic Centre, which HCMA upgraded in an $8-million project in 2004.
Visits there have risen annually from 700,368 in 2010 to 774,000 in 2012.
“Another measure we use is how far people come to use a pool. Pool users are mobile and will drive past their local pool to get the experience they want,” Condon says. “West Vancouver sees broader usage than the larger North Shore. People drive over bridges to get there.”
South Surrey arts-towers height still up in the air
Surrey City Development Corporation development manager Sarah Atkinson and president and CEO Aubrey Kelly say the final form of a proposed South Surrey residential towers/arts amenity project is still being determined by consultation with stakeholders.
The president and CEO of Surrey City Development Corporation says that nothing, not even a specific height, is set in stone about the final form of a proposed two-tower residential development for South Surrey – one that could provide a significant arts hub for the community in the form of a 350-seat performing arts theatre and a contemporary arts café/gallery.
“This is not going to be ramrodded through,” Aubrey Kelly said in an interview with Peace Arch News,while at the same time acknowledging there’s little chance of the contentious project returning without a tower component (last suggested to be the equivalent of 27 storeys).
“We’re probably never going to be able to make 100 per cent of people happy. What we saw after some of the initial unveiling of plans was that there were mixed reviews, which was not unexpected.”
The project – a partnership by the city’s own development corporation and the Reifel Cooke Group – is still in a phase of “fact finding and issue finding,” Kelly said, gathering feedback and identifying concerns of stakeholders, including nearby residents and arts groups, in an attempt to build consensus.
He expects the process to continue for several months at least.
“There’s no particular timeline,” Kelly said. “I expect it to be the end of summer before we put pencil to paper again, and then engage with the city planning department, go to the advisory design panel and then go on to a public hearing.”
The plans are still largely conceptual, he added: “Whether they call for lower, squatter buildings or taller, more slender buildings – all that’s still in play.”
Whatever the final form of the project, Kelly said, a certain density is required to make it work.
“We would need a density of four,” he explained. “That’s four times the site area of approximately 80,000 sq. ft. – or 320,000 sq. ft.”
The reality, he said, is that without that density, the proposed arts amenity would not be possible.
“That’s not a threat,” he added. “It’s just what would be needed to make it financially viable.”
The project combines land owned by each partner at 152 Street and 19 Avenue –“Together, it’s enough land for a significant development that could provide such an amenity,” Kelly said.
Opponents, including the Semiahmoo Residents Association and the recently formed Semiahmoo Against Towers, have objected to the height of the proposed plan, made public last fall.
And although the arts community includes some of the projects most ardent supporters, some have made it clear that continuing support hinges on a governance model for the arts spaces that ensure accessibility and affordability for local groups.
Kelly said that while the resolution of the governance issue will be welcomed by SCDC, it’s beyond its purview; he defers to city arts manager Sheila McKinnon in finding a model that will satisfy local arts stakeholders.
Opponents have emphasized they do not oppose the arts aspect of the plans, but they have characterized it as window-dressing for a project they fear will impact traffic patterns, impede neighbourhood access and create a precedent for highrises that could lower property values and attract crime.
SCDC development manager Sarah Atkinson noted the project has been more than two years in development, including extensive consultation with local arts groups, once arts space was identified as the most appropriate community amenity – the city’s trade-off for allowing higher density in specific ‘landmark’ locations in the Semiahmoo Town Centre.
Further, she said, while the project is the first to appear under current OCP amendments for the area, it is conforming with a vision for the area already approved, rather than attempting to create a precedent by itself.
“The Semiahmoo Town Centre plan has been in place since 2006,” she said. “All kinds of different consulting groups have looked at what a town centre needs for viability and livability; how many jobs and how many residents does it need? It isn’t just density. A town centre plan is not taken arbitrarily – years and years of analysis have gone into it.”
Public meetings held so far have shown a great deal of support for the project, Kelly and Atkinson said – particularly in the lifestyle of a “walkable town centre” which, they say, could promote less reliance on vehicles.
“If you don’t provide vibrancy, you’re going to force people to use their cars and go to other places, like Morgan Crossing,” Kelly said.
“While a lot of the time we find the most vocal are people opposed, there has been substantial support for the project,” Atkinson added.
Kelly addressed another issue – the perception that Surrey is in a conflict approving a project in which the SCDC is a partner.
“We are an arm’s length, wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of Surrey – they are the single stockholder,” he said. “We’re a for-profit real estate development company.
“We’re not a department of the city… We come to the planning counter the same as any other developer, and we report to a board of directors independent of the city. Because of transparency issues we want the same regulations applied to us as to a Bosa or a Polygon.”
Kelly said SCDC directors have all come from the private sector and are mainly now-retired or semi-retired professionals mandated to use city land resources to provide a stable financial return to the city “over the long term.”
“We’ve been quite successful as a relative start-up in 2007,” he said.
“We’ve been in the position of paying dividends for two years – at the end of last year we provided a 4.5 million dividend to the city and by the end of 2014 we will have provided a $9 million dividend.”
Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman says a residential towers and arts amenity project planned for South Surrey will help boost the city's economic development.
The Surrey Board of Trade has thrown its support behind a controversial two-highrise residential development proposed for South Surrey that includes significant arts amenities – among them a 350-seat theatre and a contemporary arts café/gallery.
The development, planned for 152 Street at 19 Avenue by co-developers the Surrey City Development Corporation and the Reifel Cooke Group, has met some opposition based on height – the equivalent of 27 storeys in most recently published plans.
CEO Anita Huberman said in a SBOT news release that “artists and cultural spaces are powerful agents of change in the community.
“(They) make Surrey a destination not only for local residents but also for the region and the province.”
Huberman said the proposed development would “help create a cultural hub in South Surrey.”
SBOT’s comprehensive strategic plan, she added, encompasses creating an action plan on how to accelerate the “creative economy” in Surrey – identifying creative industries and noting why they are necessary for economic development.
“There’s no time like the present to begin talking about strategic investments and initiatives in Surrey that will strengthen our creative industries such as theatre, film, digital animation, the development of galleries both public and private, the inclusion of public art in civic and private developments, and more.”
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