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February 2015 B.C. Economic Fundamentals

Discussion in 'BC News' started by Ally, Feb 3, 2015.

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    News articles for February 2015.
     
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    Vancouver detached homes spark bidding wars

    Detached homes in Vancouver are being snapped up by local buyers, with some going for more than 20 percent over the asking price, according to local real estate agents.



    Detached homes in Vancouver are being snapped up by local buyers, with some going for more than 20 percent over the asking price, according to local real estate agents.

    Macdonald Realty's Claire Rockel said one home at 401 East 21st was listed for a little below market value at $1.289 million, but after 10 offers it sold for $250,000 over the asking price.

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    $3.8 billion gas refinery could be in the works for Chetwynd



    Two “green” oil refineries proposed for the B.C. northwest coast may have some serious competition in Chetwynd: a refinery that would make gasoline from natural gas and hydrogen, not oil. Juergen Puetter, president of Aeolis Wind Power Corp. and CEO of Blue Fuel Energy Corp., has been quietly assembling a multibillion-dollar, two-phase plan to build a gasoline refinery in Chetwynd, followed by a methanol plant a couple of years later.

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    Site C mega-project set to break ground next summer

    British Columbia plans to start construction of the $8.8-billion Site C dam on the Peace River next summer, Premier Christy Clark said today in a controversial announcement that was welcomed by some and panned by others.

    "Once it is built, it is going to benefit British Columbians for generations, and that is why we have decided to go ahead with the Site C clean energy project," Clark said at a press conference at the provincial legislature.

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    Site C community benefits

    regional legacy benefits agreement between BC Hydro and the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) will provide $2.4 million annually to the PRRD and its member communities for a period of 70 years, starting when Site C is operational. The annual funding will be indexed to inflation.

    Improved Transportation Infrastructure

    BC Hydro is proposing a number of measures to improve transportation infrastructure in the Peace Region during construction, such as upgrades to roads and highways and pavement condition monitoring on project-related roads.

    • Realign sections of Highway 29 that will be flooded and incorporate safety improvements.

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    Site C: Approved

    VANCOUVER – The long awaited, much hated, lengthily debated Site C dam has been approved by the provincial government.

    Today Premier Christy Clark, and Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennet announced that the government had given the go ahead to spend the C$8.775 billion to build the dam. Construction will start in the summer of 2015 and it will be completed in 2024.

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    Prince George's Population
    dips. Rental market shifts to "Renter's market"


    The city's population took a dip last year, according to new estimates from BC Stats but the numbers are best guesses, stressed UNBC professor Greg Halseth, who is the Canada Research Chair in rural and small town studies.

    Prince George lost 637 people in 2014, a 0.9 per cent decrease in population from the 2013 estimate of 74,227 people, BC Stats reported. Among larger centres, Prince Rupert ranked the worst in population growth, with a 2.9 per cent decline in 2014 - a loss of 357 residents for a total of 11,918.

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    The future points to manufactured wood buildings. Modular goes big

    VANCOUVER — The best way to build more tall wood buildings — and boost a higher-value wood products industry in British Columbia — is to manufacture them in factories, an audience of industry professionals heard during a recent symposium in Vancouver.

    Pre-fabricating sections of houses in factories to be assembled on home sites is not a new concept, but builders are increasingly using pre-fab to make the construction of bigger buildings more efficient, and wood is a material particularly suited to its techniques, said Lynn Embury-Williams, executive director of Wood WORKS! BC, the symposium’s host.

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    The big LNG port in a tiny Northern B.C. town

    Amidst all the talk about B.C.'s ports in Kitimat and Prince Rupert, you may have missed the announcement about another international port in Stewart, B.C. — a small district of fewer than 500 people near the Alaska border.

    Set to open in June, Stewart World Port will see massive, football-field sized ships sailing past the ice-capped mountains of the Portland Canal, bringing in infrastructure for mining projects, tubes for LNG pipelines and possibly equipment to serve the forestry industry in the future.

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    BC Government to introduce groundwater fees



    The provincial government is taking steps to ensure British Columbia's water resources will be safely and effectively managed for generations, read a government press release. In support of B.C.'s water legislation a new fee and rental schedule for users is being introduced.

    “British Columbia is blessed with an abundant water supply that our government is committed to preserving for future generations. The new fee structure will ensure fairness and affordability are cornerstones of our modernized water legislation,” said Mary Polak, Minister of Environment.

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    Economic Forecast Council
    updates B.C. outlook. Which way is province headed?


    VICTORIA - The Economic Forecast Council has provided its annual pre-Budget update for B.C.’s economic outlook in 2015 and 2016.

    The council is forecasting 2.6% real GDP growth for B.C. in 2015, down from the 2.7% forecast in December. The Economic Forecast Council’s revisions include lower forecasts for inflation, as low gasoline prices helped slow Canada’s inflation rate to 1.5% in December from 2.0% in November.

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    TransCanada's Coastal Gas Link pipeline gets EA approval

    CHETWYND – A 67-kilometre, 48-inch diameter natural gas pipeline that will stretch from the Groundbirch area outside of Chetwynd to Kitimat, was granted an environmental certificate from the BC Environmental Assessment Office Oct. 24.

    The certificate was issued with 32 conditions outlining pipeline best practices for preventing environmental damage, and a number of project-specific concerns, raised by local aboriginal communities.

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    Unemployment continues to drop in Northeast BC



    The unemployment rate continued to drop in Northeast B.C. this January. Over 40,500 people are working in the region, up from 39,600 in December. The unemployment rate remains so low, that B.C. Stats can’t calculate an accurate number.

    The number of people working in the region could drop in February with the decrease in the price of Oil and Natural Gas. We will have to wait for those number to know for sure, as they won’t be released until early March.

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    BC government at a loss over LNG future

    The looming economic windfall from LNG promised by the B.C. government had long been overstated but the harsh realities of the oil and gas industry have left it at a loss for words.

    Or at least it’s more leery of bold predictions.

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    Diversification driving growth at the Port of Prince Rupert

    The Port of Prince Rupert is sustaining its strong growth as a key North American gateway and this is having a positive impact on communities across northern British Columbia.

    The Prince Rupert Port Authority recently released its latest five-year economic impact study. The results are impressive and demonstrate the continued maturing of the port.

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    B.C. forest industry stands
    tall again. Modern, redefined industry takes the lead


    When paycheques find their way into bank accounts around the province this Friday or next, almost 150,000 British Columbians will have B.C.’s backbone industry to thank for at least a piece of that deposit, all of it for some 58,000 people directly employed by forestry.

    Now, 150,000 may not seem like a big number in a city the size of Vancouver. But in a place such as Williams Lake, where two in seven people are employed directly in the industry, it means plenty.

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    Micro-condos will not solve
    Vancouver's affordable housing issue. Demand to shift


    First-time homebuyers and downsizers love townhouses, but in Metro Vancouver’s urban areas they are few and far between.

    The lack of townhouses could cause some single-family homeowners to stay in their houses longer than they would like and keep young people out of the market, experts say. To fill the gap, some developers are building larger condominiums, while others are focused on microsuites.

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    New Lower Mainland homebuyers eye interest rates

    When Jillian Lee moved to North Vancouver from Burnaby a few years ago, she rented a basement suite to see if she would like the area well enough to make it her permanent home. She was won over by the area, with its towering cedar trees, mountain trails, and nearby schools and amenities. The Vancouver teacher recently bought a two-bedroom prebuild condo to share with her daughter

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    Harper announces tax breaks for LNG industry in BC to spur job growth

    SURREY, B.C. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced tax breaks Thursday for British Columbia's liquefied natural gas industry, though not a single project has yet reached a final investment decision.

    Harper, who made the announcement at a technical university in Surrey, B.C., said companies will receive a capital cost allowance of 30 per cent for equipment used in natural gas liquefaction and 10 per cent for buildings at a facility that liquefies natural gas.

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    Greater Vancouver home prices slip as sales increase

    A total of 3,125 homes were sold in January across Greater Vancouver, up 5.7 per cent compared with December 2014 and eight per cent year-over-year, according to Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data released Feb. 17. In spite of growing sales in the region, however, the average residential sales price dipped in the month. The average home sold for $825,233 in January ­ down 2.6 per cent compared with $847,661 in December.

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