August 2012 Maritime Economic Fundamentals

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     News articles for August 2012.
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    Nova Scotia won't get rent control again, despite complaints on rising rents

    Jennifer Stewart, a spokeswoman for Premier Darrell Dexter, says at this time, rent control is not something the province is considering or looking at.


    Two Halifax regional councillors suggested the province take a look at the issue after they heard complaints from constituents while on the campaign trail.


    Coun. Sue Uteck says she is hearing that rental rates are beyond the means of some people as she campaigns for her seat in the October election.



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    Truro rec centre on schedule for fall opening

    TRURO — With a little more than three months to go, officials say the Central Nova Scotia Civic Centre will open on time and close to its $48-million budget.


    The facility, which can be seen nearing completion just off Highway 102’s Exit 13, includes an eight-lane, 25-metre swimming pool and an NHL-sized ice surface with seating for 2,500.


    But the centre’s general manager said there’s much more than just that.



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    Critics take Nova Scotia government to task over promise to cut HST

    HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's finance minister says the province is poised to balance its books by next spring, but the opposition parties are warning that doing so could jeopardize Premier Darrell Dexter's populist promise to reduce the harmonized sales tax.


    Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald announced Thursday the province ended the 2011-12 fiscal year in March with a $248-million deficit, a figure that is $141 million less than the original budget estimate.



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    Rent control gone for good Nova Scotia economy says

    The Nova Scotia government has no plans to bring back rent control, despite complaints from two Halifax councillors and residents.


    “It is not something the province is considering or looking at at this time,” Jennifer Stewart, spokeswoman for Premier Darrell Dexter, said Thursday.


    Two Halifax regional councillors suggested the province take a look at the issue after they heard complaints from constituents while on the campaign trail.



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    Halifax to welcome new Frontier

    Halifax’s reputation as a hotbed for technology companies is gaining momentum, and at least one international firm wants in.


    Frontier, an independent video game developer based in the United Kingdom, said Tuesday that its first office outside of its flagship operation in Cambridge, England, will be in Halifax.


    The firm, best known for its personal computer and console games, was first introduced to the Halifax market in 2008 when Jayson Hilchie, information technology and interactive media director with Nova Scotia Business Inc., shared a cab with Frontier chief executive officer and founder David Braben.



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    Value of building permits up in Nova Scotia

    THE VALUE of building permits in the province increased in June, with most of the increases coming in the Halifax area, new Statistics Canada figures released Tuesday show.


    Contractors took out $169 million worth of building permits in Nova Scotia in June, a 41.9 per cent jump year-over-year, and a 25 1/2 per cent increase from the previous month.


    Of that total, $106 million in permits were taken out in the Halifax region, representing a 47.4 per cent jump year-over-year.



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    Halifax area top of the cheap heap for head offices

    Halifax-Dartmouth is the cheapest corporate headquarter location in North America, says the Boyd Company, Inc., an American location consultant.


    “There are big, big savings to be had in Halifax,” company principal John Boyd said Tuesday in an interview.


    The Princeton, N.J., firm recently completed a study comparing the costs of operating a corporate headquarters in 50 leading head-office real estate markets in Canada and the United States.



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    Halifax office vacancy rate dips slightly

    The downtown Halifax office vacancy rate decreased slightly in the second quarter, says a Colliers International report released Thursday.


    The overall downtown rate fell one-fifth of a percentage point to 13 per cent in the second quarter.


    The class A vacancy rate fell one percentage point to 9.2 per cent as a result of the subletting of 19,000 square feet of space at Aditya Birla Minacs at Purdy’s Wharf.


    The class B vacancy rate rose to 15.3 per cent due to downsizing and closures, the report said.



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    Why is Atlantic Canada's economy so sluggish

    Whose fault is it that Atlantic Canada’s economy is so sluggish? John Risley, co-founder of Nova Scotia seafood producer Clearwater Seafoods, says Maritimers themselves must share some of the blame.


    Faced with an aging population, high unemployment and an exodus of young workers, the Atlantic provinces have been slow to adapt to a changing world, falling further behind the rest of the provinces—while becoming more dependent on federal transfer payments. Risley knows the territory, and he knows the stakes: in addition to his role at Clearwater, he serves as an adviser to 4Front Atlantic, an annual conference series focusing on how to improve the Maritime economy and business climate. Risley’s own career is proof that global businesses can be built in Atlantic Canada. Not only did he co-found Clearwater, but he also grew Ocean Nutrition Canada into the world’s largest producer of Omega-3 fatty acids, selling it recently to Dutch firm Royal DSM for $540 million. Risley explained to Canadian Business senior writer Joe Castaldo that if the region is to produce more successful businesses, it needs to foster innovation, promote entrepreneurship and, hardest of all, transform its change-averse culture.



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    Luxury apartment building planned for downtown Dartmouth

    A $10-million luxury apartment building is being proposed for downtown Dartmouth.


    Boris Holdings Inc. is looking to build Lotus Point Living, a seven-storey, 50-unit luxury building at 103 Ochterloney St., at the corner of Victoria Road.


    The company bought several properties at that location three years ago and promptly demolished the structures there, with the exception of a heritage home.


    The intention is to build relatively quickly.



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    Mickey Mouse welcome in Halifax

     

    AS THE HALIFAX Port Authority looks to ramp up cruise ship activity, Disney Magic’s nine calls to Halifax this season represent a major coup.


    The Mickey Mouse-themed cruise ship, a towering luxury liner with 11 expansive decks, is the type of iconic brand the port wants to attract.


    The 2,700-odd passengers that stream off the ship for an eight-hour date with the city open up their wallets to purchase souvenirs, sit down for a meal on the waterfront or hop on a double-decker bus to visit nearby tourist attractions.



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    Atlantic Canada's housing market cooling

    Atlantic Canada’s housing market is slowing, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.


    CMHC’s third-quarter regional housing market outlook released Tuesday projects that combined single and multiple housing starts will slow by almost 12 per cent in 2012 and by six per cent in 2013.


    “Multiple starts, including apartments, are forecast to decline 17 per cent in 2012 and a further nine per cent in 2013,” said Alex MacDonald, regional economist with the national housing agency’s Atlantic Business Centre, in a news release.



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    Toronto company snaps up several properties in HRM

    A Toronto company has announced its intention to purchase several Halifax residential properties, months after they originally changed hands.



    True North Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust
    said Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire 26 properties in Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, totalling 2,076 units, for $138.9 million from Blue-Starlight LP.


    Of the nine Nova Scotia properties that are part of the proposed transaction, seven are in Dartmouth, and two in Halifax.


    The acquisition comes after TransGlobe Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust, which owned the properties, completed a $1-billion deal on June 29 to be privatized by a pair of companies controlled by Toronto real estate mogul Daniel Drimmer.



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    Shell unveils oil search agenda

    Shell Canada Ltd. has laid out a timeline for its nearly billion-dollar search for oil off Nova Scotia’s coast.


    Three hundred of the province’s offshore industry movers and shakers packed a downtown Halifax hotel ballroom Thursday for the global energy giant’s first update since winning the exploration bid.


    Erik Goodwin, a Houston geophysicist and the leader of Shell’s deepwater exploration project, said the company plans to open a Halifax office in the first quarter of 2013.



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