WIDC Construction To Start In April

By 250 News

Friday, March 22, 2013 02:26 PM
(Architect Michael Green's rendering of WIDC building at 5th and George. Photo 250 NEWS)
Prince George, B.C. – The long-promised and somewhat controversial Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George will be built on the former site of the Prince George Hotel.
MLAs Pat Bell and Shirley Bond were joined by the design architect, the successful contractor, UNBC President Dr. George Iwama, local politicians and a room full of interested parties at the Ramada Inn for what Bell called the final stage of the procurement process for the WIDC. Bell announced that the $25.1 million, six-storey building will be built by PCL Constructors West Coast Inc., and that the design architect is Michael Green of Vancouver. Both parties are well-acquainted with Prince George. PCL was the primary contractor on the Northern Cancer Centre while Green was responsible for the addition to the Prince George Airport. Both projects incorporated a substantial amount of wood.
Bell says “This has been a project that has meant a tremendous amount to many individuals across British Columbia and I believe it will advance the cause of wood construction, not just here in British Columbia, not just across Canada, but in fact across the world. It will have a meaningful impact for our forest industry as we move into the future.”
Bell says the Wood Innovation and Design Centre is meant to display different styles of construction, different building systems in a building that can be used as a demonstration. It will be constructed completely of wood, except for the
foundation. And it will incorporate species from all over the province. The Centre will include office space, industry use, UNBC academic and research programming, and a tall building research chair will be working through the construction process to make sure wood construction can be advanced.
Anibal Valente, who oversees PCL’s construction operations in B.C., says construction will begin within the next 45 days, depending on the weather, will a completion date of June, 2014. He says PCL will use local supplies and local workers on the project. Design Architect Michael Green says just about 2-thousand cubic metres of wood be used in the construction, and says at 27.5 metres it will be the tallest wood construction building in North America. The bottom floor will be double height. He says wood will be used inside, outside, wood instead of concrete will be used for the floors, there will be wood furniture and even the light fixtures will be made of wood.
Acting Mayor Dave Wilbur called this “A fantastic day.” He said Pat Bell and Shirley Bond have been persistent and “great partners who deserve the thanks of the community for pushing for this. We are going to see a rebirth we’ve all been waiting for.”
The Wood Innovation and Design Centre was first promised by the Liberal government in the 2009 throne speech. Then, after she became premier, Christy Clark made the announcement that a 10-storey centre would be built under a $161 million project. The WIDC has attracted a fair bit of controversy and foreclosure proceedings on the part of Northern Development Initiatives Trust to recover the nearly $1.5 million it loaned Commonwealth Campus Corporation to purchase properties in the 400 block George Street. That action is before the courts. As well, two businessmen, Commonwealth’s Dan McLaren and BID Group head Brian Fehr have alleged that the government did not live up to arrangements they believed were in place regarding the WIDC project.
Asked why the government is proceeding in light of all the controversy, Bell says “I have answered that question literally hundreds of times. I’ve been very clear on it each and every time and today is about celebrating a $25 million investment in the downtown of Prince George, a new innovative wood building, the tallest modern wood building in North America that’s going to be built down here, and I’m not going to comment on past history around other claims that have been made.”
This copy courtesy of 

University Hospital of Northern BC to get New Learning Center.

By Michelle Cyr-Whiting  (From Opinion 250)

Friday, March 22, 2013 01:12 PM

Future Learning Centre will go next to Jubilee Lodge, covering one row of parking
Prince George, BC - The BC Liberal Government has made good on a long-promised Learning and Development Centre at the University Hospital of Northern BC - approving $9.9-million dollars in funding for the facility, which will go up at the hospital.
The project has been on the books for almost a decade now, as a key pillar in the Northern Medical Program. The centre will include a library, seminar rooms, a simulation lab, video conferencing suites, and common areas. (Photo above shows Dr. Paul Winwood, NH COO Michael McMillan, MLA Shirley Bond, NH Board Chair Dr. Charles Jago, UNBC President George Iwama, and NH CEO Cathy Ulrich)
Northern Health's Board Chair, Dr. Charles Jago, admits the centre has been a long time coming, saying it's been in the plans for the NMP since about 2002. "And then when they built the medical program in Kelowna, they had a learning facility, so we were feeling a bit left out and now it's being done."
Jago says he's not sure why the project took so long to come to fruition, but says, "I'm glad, frankly, in hindsight, that it did take so long because I think we have a better sense of the kind of facility we need."
UNBC's Vice-Provost of Medicine, Dr. Paul Winwood, says the centre will be critical in retaining and recruiting physicians in the north. Dr. Winwood says having a medical program is just part of that solution, "If we have a modern, state-of-the-art education centre with up-to-date facilities for video conference learning; for small group learning; new IT-based learning, it will go a long way to making people want to come and work here."
"And it's not just about bringing our own students back, which of course, I'm very keen to do," says Winwood. "But it's also about recruiting new physicians from outside of Prince George because if they see something like that - and I can speak to that because that's one of the reasons I came to Prince George. I went to UNBC, I saw the medical program, I saw the 5th floor here (at UHNBC) the clinical teaching space and I was bowled over by it. I thought it was amazing - but we don't have that for medical education as a whole here."
The original education centre at the hospital had been housed in a portable on the spot where the new Cancer Centre now sits. Since construction began on that facility, Northern Health's Chief Operating Officer, Michael McMillan, says, "We actually are squeezing teaching space in all over the place - little nooks and crannies all over this building - but we don't really have any large space that we can bring 30 or 40 or 50 people together in decent space."
McMillan says, "This is transformative for the organization, in terms of really living up to the name of a teaching hospital."
The new centre will be built parallel to Jubilee Lodge, just outside the hospital's main entrance, and is expected to eat up one row in the existing parking lot. However, McMillan says, "We're actually going to re-create that (parking) in the back of the campus, where the Nechako Building is - that building is coming down."
In a seperate project, Northern Health has determined the old nurses' residence has outlived its usefulness and does not warrant a capital investment. It's slated to be demolished.
A tender for the Learning and Development Centre will be issued this summer, with the project set to be complete by the summer of 2014.


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Single-family homes remain the most popular property type among both Baby Boomers and Generation Y, according to Royal LePage survey

TORONTO, February 26, 2013 - Despite the perception that aging Baby Boomers may create an oversupply of traditional single-family homes as they downsize into smaller residences, a new Royal LePage Real Estate survey shows that demand for suburban detached homes remains strong among Baby Boomers and Generation Y.
The poll by Leger Marketing found that of the 40.6 per cent of Baby Boomers (born between 1947 and 1966), who do have plans to move to another primary residence, almost half (43.5 per cent) are looking to purchase another primary residence that is a similar size or larger than their current property. Of the total responses from Baby Boomers who intend to purchase their next primary residence, 66.8 per cent said they will do so in the next five years.
“Baby Boomers are the wealthiest generation in Canadian history. They live in large homes with ample space for their many possessions. They love their garages and their yards. This study clearly indicates that contrary to popular belief, most Boomers do not intend to downsize anytime soon,” said Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage Real Estate.
Male Baby Boomers, who are planning to move, are more keen on upsizing their residence than women, with 23.0 per cent reporting that they plan on moving to a larger residence compared to 12.1 per cent of women. Baby Boomers looking to purchase a condominium prefer less amenities and low maintenance fees (54.5 per cent) over properties that have many amenities (39.1 per cent). Seventy-eight per cent of Baby Boomers currently own their own homes.
Contributing to the desire of Baby Boomers to continue to invest in large, suburban homes is the reality of housing children well into adulthood. According to the survey, a quarter of Generation Y lives rent free because of arrangements with family or friends, but that number climbs to 33.4 per cent in the Prairies, 29.7 per cent in Quebec and 27.2 per cent in Ontario. 
“The adult children of Baby Boomers aren’t going anywhere fast. Good jobs have proven more difficult for them to find, they’re extending their studies and they’re living at home. It is no wonder the concept of swapping a family-sized home for a small retreat has lost its luster,” said Soper.
Meanwhile, members of Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 1994), who plan to purchase their next residence, are most interested in single-family multi-storey homes (50.6 per cent) and bungalows (19.0 per cent). Only 15.7 per cent of Generation Y said they plan to buy a condominium or an apartment. In comparison, 22.9 per cent of Baby Boomers looking to purchase their next residence desire condominiums or apartments.
The survey found that more than half of Generation Y planning to purchase their next residence, intend to purchase in the suburbs (55.7 per cent) compared to the downtown core of a city (21.7 per cent). Forty-three per cent of current non-owners who plan to purchase in the next five years say it is because they are planning to start a family in the near future. Among this younger demographic planning to purchase their next residence, the safety of a neighbourhood and proximity to their work, family and friends are the most important attributes when selecting a new home. Keeping in mind that nearly half of Generation Y listed their near-term plans to have children of their own (42.0 per cent) as a motivating factor to purchase, the least important factors are proximity to the downtown city core and restaurants or entertainment.
“The young people who make up Generation Y are our first-time home buyers. Like their parents, they dream of owning a lovely house in the suburbs, which provides value as well as access to parkland for children to play and the perception of greater family safety,” said Soper. “Even as condominium living becomes more popular across Canada, the study results do not point to a corresponding decrease in demand for traditional single-family homes. For the Baby Boomers that do head downtown, there is a generation waiting to move in.”
Among Baby Boomers who plan to downsize when they purchase their next residence, the most popular reasons are to reduce maintenance (73.7 per cent), free up money for retirement (48.1 per cent) and for travel (30.9 per cent).

Regional Comparisons of Those Planning to Move

Regional Generation Y comparisons showed that more Ontarians and Albertans place importance on being close to the city’s downtown area or town’s core than Quebecers and those from the Prairie provinces. Likewise, a gym or fitness centre is more important to Ontarians, Albertans and British Columbians than it is to Atlantic Canadians or Quebecers. Atlantic Canadians also place less importance on proximity to public transportation, restaurants or entertainment than Generation Y living elsewhere in the country.
When comparing Baby Boomers across Canada, Ontarians, Quebecers and Albertans are more likely to choose a home in the country than British Columbians. More Baby Boomers from British Columbia value being close to public transportation when purchasing a home than those from Ontario and Alberta. In addition, there are no significant regional differences comparing Baby Boomers who want to upsize, downsize or continue to live in a similar sized property.

Royal LePage Baby Boomer and Generation Y Survey
Survey Results for Respondents Who Plan To Purchase a New Primary Residence
Baby Boomers (1947-1966)
Generation Y (1980-1994)
When I move I plan to…
Same Size
I don’t know/ I prefer not to answer
What type of property are you interested in for your next primary residence?
Multi-family properties
Single family homes
Single family multi-storey
Recreational property
I don’t know/I prefer not to answer
What features/amenities are most important to you in purchasing your next primary residence?
Safety of the neighbourhood/area
Includes a backyard or balcony
Style of the home
Garage or driveway
Square footage of the property
Green/energy efficient
Swimming pool
Proximity to work
Proximity to public transportation
Proximity to family and friends
Proximity to downtown/city core
Proximity to restaurants/entertainment
Proximity to schools or daycares
Includes a gym or fitness centre


The survey was completed online using Leger Marketing’s online panel, LegerWeb, between September 13th and September 21st, 2012 with a sample of 1,013 Canadians born between the years 1980 and 1994 (Generation Y) and 1,011 Canadians born between the years 1947 and 1966 (Boomers). A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ± 3.08%, 19 times out of 20, for each respective sample.

About Royal LePage

Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country’s leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of 14,000 real estate professionals in over 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women's & children’s shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Brookfield Real Estate Services Inc. company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbol TSX:BRE.
For more information, visit


This would be fantastic for BC and central BC....

Premier supports bold proposal to build world-class refinery in BC

The Premier rose in the Legislature today to lend her encouragement and support to David Black’s bold, credible proposal to build a world-class petroleum refinery near Kitimat.
Funding for health care and education requires a strong economy, and the proposed refinery would be the largest private sector investment in the history of British Columbia. It would create 6,000 construction jobs and 3,000 full-time jobs.
Today's BC Liberals believe we should work together to address legitimate environmental and safety concerns and find a way to get to “Yes” on this proposal.
Last July, our government stood up and introduced five conditions for heavy oil pipelines to ensure the highest standards for environmental protection and First Nation involvement possible. The refinery proposal must meet these conditions.
The NDP stance on heavy oil pipelines rules out this $25 billion proposal.
The Premier is taking strong leadership on BC’s economy. Adrian Dix will not stand up for BC’s economy.
This election is about contrasting visions for BC – grow the economy with Today's BC Liberals, or grow the size of government with the NDP.
Ministerial Statement – Transcript
Premier Christy Clark
March 7, 2013
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
If we want to strengthen health care and education and other vital public services in our province, we of course, first, must strengthen our economy.
Yesterday, the people of BC were presented with a credible and a bold proposal to do just that.

B.C. businessman David Black made a major announcement with respect to his company Kitimat Clean, and his proposal to build and operate a world-class petroleum refinery in Kitimat.

Now, Mr. Black needs little introduction. He is one of the most successful British Columbia entrepreneurs. He built a newspaper empire at a time when newspapers around the world were going under.

Throughout his business life, he has found success where others have found failure.

He is not to be underestimated.

Yesterday, Mr. Black announced that he had found investors willing to back his bid to invest $25 billion in his project. He proposes to build a $16 billion refinery, $8 billion in pipelines and a further $1 billion in new tankers to carry the refined petroleum products to customers in Asia.

This is a credible proposal from a credible B.C. businessman.

And without question, this would be the largest single private sector investment in the history of our great province. And it would be, potentially, a tremendous game-changer for our children and their children.

6,000 new jobs during construction. 3,000 full time jobs created once the refinery is in operation.

And, importantly, Mr. Black's proposal would keep ownership of this proposal, this project, right here at home in British Columbia.

I have long said that British Columbians believe in the benefit of environmentally sound economic development, and are fully supportive of getting higher value for B.C. and Canadian goods in markets outside of North America.

Last July, our government stood up and put five conditions in place by which we would gauge support for any heavy oil pipelines in British Columbia.

Our five conditions are the way to ensure the highest standards for environmental protection and First Nation involvement possible should any heavy oil pipeline go through British Columbia.

Mr. Black has proposed a new pipeline across northern B.C. and I want to be clear: the 5 strict conditions that we have very clearly set out would apply to his proposal as they would to any other.

But the difference between the first pipeline proposal and Mr. Black's is that the refinery in Kitimat could form part of the economic benefits needed to satisfy our fifth condition. Although I do need to clear – although it could form a part of that, it will not go all the way. Thousands of jobs could create a significant economic benefit that does not exist under any current proposal.

As well, Mr. Black has said that he plans to use greenhouse gas reducing technology that would cut GHG emissions from his refinery in half.

And finally, Mr. Black's proposal radically reduces the environmental risks associated with the shipping of oil off our coast to Asia.

Because refined products are transported in much smaller ships, refined products are much easier to remediate in case of an incident, and these products are already very regularly moving up and down B.C.’s coast.

I’d like to tell this House that our government has been working constructively with Mr. Black in his quest to identify a suitable location on which to build a potential refinery.

Our government wants to use every tool at our disposal to move the proposal forward where it can be judged on its merits by a robust, rigorous and, most importantly, independent environmental process free from political influence.

Like our potential with Liquefied Natural Gas, these opportunities do not come around every day.

Opportunities that can strengthen our economy, sustain public health care and education, and put thousands of British Columbians to work at high-paying, family-supporting, long-term jobs.
Our government takes the view that we should work together to address legitimate environmental and safety concerns and find a way to get to “Yes” on projects that will grow our economy.
This project, and the LNG opportunity, both require leadership.
And this is where my government stands.
We are British Columbians. We are Canadians.
We can grow our economy. We can make environmentally responsible economic development happen if we put our minds to it. If we are clear, if we are consistent, if we are strong-minded, we can make economic development happen. We have to take a stand. We have to make sure investors have certainty, clarity and a fair process. And we have to do that not just for this generation but for future generations.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
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