I am very excited to take part in this year’s Seek the Peak 2016 from Ambleside to the peak of Grouse Mountain! My team of 4 powerful women.. Dawn Williamson, Leah James, Patty Hopper and myself (Michele De Fehr).  A great event that raises money and awareness for a cause that affects so many of us…. that cause is Breast Cancer. I hope one day this will be a word of the past. Come out and cheer everyone on. #goteamtatas #beatbreastcancer  #runningforacause http://www.cbcf.org/Pages/default.aspx




Study to be revisited on highway link from the Sunshine Coast to Lower Mainland

Bridge financing
Last week the B.C. government decided that a bridge between Gabriola Island and Vancouver Island is not economically feasible. Today it announced that R.F. Binnie & Associates will study the feasibility of a highway link from the Sunshine Coast to the Lower Mainland. The contract is worth $250,000, and the study is expected to be completed in fall 2016.

The study will explore number of potential connections ranging from a highway link around Jervis Inlet to direct bridge connections along the coast. It will also assess the costs and benefits of each option and compare them with existing ferry services, as was the case with the Gabriola-Vancouver Island s


see below for original report from BCBusiness:

Province to study a fixed link to the Sunshine Coast


Jacob Parry | Sep 18, 2015

Image by: Sunshine Coast Connector

Tunnel-and-bridge combos, like this one in Hvrode, are a common workaround in fjord-plagued Norway

Coastal link
For any resident of Powell River, it’s a familiar routine: a half-hour drive to the first of two ferries, then a 50 minute crossing to Earls Cove ($61.50 for a car and passenger). If you time it right, you can drive the length of Sunshine Coast and make it on the ferry to West Vancouver in two-and-a-half hours ($69 for a car and passenger). Said and done, it’s a four-and-a-half-hour trip, not counting traffic on the bridge into Vancouver.

Enter a proposal, in the earliest of stages, to build a fixed link between the Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland. On Friday, the Ministry of Transportation announced that it will study the costs and benefits of a fixed link to the Sunshine Coast, the ferry-dependent region home to 45,000. From the get-go, the province is looking at a handful of options, from a lengthy highway link to the Sea-to-Sky through the remote coast mountains, to a series of bridges hopping the islands and fjords along the route south to Vancouver.

The most likely crossing would be at Porteau Cove, a long a shallow band of the Howe Sound, according to Oddvin Vedø, a former economic development officer for the Sunshine Coast regional district and an avid fan of a fixed link. And he isn’t alone: both the district of West Vancouver and BC Ferries have been itching to move service out of space-constrained Horseshoe Bay for at least a decade. In July, the Sunshine Coast Regional District passed a resolution asking the province to look at a fixed link—a highway plus a bridge or tunnel. This is how the district mulled the benefits: a fixed link could boost tourism and real estate development, bring the obvious employment boon of a major construction project, and help mitigate the impact of the region’s transition from logging and sawmills to weekenders and retirees. The cost? A price tag that starts at $250 million.

But before you start planning your drive to Sechelt, be warned that the government is in the earliest stages of the project timeline. For comparison, the province put out an RFP for a study for a fixed link to Vancouver Island via Gabriola last year, which is still in process. As for the link across Howe Sound, ministry has put out a request for proposals to hire a firm to undertake the study, which it expects to get underway later this year.

But for fun’s sake, here are a few renderings of a comparable fjord crossing project in Norway, via Sunshine Coast Connector:

What are your thoughts on this proposal? Should we spend money on updating ferries ( BC Ferries) …or build new highway?



Will China’s market turmoil increase Canadian real estate prices?


Image by: iStock

The weak Canadian dollar and a shaky Chinese stock market make Vancouver an affordable bet for offshore investors

byLudovic Siouff

Ludovic Siouffi is an investment advisor at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management (Canada).

My wife and I live in downtown Vancouver, one of the hottest real estate markets across the country. We just received our property assessment value for 2016, and it has gone up by over 12 per cent in just one year, which is probably average for where we live. In places like Lion’s Bay, just thirty minutes outside the city, property assessment values are up 15 to 20 per cent, and in some cases as high as 30 per cent.

While there are plenty of other factors I’m sure—our incredible beaches, scenic views, a lack of land and land-use constraints—I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that investment from Mainland Chinese buyers over the past few years, and even decades, has been a major contributor to our real estate boom.

So what kind of impact will the recent market downturn in China have on our precious real estate? For those of you who might have been in a coma over the past few months, here’s a quick update – China’s stock market isn’t doing so well. It all started in June of 2015. At the time, China’s stock market was on an incredible hot streak. With the state-owned media urging them on, many people started pouring their money into stocks. The resulting growth was explosive but unstainable. As the demand for stocks increased, so too did stock prices. Meanwhile, the overall Chinese economy had actually been slowing down, and debt was skyrocketing. This led to a sudden mass loss in confidence, and a shocking drop in the Chinese stock market.

Over the past few months, the Chinese government has done everything in its power to stop losses. At first their efforts seemed to be working, with volatility in the region decreasing towards the end of 2015. However, over the past first few days of trading in 2016, it’s clear that there is still a lot of anxiety and fear amongst investors in China. Just yesterday, China’s stock market was again halted after only 30 minutes of trading, the shortest day in its 25 year history. Since the majority of investors in China’s markets are individuals, rather than institutional investors, panic and sell-offs have spread at a much faster rate. Most economists agree that the recent wave of downturns stems from the lowering of the local currency.

This leads me to the Renminbi (also known as the yuan), China’s currency, which is fixed to the U.S. dollar. Just recently, and with little warning, the People’s Bank of China lowered the exchange rate of the yuan against the U.S. dollar by 0.51 per cent. This recent currency move has led to a massive sell-off in the region, with investors looking to move their assets out of China. Although it’s not as easy to convert and move funds out of China, as it is for us to move down South, the government has yet to impose any major restrictions or limitations on doing so.

So now that you have some lay-of-the-land, let’s bring it back full-circle. Below is a simple flow-chart that I think will help in explaining why I think the recent market turmoil in China will lead to higher demand for real estate in Vancouver. Working our way through, it seems pretty clear that a major fall in the Chinese stock Market, could ultimately lead to further increases in Canadian real estate prices.


North Shore Community Christmas Dinner -Dec 12, 2015


One of my most favourite times of the year is helping to serve at the North Shore Community Christmas Dinner. This year was special..serving over 350 guests held at Carson Graham Secondary School in North Vancouver!! All the many hard working volunteers helped alongside the master chef Philippe Segur (who many remember from North Vancouver’s own Le Bistro Chez Michel) from North Vancouver’s Harvest Project who does an amazing job organizing and preparing/cooking the turkey dinner with all the trimmings, deserts, amazing salads and desserts! North Shore Alliance Church’s own  Pastor Dave Satler has this so well organized after 18 years alongside the Harvest Project., and  Save-on-Foods North Shore stores also donate food as well as their time serving the dinner.

This is a time to really witness the Christmas spirit. It is truly a time when I feel blessed in my life as I see the smiling faces of all the guests from children to adults alike. Santa makes a surprise visit with gifts and brings hope and happiness to all the children…Big and small! Local musicians and singers entertain while everyone enjoys the evening. I have never witnessed such true appreciation until I started to help with this event. It honestly makes me appreciate all that we have and what we all should be doing in life..giving…sharing and loving! No material in the world can bring you the satisfaction you get when you have given your time and self to help make someone else feel important enough to be here. It is a happy evening all around from set up to clean up.

We can all learn lessons from many who are less fortunate …and what is the real meaning of ‘being grateful’.

All the best for 2016. :)


Million Dollar Views from Beautiful Bowen Island

valhalla view 920150623_101521


Stunning Views! This is one home you will not forget! The panoramic and breathtaking views are definitely the focal point at this lovely 2300 sf home in picturesque and quiet Valhalla Estates on Bowen Island. Views of Vancouver, Gulf Islands, Mt Baker and Black Tusk. Half an acre of low maintenance and privacy offered with many trees & natural landscape(12 acre common area). Enjoy this spacious & bright 3bd/ 3ba home with master bdrm on main & 2 bedrooms up, and 2 car garage to hold all of your ‘toys’ that adventure enthusiasts will love. The living room takes full advantage of the views w/vaulted ceiling and floor to ceiling windows. The entertaining deck is the perfect place to unwind…& appreciate beautiful BC. Only 5 min to shops and ferry. Call to view today! Check out all the photos on my listings page!

High-end homes sales rise in Toronto, Vancouver, fall in Calgary in 2015

High-end homes sales rise in Toronto, Vancouver, fall in Calgary in 2015




TORONTO — The Canadian Press


Last updated Thursday, Jan. 07, 2016 10:32AM EST


Sales of homes worth $1-million or more heated up in Toronto and Vancouver last year as the low loonie fuelled demand from foreign buyers, a new report released Thursday says.


The report from Sotheby’s International Realty Canada says 11,112 homes worth $1-million or more were sold in the Greater Toronto Area last year – an increase of 48 per cent over 2014.


Detached homes pace Toronto real estate to record year (BNN Video)


In Vancouver, 4,578 homes over the $1-million mark were sold in 2015, up 46 per cent from the previous year.


The realtor says sales of homes worth more than $4-million grew the most – in Vancouver by 67 per cent, and in Toronto by 71 per cent.


But after years of growth, Calgary’s high-end housing market declined last year as the downturn in the oil patch hurt consumer confidence.


The Sotheby’s report says sales of homes over $1-million fell 41 per cent in Alberta’s largest city in 2015 compared with the previous year.


Elaine Hung, vice-president of marketing for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said low interest rates, high levels of immigration and a limited supply of homes heated up the high-end housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver.


“We had a lot of buyers who were very eager to enter the market, and they were bidding on a limited number of homes, particularly in premier neighbourhoods,” said Hung.


In many instances, that resulted in bidding wars, she said.


The luxury segment – comprised of homes worth $4-million or more – benefited from all of those factors, as well as weakness in the Canadian dollar.


“We did see increased interest from international buyers, so that was definitely a factor,” said Hung, referring to the $4-million-plus segment in Toronto and Vancouver.


In Montreal, sales of homes worth over $1-million grew by 15 per cent from a year ago.


Looking ahead to 2016, Hung predicts more of the same – continued sales growth in Toronto and Vancouver, a further slowdown in Calgary and a balanced market in Montreal.


New Listing: Lot 27 PASSAGE ISLAND (R2024618)

Lot 27 PASSAGE ISLAND, West Vancouver, Howe Sound

List Date: 2016-01-11

List Price: $205,000

WATERFRONT OPPORTUNITY! Discover Passage Island and own almost 1/3 of an acre waterfront property. Build your dream cottage … own a place to unwind from the city, but if you have to get back quickly you are only a 10 minute private boat ride from West Vancouver Yacht Club, Thunderbird Marina and Fisherman’s Cove. You feel like you are miles away, but it is also great for commuters with a boat while mooring at Thunderbird. This “Off Grid” island is the perfect retreat for you, your family and friends. The views are unbelievable! What a peaceful way to live … and very affordable. Talk to Michele today!

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