29 03, 2015

Canadian real estate marketers create bold plan to get developers to donate houses to world’s poor

From the Financial Post


It’s the essence of business innovation to apply one business concept to another, completely different, business field. It’s also becoming increasingly common; just about every business model has been copied by someone launching a venture in a different venue.

There is perhaps no more iconic career advice than that offered by protagonist Benjamin in The Graduate: plastics. Due to its environmental challenges, the material has lost its sheen but the Plastic Bank may help change that. It is among a new crop of innovative social entrepreneurial ventures proving that, with consumer demand on your side, waste can be re-born as a valuable commodity.

But it’s markedly different in the charity world. There, solicited donation is the most common form of fund generation, with some exceptions.

Vancouver real-estate marketers Peter Dupuis and Sid Landolt have created World Housing, the world’s first 1-for-1 real-estate gifting model, which builds housing for third-world communities in garbage dumps. The partners in S&P Real Estate […]

25 03, 2015

Mortgage insurer exercising heightened vigilance in Alberta real estate market


Mortgage insurer Genworth is making changes to its underwriting practices in Alberta as it braces for an increase in delinquencies in the region.

President and chief executive Stuart Levings said Genworth is exercising “heightened vigilance” in underwriting home purchases in Western Canada in light of the sharp decline in oil prices.

“We haven’t pulled out of the market by any means,” Levings told an investor conference hosted by National Bank on Tuesday.

“What we’re doing is we’re looking at the stacked risk factors a lot closer — so people that have higher debt service ratios, that are employed in the oil and gas sector, that may be dependent on one income versus two, that are buying a home with five per cent down — we’re going to take a lot closer look at that deal.”

Levings said deals with multiple risk factors represent about 10 per cent of the business that Genworth does in the region.

Mortgage defaults, which have been at all-time lows […]

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    Vancouver Sun: Life next to derelict million-dollar Vancouver home is far from rosy

30 11, 2014

Vancouver Sun: Life next to derelict million-dollar Vancouver home is far from rosy

A Vancouver woman has a cautionary tale for anyone living next to an abandoned house after she battled city authorities for months to stop strangers from partying on the decaying back porch of a rundown house across her lane.

Laura De Munain moved into her family’s Oak Street house on the outskirts of the tony Shaughnessy neighbourhood in April. While working from home, the pregnant lawyer soon noticed groups of two or three people regularly stumbling around her back alley in a daze.

She went to check out the house. After walking through the rubbish-strewn carport, she climbed a rotting back staircase and found a large porch littered with aerosol cans, garbage and a camping stove. Above, a mouldy piece of drywall drooped down from the ceiling, exposing the rafters. With its back door unlocked and kitchen windows open, anyone could, and did, easily slip in.

Police answered her first call to their non-emergency line and toured the property, but they “said […]

21 07, 2014

You Have A New Kind of Mortgage Broker Victoria

Well its about time it happened.  You have a new kind of mortgage broker Victoria.  This full service mortgage broker is working hard to find the exact product for a range of client situations including those with bad credit or recently out of bankruptcy. “It’s a moral issue.”, says mortgage broker Andrew Libera. “Obviously the majority of mortgage products out there are designed for people with a 680 beacon credit score or higher, but there are many hardworking people that have just had some tough breaks, and if they have a strong covenant we will work hard to get them into a home of their own.  Sometimes its a short one or two year solution that can get them back on track.  Rates are great right now and that sure helps. ”

Victoria’s Best Mortgage is a full service mortgage broker right in the heart of Cook Street Village, Victoria, BC.  According to Mr. Libera, “We have a wide range of […]

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    British Columbia Supreme Court judge has certified a class-action suit against CIBC Mortgage Inc.

10 07, 2014

British Columbia Supreme Court judge has certified a class-action suit against CIBC Mortgage Inc.

Thank you to The Straight

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has certified a class-action suit against CIBC Mortgage Inc. in connection with its prepayment penalties.

In a June 30 judgment, Justice Jeanne Watchuk ruled that Erin Sherry is a “very appropriate” representative plaintiff in the case after she was hit with a $47,868.91 prepayment fee when she paid off her mortgage in full.

Watchuk’s decision also stated that “the certification is conditional on the plaintiff establishing for the court an identifiable class which is not overbroad.” She instructed lawyers for both parties to set a schedule to determine how to define which customers would be eligible to be included as plaintiffs in the class-action suit.

Sherry’s lawyer, Kieran Bridge, told the Georgia Straight by phone that the case involves mortgage prepayments made from 2005 onward. He pointed out that CIBC owns CIBC Mortgage, which offers mortgages through the FirstLine Mortgage and President’s Choice brands.

“I would estimate that across the country, CIBC probably […]

23 02, 2014

Sudesh Kumar on Investing in Gold

This opinion comes from India.  If you don’t know, India is the country that often foretells the future of Gold.

Sudesh Kumar: “Gold should be seen as one of the numerous investment options for accumulating wealth. The price of gold, which is primarily a commodity, tends to rise over time. Since investors do not adjust the price for inflation, they see the increase as positive. Kumar should understand that the long term return from gold could be the same as the rate of inflation.

However, the prices of assets are not always driven by long-term trends. There are short-term events that can move the price significantly above or below the long-term average. Gold is valued for its ability to act as a substitute for any other asset, including currency. Therefore, the demand for gold rises when all other assets, such as equity, debt and currency, are falling. Whenever there is a crisis in the markets, investors seek refuge in gold.

Kumar’s good […]

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    TELUS Opens $75 Million Next-Generation Cloud Computing Data Centre In Kamloops

31 01, 2014

TELUS Opens $75 Million Next-Generation Cloud Computing Data Centre In Kamloops

TELUS officially opened its state-of-the-art Internet Data Centre in Kamloops. One of eight TELUS Internet Data Centres across Canada, the Kamloops Internet Data Centre will serve as the foundation of TELUS’ next-generation cloud computing services for thousands of Canadian businesses. Designed to be scalable, the centre has the capacity to increase its physical footprint and information storage capacity to meet the expanding information technology needs of clients well into the future.

TELUS invested $75 million to build the centre, creating 200 local construction jobs. The centre has created 75 permanent Canadian jobs, 25 of them in Kamloops. This significant investment is part of $3 billion in infrastructure and facilities upgrades TELUS is making across British Columbia from 2012 through 2014 and builds upon the $29 billion TELUS has already invested in operations and technology throughout the province since 2000.

Built to LEED environmental standards, TELUS’ Kamloops facility is one of the most environmentally sustainable internet data centres in the world. A […]

11 11, 2012

Soft-Shell Robot Comes Complete With Cloaking Abilities

Cephalopods, like the octopus and cuttlefish, might not have the mass appeal of sharks or baby penguins, but they’re not any less amazing. When threatened (or hunting) these sea creatures are able to summon up instant camouflage, bathing their exterior in patterns and colors that allow them to blend in perfectly with their surroundings.

For centuries, this instinctive cloaking ability has existed only in nature, but now Harvard robotics experts are close to recreating this type of camouflage in a lab. This latest bit of bio-mimicry involves soft, silicone-based robots with a web of tiny channels flowing through their silicone skin. When triggered, these channels fill with dyes that allow the bots to blend in to their surroundings, or stand out in stark contrast.

The study, published in the latest edition of Science, proves that building robots to operate only like mammals might be a mistake. By incorporating the muscle structure of cephalopods, it could open up an entirely new world of flexible, self-camouflaging […]

11 09, 2012

Volkswagen Building Massive Solar Park in Tennessee

Corporations everywhere appear to be eagerly embracing solar energy as a compliment to their traditional energy sources. From Apple to Wal-Mart to IKEA and General Motors, solar arrays are being built atop buildings and opposite plants and offices. Automaker Volkswagen has become the latest to pursue the latter, with the first photovoltaic panel being added yesterday to what will eventually number over 33,000.

The $30M project, spearheaded by Phoenix Solar, will cover 65-acres just north of the German company’s assembly plant at Enterprise South industrial park in Tennessee. When it comes online later this fall, it will be the largest solar park in the state.

Thilo Brockhaus, VW Manager of Plant Construction told news station WDEF, “The solar installation can produce 9.58 megawatts DC, which is 7.6 megawatt AC. That provides you with 13.1 gigawatt hours annual power. You could power 1,200 house holds with that per year.”

Brockhaus added that the solar array will cover roughly 12.5% of the plant’s energy needs. […]

11 08, 2012

Report: United States Clean Tech Investment

The United States is under-investing in clean technology and will ultimately suffer a long-term market share loss if it doesn’t boost spending, according to a report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund.

Despite having the second largest renewable energy manufacturing sales value worldwide, the U.S. lags behind China, Denmark, Germany and Brazil in those sales when considering the size of its overall economy, the report states.

Clean energy manufacturing sales increased 17 percent in the U.S. in 2011, a positive yet markedly slower pace than the 28 percent surge it experienced in 2010, according to the report.

The Clean Economy, Living Planet report ranks 25 countries based on the 2011 sales of the clean energy technology products manufactured in that country, such as solar panels and wind turbines. China had the largest market, followed by the U.S. and Germany, the report found.

Taiwan was the fastest growing market in 2011, with a 36 percent hike in sales. China earned the number two ranking with a 29 […]

11 08, 2012

Do Electric Vehicle Owners Spend More Time Shopping?

The mass adoption of electric vehicles could be good for local retailers, as EV owners may be spendng more time shopping than their petroleum-burning counterparts.

Research being done by EV charger manufacturer ECOtality is showing that owners of electric vehicles spend considerably more time in stores when they are able to plug their vehicle in nearby. Looking at EV data gathered through the Department of Energy’s EV Project, ECOtality is able to study the behavior of shoppers at retail locations where the company has installed public chargers. The company has chargers installed at several retailers, including IKEA, Kohls, and Cracker Barrel.

“We are in the process of vetting information from retailers,” said ECOtality’s chief innovation officer Don Karner.

The EV Project, the largest deployment of EVs and charging stations in history, is partially paid for by a $115 million grant from the DOE and is in collaboration with several automakers as well as Idaho National Laboratory.

I am not normally one to promote […]