More good info from our MLA, Pat Bell.


Hi All

Sorry I'm really late this week with my Top 10. I had a very busy weekend in Mackenzie with the annual Chamber of Commerce Spring Exposition. This year’s Exposition was very well attended and the mood was positive with everyone looking forward to the re-opening of the Paper Excellence pulp mill and the Conifix sawmills. In addition, I was able to announce a new funding model for the payment of Physicians in Mackenzie. This new salaried model is based on a pilot that has worked very well in Fraser Lake. The stability that has been seen in Fraser Lake will really help support Mackenzie’s long term health care goals.

In addition, last week I attended the "Site C" announcement and what a great day it was. The project has the potential to add significantly to the economic outlook of both Prince George and Mackenzie. This week I will focus the Top 10 on some of the details of Site C.

Have a great week!


1.       Stats on the Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C):

a.       It will be a third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeast B.C.

b.       It will be an earthfill dam, approximately 1,100 metres in length, and 60 metres high above the river bed.

c.       The reservoir will be approximately 83 kilometres long and will be, on average, two to three times the width of the current river.

2.       Site C will contribute to the local and provincial economy by creating an estimated 7,650 direct construction jobs through the construction period, and up to 35,000 direct and indirect jobs through all stages of the project.

3.      As a source of firm energy, Site C will facilitate the development of clean energy projects by providing additional capacity to back up intermittent resources, such as wind, run-of-river hydro and solar.

4.       The Site C Clean Energy Project will help meet B.C.’s future electricity needs by providing 900 megawatts of capacity and 4,600 gigawatt hours of electricity each year

5.      Source of clean and renewable energy for over 100 years.  Producing enough energy to power approximately 410,000 homes per year.  BC’s electricity needs are forecast to increase by 20 to 40 per cent in the next 20 years, as the province’s population is estimated to grow by more than one million people.  Site C will allow British Columbians to continue to enjoy the benefits of clean, reliable and affordable electricity in the future.

6.       As the third project on one river system, Site C will gain significant efficiencies by taking advantage of water already stored in the Williston Reservoir. This means that Site C would generate about 30 per cent of the energy produced at W.A.C. Bennett Dam, with only five per cent of the reservoir area.

7.       To compensate for recreational impacts and opportunities identified through environmental and regulatory reviews, options to support or enhance new opportunities will be identified.  As an example, the reservoir would offer new lake based recreation and tourism opportunities such as boating, fishing, hiking and camping.

8.       The Site C Clean Energy Project will produce among the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per gigawatt-hour, when compared with other forms of electricity generation. This will help B.C. further displace fossil fuel-generated electricity with clean energy.

9.       Site C will prepare our province for the emerging electrification of the transportation sector — including rail, ports and electric plug-in vehicles — and other technologies aimed at reducing fossil fuel dependency will eventually place new demands on our electricity system. For example, early forecasts suggest that between 10 per cent and 60 per cent of vehicles purchased by 2025 will be plug-in hybrid electric or all electric.

10.   Site C will be a heritage asset of BC Hydro, which means it would be publicly owned by the people of B.C. in perpetuity.


For Real Estate info just call or email. Cheers!

Best regards
Dean Birks

Royal LePage Prince George
Direct Phone: 250-612-1709
Private Fax: 1-888-870-4132

I just listed this great revenue property here in Prince George. Updated and clean 3 bedroom home with a 2 bedroom suite down. Very large private fenced yard with room to build a shop or garage. CLICK HERE for details.

Best regards
Dean Birks

Royal LePage Prince George
Direct Phone: 250-612-1709
Private Fax: 1-888-870-4132

Rental Scam - Just a heads up to those or someone you may know that may be looking to rent a home.

I had a call today for a stranger that said they were looking for rentals and noticed a home I had listed was offered for rent and that the monthly rent was "too good to be true". ($950/mth on a $400,000 home). I said this home is not for rent. Who is offering it? She said some guy named _____ _____ (not the name of the owner) has an ad online and says that the owners were out of country and did not want to sell their home any longer and now wish to rent it and if she sent this guy the deposit he will arrange the rent papers etc.

I told the stranger that I would double check with my client and I then called the owner to make sure he in fact was not renting it out and he confirmed he had nothing to do with any renting. I called the stranger back to confirm her suspicions were true and this was a scam.

So be aware or heads up if your looking to rent. Just make sure you do your home work and it should be all good.

Best regards
Dean Birks

Royal LePage Prince George
Direct Phone: 250-612-1709
Private Fax: 1-888-870-4132

With all the missinformation out there I thought I would forward this email I got from Pat Bell our MLA for Prince George North.


Hi All

I thought that even though I may be stirring up a Hornets nest that I needed to get some of the facts out there on HST. This has been a very controversial issue over the last number of months and it’s been difficult to penetrate the controversy and have people look critically at the policy decision for what it is, sound economic development policy. With the HST in place our big job creating industries (Forestry, Mining, Energy and Construction) become far more competitive and able to withstand economic downturns. This in turn protects jobs and creates economic stability. With that in mind this week’s Top 10 will provide you with some information that you probably have not seen before.

Some more great news for Mackenzie this week with the purchase of the closed Pulp Mill by ‘Paper Excellence” (Sinar Mas). This was a very innovative agreement with the McLeod Lake Indian Band becoming the fibre supplier and long term contracts in place to take the pulp into China. Congratulations to Mayor Stephanie Killam, Tanner Elton who negotiated the deal and Carl Bernasky head of the local CEP. This was a very special and emotional day for all of us and returns Mackenzie to a more stable economic environment. More on this next week.

Have a great week!

Pat Bell  -

1.       You may have heard  “The HST adds $2,100 to your yearly costs

a.       You would need to spend an additional $30,000 on currently PST-exempt items to reach $2,100

b.      For a Family of 4 with a $60,000 annual income the true impact is $8.91 per month.

c.       A Senior Couple with a $30,000 income will be impacted by an additional $1 per year.

d.      A Family of 4 with a $90,000 income will be impacted by an additional $14.83 per month.

e.      A Family of 4 with a $30,000 income will actually benefit by $44.58 per month (because of the BC HST Credit)

2.       You may have heard “Everything will cost more

The vast majority of retail items will see no tax change with HST

Items on which you pay PST and GST today stay exactly the same. (7%PST + 5%GST = 12% HST)

a.       New cars, trucks, boats, recreational vehicles

b.      Furniture

c.       Electronics

d.      Kitchenware

e.      Toiletries

f.        Hardware and tools

g.       Adults clothing

h.      Pet Food

3.       You may have heard “Housing will cost more

a.       No HST on used homes  which make up 80% of total sales in BC

b.      HST rebate will apply on new homes up to $525,000 – maximum $26,250

c.       Homes above $525,000 are eligible for a rebate of $26,250

d.      In BC -  73% of home sales are under $500,000

e.      In Northern BC  99%  of home sell for less than $500,000


4.       You may have heard  “You’ll pay more for car insurance, home insurance…”

The HST won’t change the price of any of those items. They are exempt.

5.       You may have heard “Staying warm and keeping the lights on will cost more

Home heating fuels and residential electricity are eligible for a point-of-sale rebate, including:

a.       Oil

b.      Natural gas

c.       Propane

d.      Wood and wood pellets

HST won’t increase the cost of heating or powering your home

6.       You may have heard “It will cost more to feed my family

These are ALL zero rated –

a.       basic groceries such as milk, bread, and vegetables.

b.      agricultural products such as grain, raw wool, and dried tobacco leaves.

c.       most farm livestock.

d.      most fishery products such as fish for human consumption.

e.      prescription drugs and drug-dispensing fees (in case you buy these at the grocery pharmacy).

The general rule of thumb is – if there is currently GST on any item at the grocery store than HST will apply.

7.       You may have heard “The disabled will be impacted by additional cost for medical devices

These Medical devices are zero-rated:

(a)    hearing aids

(b)   heart-monitoring devices

(c)    hospital beds

(d)   breathing apparatus

(e)   asthmatic devices

(f)     prescription eyeglasses/contact lenses

(g)    artificial eyes

(h)   artificial teeth such as dentures, crowns and bridges, orthodontic appliances

(i)      aids to locomotion such as a chair, commode chair, walker, wheelchair lift or other aid to locomotion for use by an individual with a disability

(j)     patient lifters

(k)    wheelchair ramp; portable wheelchair ramp

(l)      modifying motor vehicles to adapt the vehicle for the transportation of an individual using a wheelchair

(m) prescription orthotic and orthopedic devices

(n)   prosthesis/devices

(o)   canes or crutches

(p)   articles for blind individuals

(q)   guide dogs for blind individuals and hearing ear dogs

(r)     supplies and services related to medical and assistive devices.

8.        You may have heard “Children’s clothes and items will increase”

Children’s clothing and items below will not be subject to the provincial portion (7%) of the HST or HST exempt

(a)     Children's clothing designed for babies, girls, and boys up to and including girls' Canada Standard Size 16 and boys' Canada Standard Size 20, or clothing designated for girls and boys in sizes small, medium or large if the clothing does not have a designated Canada Standard Size would be eligible for point-of-sale rebate.  This would not include costumes or clothing like sports protective equipment.

(b)    Children’s footwear designed for babies, girls, and boys up to and including girls' size 6 and boys' size 6, including footwear without a numerical size that is designated for girls or boys in sizes small, medium or large would be eligible for point-of-sale rebate. This would not include skates, rollerblades, ski-boots, footwear that has cleats, or similar footwear.

(c)    Diapers, including cloth and disposable diapers designed for babies and children, and diaper inserts and liners, rubber pants, and training pants would be eligible for point-of-sale rebate.   Incontinence products would be zero-rated under HST, in accordance with current GST rules.

(d)   Children's car seats and car booster seats that are restraint systems or booster cushions that conform with Transport Canada's safety requirements for Standards 213, 213.1, 213.2 and 213.5, as described under the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act would be eligible for point-of-sale rebate.

9.       You may have heard "Education costs are going to increase including my child’s music lessons”

Educational services such as courses supplied by a vocational school leading to a certificate or a diploma which allows the practice of a trade or a vocation, or tutoring services made to an individual in a course that follows a curriculum designated by a school authority;  music lessons are not taxable.

10.   You may have heard “HST will hurt small business”

HST will be good for business. It will replace hidden sale tax and small businesses will get additional tax cuts.  Currently, PST is applied at every step in the creation of a product. Those multiple PST charges are embedded in the price you pay at the store – even though you can't see it. And of course, you pay PST on the final purchase price. Under the HST system, most of those embedded costs are removed and savings can be passed on to the consumer.


Sent from Canadian Business. To get Canadian Business on your own BlackBerry device today, visit 

Canada's great recession wasn't that bad after all: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA - It's been called the Great Recession by many around the globe. 

But Statistics Canada says the economic meltdown that devastated the economies of dozens of countries large and small in 2008 and 2009 left Canada relatively unscathed. 

According to the federal agency, Canada did suffer through a technical recession - a 3.3 per cent drop in gross domestic product over three quarters between the fall of 2008 and the summer of 2009. 

But that was shorter and milder than Canada's previous two recessions. For example, the 1981-82 slump saw GDP fall 4.9 per cent over six quarters, while the 1991-92 downturn resulted in a 3.4 per cent fall-off in output over four quarters. 

Recessions are mostly felt by those who lose their jobs, and on this measure the latest downturn was especially mild. 

Statistics Canada says employment fell just 1.8 per cent in the recent recession, compared with 3.2 per cent in 1991-92 and five per cent in 1981-82. 
Best regards,
Dean Birks - REALTOR
Royal LePage Prince George 

Sent via BlackBerry


The 1st quarter of 2010 turned out much better than this time last year. Home prices are basically stable with good, clean, updated home fetching more attention than the rest. With the mortgage rates still low most buyers have a low appetite to fix anything up and would just rather buy a home done as the extra monthly payment to get what they want is less than spending hard earned after tax savings on renovations.

Click Here to access the latest BC Real Estate Associations 1st Quarter Report.


Dean Birks
Prince George Real Estate


Last week there was a radio talk show on CBC in Vancouver where the callers called in commenting on the high 'Average Price' of homes in the Vancouver area almost reaching one million dollars. Many said where can we live and asked the DJ for suggestions with no mention of any particular city in BC.

Well let me promote Prince George BC. We are the best deal in Western Canada and if you make a check list of all our amenities, opportunities, wages, resources and not to mention direct West Jet flights to Mexico and the average home price at only $240,000 range!

So if a good wage, good community, 15 minute drive max to anywhere you need to drive the kids or work, cost of living and very friendly people then Prince George is very worth looking at.

To learn about Prince George visit my website and click on 'Local News, Info' tab.

Have a great weekend.
Dean Birks - Full Time REALTOR


  1. Lumber prices continue to escalate as well with the “Composite Index” at $342 this past week compared to $202 a year ago. This has led to a reduction in the border tax as of May 1 from 15% to 10%. I really believe we will start seeing some mills re-open and shifts being added back. In addition I would expect a significant increase in logging activity this summer.
  2. The real driver behind price increases was seen in January 2010 when B.C.’s total softwood lumber exports increased by 22% over January 2009. This includes a four-fold increase in the exports to China, a six per cent increase in exports to the U.S. and an 11 per cent increase in exports to Japan.
  3. In February 2010, B.C.'s average weekly wage was $813, fourth highest in Canada. The average weekly wage has risen by $165 - or more than 25 per cent - since 2001, when it was $648.
  4. Consumer confidence in British Columbia rose by a record 25.9 points in March and now sits at 121.1 points. The Conference Board of Canada reports B.C.’s consumer confidence level is 28.6 points higher the Canadian average of 92.5.
  5. In December 2009 China granted Canada approved destination status, allowing tour operators and travel agents in China to advertise and organize tours in Canada and British Columbia. Approved destination status could increase Chinese tourism to B.C. by 25 per cent annually over the next few years.
From Pat Bell's newsletter online.

Best regards
Dean Birks

Royal LePage Prince George
Direct Phone: 250-612-1709
Private Fax: 1-888-870-4132

Government Committee Working on Wood Innovation Centre

By 250 News  Tuesday, April 06, 2010 10:37 AM

Prince George, B.C.- The Wood Innovation Centre for Prince George is in the planning stages says Finance Minister Colin Hansen.
Speaking on the Meisner program on CFISFM this morning, Minister Hansen said the project is definitely “on the books” and the money has been set aside for it. “There is a committee within government that is working specifically on that” says Hansen, who adds “The Premier has assigned one of the senior deputy Ministers to this. Her top priority is to pull all of that together.”   Hansen say there are still a lot of details to be worked out but there has been enough money put aside to ensure the project gets going.
The Wood Innovation Centre is considered to be the cornerstone of a major development for downtown Prince George. It   has been proposed that it be linked with a satellite campus of UNBC which would house an engineering school.
It is expected the City will provide the land for the project, and while the newly purchased P.G. Hotel site might be on the list of possibles, there is also the block on 6th between  Quebec and Dominion Streets which may be suitable.

Copy of this news by Opinion 250  courtesy of:
Best regards
Dean Birks

Royal LePage Prince George
Direct Phone: 250-612-1709
Private Fax: 1-888-870-4132

By 250 News Thursday, April 08, 2010 04:07 AM

Prince George, B.C. - The B.C. Northern real Estate Board is reporting a very healthy first quarter.

In the first quarter of 2010 sales of properties of all types through the Multiple Listing Service of the BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) were significantly higher than a year ago.

To the end of March, 887 properties with a value of $180.8 million changed hands in the area served by the members of the BCNREB, compared to 589 properties worth $117 million in the first 3 months of 2009.

As of March 31st, 2010 there were 4347 properties of all types available for purchase through the MLS®, compared to 4018 at this time last year.

President Claudia Holland is optimistic, “The overall market is picking up tentatively with more homes being listed and more buyers purchasing as spring comes upon us. With the first quarter of 2009 being a time most people would like to forget, the statistics are showing a cautious recovery. With expanded resource exploration and development, the north is seeing positive growth and that is reflected in the real estate industry.”

Fraser Fort George Region:

City of Prince George: 246 properties of all types, worth $54.6 million have changed hands in
the first 3 months of 2010 compared with 208 properties worth $45.7 million in the same time period last year.

In the west part of the City, the median price of the 51 single family homes that have sold on MLS® was $220,500 ($189,000 in 2009).

In the area east of the By-pass, the 29 single family houses that sold had a median value of $179,500 ($173,500 in 2009).

In the northern part of the City, commonly referred to as “the Hart”, 31 single family homes sold with a median price of $239,950 ($249,900 in 2009).

In the southwestern section of the City, 52 homes have sold since January with a median price of$268,000 ($290,000 in 2009).

At the end of March there were 649 properties of all types available on the MLS® within the City limits, compared to 683 at the same time last year.

Copy courtesy of:
Dean Birks
Royal LePage Prince George
Direct Phone: 250-612-1709
Private Fax: 1-888-870-4132
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