corpse

Opening sooner than expected, the 'corpse flower' also know as Uncle Fester has bloomed!

Last Friday Bloedel Conservatory posted to Facebook that 'a hole' has formed in the spathe (modified leaf) that afternoon and it was expected that it was getting ready to unfurl very soon.

The hype to take a whiff of the horrid stench produced by the Titan arum - the world's largest flower - began on Tuesday. The bloom will be its most fragrant  today and will last up to 48 hours.

Why is everyone so excited! Well, it's not your average flower. It rarely ever blooms, but when it does it lets off a strench described as smelling like discarded diapers, hot garbage or even rotting fish.

It emits that smell to attract other members of natures mistfit crew such as carrion beetles and insects that feed on rotting flesh.

Bruce McDonald, the Superintendent for Bloedel Conservatory and Sunset Nursery said the response has been great and they are excited at being the first to this plant bloom in B.C. People are amazed at its size and unusual beauty.

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manhattan

Move over Manhattan, Vancouver's downtown office occupancy costs are rising faster than those in New York City's financial district and everywhere else in North America.

Downtown Vancouver's prime office occupancy costs increased by 16.0% this year, representing the largest price increase in North America, followed by Manhattan and downtown Toronto.

Depite the increase, Vancouver's prime office space remains much less costly than in Midtown Manhattan, where the top office spaces lease for US $183 per square foot, compared with US $47.95 per square foot (C$63) in Class A downtown Vancouver towers. In downtown Toronto, such top office space leases for US $56.27 (C$74) per square foot.

Although prices have escalated, downtown Vancouver is still not in the top most expensive cities globally and trails downtown Toronto.

Vancouver's rental rates are expected to continue to increase as demand shows little sign of retreat as there is no new supply expected until 2021.

Central Hong Kong remained the most expensive office market in the world, with overall prime occupancy cost of US $307 per square foot, follow by London's West End at US $235, Beijings Finance Street at US $201, Hong Kong Kowloon at US $190 and Beijing's Central Business District at US $189.

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BC Electric house exterior

If you are looking for an unusual home that has a different kind of energy then this converted B.C. Electric substation could be for you.

For $3.75 million, the uniquie property is on a 2.35 acre lot in Abbotsford, sitting on a 30 acre greenbelt forest with a river flowing beside the house.

Although its price might seem high for the area, the 12,993 square foot interior living space, which is only $289 per square foot - may be a bargain for this kind of history.

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Known as the 'Sumas Substation' or colloquially 'The Power House', the historic building at 39623 Old Yale Road was builit in 1906 by the B.C. Electric Corporation. The Power House, made of concrete, steel and brick, housed all the equipment for powering the Fraser Valley Line of Vancouver's vast interurban longer-haul commuter and cargo streetcar system, connecting Vancouver with Chilliwack and communities in between.

BC Electric house great room


The substation was abandoned for many years, but was purchased several times in the past few decades and has been converted into a huge home. In recent years, it was extensively renovated in a high-end, industrial chic style, with exposed brick walls and steel beams, sliding metal barn doors, floor to ceiling loft style windows and acid stained concrete floors.

BC Electric house master bedroom


The home now has 8 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, 2 large lofts, 5 kitchens, expansive living and dining areas, a theatre, an elevator, a 1,000 bottle wine cellar and  4 large balconies.

BC Electric house formal living room


And if making your mortgage payments might be challenging, think again. There are 2 separate rental apartments as well as a third legal rental suite with 2 bedrooms in the main home.

Any takers?

BC Electric house family room

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City Hall

With less than a 1% vacancy rate and as Richmond continues to fine tune its housing policies, the city is considering a market rental policy, which is expected to be approved this week.

This new policy would ensure that not just low income or social housing units need to be protected but that the supply of rental units needs to increase. So while the city's previously approved affordable housing strategy responded to below market rental housing, this new policy would address housing that is rented out at market rates.

Approximately 82% of renter households (about 15,500 households) find accommodation in the secondary rental market, which includes condominiums, single family homes, secondary suites, coach houses and subsidized rental housing.

The new policy will include encouraging building owners to keep units in good repair and creating incentives for market rental housing developments such as density bonuses, decreased parking requirements and fast tracking permits.

Another key point was to ensure that there would be more family sized units created - units with 2 or more bedrooms, particularly because 40% of Richmond's renters are families with children.

The policy will also encourage housing units that rent at market rates for tenants, with no restrictions on income levels. and also seek to encourage developers and investors to build new market rental units.


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Starbucks will eliminate plastic straws for all its locations within 2 years. The company has become the largest food and beverage company to do so as calls to cut waste globally grow louder. 

By 2020 Starbucks will be using straws made from biodegradable materials like paper and specially designed lids.

The strawless lids will begin to appear in Vancouver this fall, with rollouts with the rest of Canada to follow next year and a global rollout soon after.

In Canada, Mcdonald's say they plan to monitor the market tests to understand the impact the changes may have before making a decision, while A&W says it will eliminate all plastic straws from its restaurants by the end of this year.

While plastic straws have become one of the more high profile issues enivornmentally, they make up only about 4% of the plastic trash by number of pieces, and far less by weight. Straws add up to about 2,000 tons of the nearly 9 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in the water each year.

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victoria b.c.

With an overall vacancy rate of 3% nationally, Canada's rental markets can present opportunities for investors in some smaller B.C. regions.

In B.C. urban areas and suburbs in close proximity to downtown Vancouver tends to trend below 1% vacancies. Though pricey, demand on cities like Burnaby and East Vancouver provide landlords with a steady source of income and potential for an increase in property value.

Kelowna and New Westminster per-door prices are relatively cheaper than Burnaby and East Vancouver and offer higher cap rates for mid-range investors. .

B.C's 5 best picks for landlord markets in 2018 are:

1.  Victoria with a rental vacancy rate of 0.7%. An average 1 bedroom rents for $1,070 with an average price per suite of $215,000 and rising.

2.  Kelowna with a rental vacancy rate of 0.2%. An average 1 bedroom rents for $1,150 with an average price per suite of $135,000.

3.  New Westminster with a rental vacancy rate of 1.1%. An average 1 bedroom rents for $1,330 with an average price per suite of $288,474.

4.  East Vancouver with a rental vacancy rate of 0.3%. An average 1 bedroom rents for $1.460 with an average price per suite of $390,349.

5.  Burnaby with an average vacancy rate of 0.6%. An average 1 bedroom rents for $1,380 with an average price per suite of $332,132.

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Hand holding smartphone view looking in house on blurred house background with Home security CCTV system concept.

Examples of more and more instances are starting to surface of sellers using hidden cameras to monitor activity in their homes during showings, and it may affect when, where and how buyers and their Realtors should react when viewing a property. Though it may seem an appropriate practice in high end homes containing expensive valuables, it's not limited to the luxury real estate market. Hidden camaras have been found in fixer uppers and other lower priced homes as well. The problem is that the equipment is so affordable that any seller can afford it.

Buyers should be advised to be circumspect during showings. Cameras that capture a buyer's exuberance or dissatisfaction with a home could reveal important negotiation leverage that the seller can later use against the buyer. You are better off not saying anything when you are in the house.

Buyers working with Realtors may want to work out a plan for communicating about a property before heading to the showing. Maybe treat the showing as if the seller is sitting in the living room.


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outdoor cinema

Join the Richmond City Centre Community Association for their annual outdoor movie night on July 28th at Garden City Park.

The screening of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' will begin at 9pm on the north side of the park, near the playground and basketball court.

A pre-movie community fair will take place at 6pm, where families can join in a variety of recreational activities including face painting, arts & craft and live performances.


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The timing of the Summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere varies between June 20 and June 22, depending on the year and time zone. This year the Summer solstice fell last Thursday, June 21st at 3:07 am PDT.

The timing of the Summer solstice is not based on a specific calendar date or time; it all depends on when the Sun reaches the northernmost point from the equator, therefore it's not always on the same day.

In our hemisphere, the summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight of the whole year. Click here for a handy sunrise and sunset calendar to figure out how many hours of sunlight you get in your location on the solstice.

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If the Summer solstice is the longest day of the year, why isn't it the hottest day of the year.  The earth's atmosphere, land and oceans absorb part of the incoming energy from the Sun and store it, releasing it back as heat at various rates. Eventually, the land and especially oceans will release stored heat from the Summer soltice back into the atmosphere. This usually results in the year's hottest temperatures appearing in late July, August or later, depending on the latitude and other factors. This is called seasonal temperature lag.

Even though the Summer solstice is the 'longest' day of the year, the earliest sunrise happens about a week before the solstice. Also the Sun actually sets more slowly around the time of a solstice, in that it takes longer to set below the horizon. This is related to the angle of the setting Sun. The farther the Sun sets from due west along the horizon, the shallower the angle of the setting Sun.

Mercury has virtually no tilt relative to the plane of its orbit, and therefore does not experience true seasons.

Uranus is tilted almost 98 degrees and has seasons that last 21 years.

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Image result for pictures of strata ready for redevelopment in richmond bc

If things weren't complex enough in this Metro Vancouver heated real estate market, now you have owners of older condos deciding whether to stay or sell.

Some condo owners in older buildings in high transit corridors are trying to get ahead of the market and potential strata dissolution, as they list their suites individually for top dollar, while others are hiring lawyers and realtors, and going through the 'windup' process.

Whatever the decision, condo owners should do their homework, especially in this uncertain real estate market.

The 'windup' process isn't feasable for everybody. It all has to do with location.  If you have a property in a premium zone or high density area, the value of your property as a collective piece is probably worth substantially more than the individual units in an older building that is facing long term repairs over the next 10 years.

However selling to a developer is not the 'magic bullet' because property values vary widely from  block to block and city to city. There is also the time consuming process of going to court, if only 80% of your neighbours are willing to sell.

If it takes 9 to 10 months to complete the windup, condo prices could also quickly outpace settlements, making it difficult to find an affordable place to move to in the area.

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Many people think that are going to live in the same neighbourhood, or even in the new building, but they might have to downsize from 1,100 s.f. to 500 s.f for the same price.

If you happen to live in an older strata, in a key location, it is probably best that all the owners in the complex stick together during negotiations and should be realistic when deciding to sell. Make sure you make prudent decisions based on real values, not just your hopes and wishes.

Condo owners should also be choosy and make sure their realtor acts exclusively for their strata. It is also important to hire a lawyer for the windup process, including reviewing the listing agreement.

Unless you are getting 50% more value or facing a massive levy for repairs, you should seriously think about whether or not you're going to sell.

For more information on 'winding up' a strata visit Choa.bc.ca

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 Tiny house

If buying a house or a condo is too expensive these days, why not build a tiny home that's affordable?

At the Richmond Art Gallery, there is an exhibit that explores tiny houses as a solution to the housing affordability problem.

The display includes a 170 square foot wood frame house on wheels, which was contructed from scratch by visual artist, Germaine Koh.

Tiny house

The house has a living area and a sofa that can be pulled out to a bed at night. Behind the bedroom is a full size kitchen with some storage space and a mini bathroom with a shower and toilet. The house is also equipped with an electrical connector, a water tank and a compost system.

The house is named " Lulu Living" after Lulu Island, to acknowledge the  long history in houses in tranist in Richmond and the surrounding areas.

Koh is looking for support for different kinds of housing options that address different needs - not everyone wants or can afford a 3,000 square foot house.

Koh has also designed and built a 100 square foot, two storey, permanent micro studio prototype on the Southern Gulf Islands.

In some areas, the houses are small enough that you don't require a building permit, but in cities such as Richmond, all houses, including tiny ones, require a building permit. You will also have to submit a zoning application to have another house located in your backyard, according to the City of Richmond.

The exhibit is free to the public daily at the Richmond Art Gallery until August 26th. The house is on display on the green land outside and open to visitors on Tuesdays from 1-3 pm or by appointment.

Tiny home

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Richmond's latest trail is now open to the public.

The 2.9 kilometre public trail at the Garden City Lands is multi-use and works as a loop around the lands for walking and cycling.

Trails users are advised that only the permieter trail loop is open to the public at this time. The parellel trail network is reserved for use by farm equipment and city vehicles still working on the site.

The spectacular open space on the edge of the city centre is unique in supporting community farming and environmental preservation and providing tremendous recreational opportunities for the entire community.

In addition to completing the trails network, the city has also completed significant soil and drainage improvements to support planned farming and urban agriculture uses on the site; preserve the environmentally sensitive bog area in the southeast corner of the site and manage stormwater and groundwater flow throughout the site.

More than 700 trees and 50,000 shrubs, all native to the area have been planted along the perimeter trail.

A portion of the site has been leased to Kwantlen Polytechnic Univerisity for use as part of its Farm School Program. The site preparation is now underway for Kwantlen's inaugural farming season.

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A former North Vancouver couple have been ordered to pay $37,000 to the people who bought their home after a judge determined they deliberately concealed knowledge of a buried oil tank on their property.

The B.C. Supreme Court ordered the former owners to cover the costs of removing the underground oil tank and cleaning up the soil that had been contaminated by leaking oil.

The judge ruled the sellers were responsible for the cleanup, even though they had never used the oil tank.

The current owners bought the house in 2001, but didn't discover the underground oil tank until 2016, when they dug it up and had to pay for cleanup of the contaminated soil.

The former owners, who bought the house in 1976, maintained they were not aware of the tank or any contamination, so shouldn't be held responsible for it.

They said they removed an oil tank inside the house and converted the heating system to natural gas shortly after buying it, decades ago.

They claim that it never occured to them to ask about underground storage tanks because these were not generally the subject of concerns in the 1970's. They argued the tank was a case of buyer beware.

This is usually the case, except in instances where the sellers of a property have actively concealed or misrepresented the defect.

The current owners explained to the judge that excavation of the tank revealed its vent pipe was within inches of both an irrigation system and a sewer line on the property, which the seller, a retired plumber and gasfitter had installed both system, and would have seen.

The judge agreed that the seller either knew or had very good reason to believe there was an underground storage tank on the property and was ordered to pay the $37,000 clean up.

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Image result for pictures of soap box derby tsawwassen 2017Racers will be speeding down 6th Avenue in Tsawwassen tomorrow during the third annual Soap Box Derby.

Presented by the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen and the City of Delta, the event will see racers head down the hill at a time beginning at 11am. The family event will have food trucks, face painting and an awards ceromony at the intersection of 6th Ave and 52nd Street.Image result for pictures of soap box derby tsawwassen 2017

Nearly 50 racers will take part. Participants come out of the starting gates at Milsom Wynd and roll towards the finish line at 52nd Street.

A new aspect of this years event is a show'n shine taking place today at Save-On-Foods in Tsawwassen. Carts will be shown off from 7pm to 9pm and a panel of judges will select a 'Best Cart' winner. The public can vote on a 'Best Dressed' honour at tomorrows derby.

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Castle house East Vancouver main image

If you ever wanted to own your own castle, well now's your chance. A 2017 custom built house in East Van with a castle like exterior has been listed for $2.298 million.


Castle house East Vancouver stairs wineThe Fraser Street house, which fronts Mountain View Cemetery, may look medieval in style on the outside, but don't let that fool you. The ultra contemporary interior is complete with epoxy flooring and 12 foot ceilings.

There are 4 bedrooms, an office, an open concept main floor, a gourmet kitchen, a glass wine wall under the stairs and 4 ultra modern full bathrooms.Castle house East Vancouver open concept A balcony off the front bedroom offers a castle-like flair, while the entire

rooftop terrace comes with a 360 degree view, outdoor kitchen, bbq and wet bar.

Since it was built just last year, it is still well  within it 2-5-7 new home warranty.

Castle house East Vancouver kitchen

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Image result for pics from london heritage farm collectible carsThe London Heritage Farm Classic and Collectible Car Show and picnic is only a couple of weeks away.

Sunday, June 24th the farm will once again play host to a fabulous day of vintage cars, with some delicious tea and cakes.Image result for pics from london heritage farm collectible cars

Selected car clubs and owners have been invited to display their classic cars at the farm, where last year's event was a big success with dozens of beautiful cars.

This show is basically a show-and-shine with no judging or other formalities. There is no charge for entering the vehicle and picnic area, but you may want to enjoy a great tea in the farmhouse with cakes and sandwiches.

There will be picnic tables available around the historic farmhouse with modern toilet faciilities.Image result for pics from london heritage farm collectible cars

The event will be relatively informal with a great chance to spend a pleasant afternoon on the edge of the Fraser River.

Organizers would like to have all the cars in place by 11am with the event winding up at about 3pm.Image result for pics from london heritage farm collectible cars

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Versa Platinum - Custom  Home - Langley 2


If you love peeking inside other people's beautiful homes - well nows your chance.

This Sunday is the 25th annual Parade of Homes, which allows the public inside 15 stunning new custom homes and tranformative renovations across Metro Vancouver.

The self guided  tour is between 10am and 4pm, and those who register can enter as many of the 15 homes as they like, provided they get around to them all.  And since they are spread from West Vancouver to Langley, this will be no small feat.Shakespeare - Custom Build with Coach House - North Vancouver

The parade is organized by the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association, with all the homes' building and renovations work on display carried out by member companies, and is sponsored by FortisBC.  Representatives of the member companies will be on hand throughout the day to answer questions about home building and renovations.

For more details, to register for your passport and get a map of the tour click here. Registered participants will also get access to an additional 10 virtual home tours.Bolder Homes - Canterbury Crescent, North Vancouver

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Image result for pics of enviro-smart ladner                   A pair of senior Delta civic staff members are travelling to Ottawa this week to see if they can figure out how to do things right. When it comes to odour problems which East Ladner is now experiencing...is it time to fully enclose the facility?

The pair are going to tour the Green for Life and Orga World composting facilities in Ottawa. The Green For Life facility operates in the same manner as is being proposed for the Enviro-Smart facility in East Ladner.Related image

They are interested to see the facility in order to help determine whether a similar facility could address the odour problems being experienced in East Ladner.  The Orga World facility is a fully enclosed operation which processes 150,000 tonnes of organic waste a year, the scale being proposed for Enviro-Smart.

The odour has been the complaint of hundreds of air quality complaints for the past couple of years, prompting Metro Vancouver to begin discussions with the company last summer about an air quality management permit.Related image


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walking tour vignettes'Coming Alive' is back for its second year in Steveston.

During the months of June and July, visitors can stroll through the streets of Steveston on Saturdays and get a feel for its past as Hugh McRoberts Secondary School's drama students perform 5 brief plays about life in the seaside community back in 1917.

Presented by the Steveston Historical Society and the Steveston Museum, the Walking Tour Vignettes are running on Saturdays in June and July at 1pm and 3pm. Tours leave from the Steveston Museum where a costumed guide will lead visitors through the streets of Steveston to each performance. The entire tour will last about 1 hour and covers just over 1 kilometre. 

Image result for stevestons walking tour vignettes photosThe students and delighted to bring these entertaining stories back to the streets of Steveston again this year. The tours sold out last summer, so be sure to catch this great show while you can.

Tickets are $10, but children under 12 are free when accompanied by a paying adult (max 2 children per adult)  Image result for stevestons walking tour vignettes photos

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Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons made a pitch to the legislature to make all 360 episodes of the classic TV series The Beachcombers available online.

If you grew up in Canada in the 1970's or '80's you very likely watched The Beachcombers, and if you grew up in one of the other 60 countries in the world where the series was broadcast, you may have been watching it there as well.

Everything about this show is West Coast and truly Canadian. It told our story. But only 60 episodes have been aired since 1990, and according the Simons, this needs to change.

The show had a cast of contrasting characters and told original stories about fishing, logging and the ecology. It explored land claims and other First Nations issues. There were even references to our ferry service. It showed the beauty of BC's coastline and in one episode the show centred around a proposed pipeline from Alberta through BC.Beachcombers  

Simons goes on to claim that The Beachcombers continues to draw tourists to the Sunshine Coast, and being able to watch the show is in the national interest.

'Along with Jackson Davies, our favourite Mountie, I'm calling on the CBC, our national broadcaster, to make this classic television series available again for the enjoyment of not just Canadians, but fans around the world.' Simons would like to see CBC offer all 360 episodes through its online player.

Good idea.  I'd watch the series again. You?

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