•  
  •  
  •  
Agassiz

Meet your area specialist:
Landmark Realty
2790 Allwood St
Abbotsford, BC V2T 3R7


Hillcrest at Sullivan Ridge 29 single family homes of five to six bedrooms by Marathon Homes


Living large at Hillcrest at Sullivan Ridge

Simon Briault
The Vancouver Sun

Hillcrest at Sullivan Ridge

Project location: 6119 146 Street, Surrey

Project size: 29 single-family homes with five or six bedrooms, ranging in size from 3,119 to 4,100 square feet, with prices starting at $1,249,900 including GST

Developer: Marathon Homes

Architect: Tyan Design

Interior designer: Creative Design Works

Sales centre: 6119 146 Street, Surrey

Telephone: 778 -565-7768

Website: hillcrestbymarathon.ca

There’s something about a newly built home. Everything is shiny and untarnished, the stylings are modern, the appliances are efficient and – if you’ve picked a good homebuilder – the construction is solid.

For Dean Scott, who with his wife has bought a home at Hillcrest at Sullivan Ridge, it’s that new-home feel he’s most looking forward to when they take possession in March.

Hillcrest is the third and final development by Marathon Homes in the Sullivan area of Surrey, collectively known as Sullivan Ridge. With a total of 29 homes ranging in size from 3,119 to 4,100 square feet, Hillcrest features architecture by Tyan Design and interiors by Creative Design Works.

“We’re selling a home in Richmond and the biggest thing for us is the fact that we’ll be moving into a new house from an older one where we raised our kids,” Scott said. “The finishing work in the home is tremendous. My father-in-law has been in the design business his whole life and he spent two hours in the show home and said we’d be hard pressed to find better construction and finishes anywhere else. It’s going to be great to have air conditioning in the summer too.”

“I’m also really looking forward to our new kitchen,” Scott added. “The layout of it is perfect, the quartz countertops are beautiful and there’s a gas stove. I do the cooking in our household and I love it. It’s a hobby for me.”

Jas Gill, Marathon Homes’ managing director, said that the company has tweaked the floor plans and updated the design for this latest collection of five- and six-bedroom single-family homes, most of which will have views of the North Shore mountains.

“One thing to note about Hillcrest is that the style is more contemporary and we’ve also updated all the finishes along the way,” Gill said. “The nice thing about this last phase is that I feel like the homes have a much better indoor-outdoor flow. You have a covered deck area, which wasn’t necessarily available in previous renditions and the garages are also larger in these homes. We’ve always offered functional plans, but I think now they’re not only functional, they’re really efficient as well.”

The homes come with completed basements with all the rough-ins included and there’s an option to turn them into suites, an option Scott intends to go for. All homes feature “family-sized” laundry rooms with side-by-side Whirlpool washers and dryers, natural gas fireplaces with stone surrounds, nine-foot-high ceilings in main living areas, designer lighting fixtures and custom chandeliers in the cathedral staircases.

Kitchens feature walk-in pantries, ceiling-height Shaker cabinetry with glass displays, chrome hardware on soft‑close doors and drawers, plus under-cabinet task lighting. There are polished quartz countertops as well as ceramic tile backsplashes. The stainless-steel appliance packages are by Whirlpool and kitchens also include built-in waste disposal units, single‑lever Delta faucets and pullout vegetable sprays with flex lines.

As for the bathrooms, they include large-format ceramic tile flooring, contemporary faucets and vanity mirrors. The master ensuites come with oversized walk-in glass showers, his-and-hers vessel sinks and quartz countertops. Main bathrooms have soaker tubs with ceramic tile surrounds and glass accents.

In addition to enjoying the fineries of his new luxury home, Scott says he’s looking forward to getting to know the area better.

“My wife knows Surrey better than I do, but once I did drive around the neighbourhood a bit I began to appreciate how many things were nearby,” Scott said. “There are a lot of restaurants and banks and grocery stores and pretty much everything you need. There’s also plenty of parks around there and we’ll be a little closer to the border and to White Rock, which is an area we like very much.”

A map of the area around Hillcrest at Sullivan Ridge is jam-packed with amenities. It includes no fewer than six parks and two golf courses, as well as a listing of 33 dining and shopping outlets, 12 educational institutions and nine leisure facilities.

Gill said that Marathon Homes has had a wide variety of buyers visiting the Hillcrest at Sullivan Ridge show home and several homes have already been sold. Homes are priced from $1,249,900 including GST and the show home at 6119 146 Street is open from noon until 5 p.m. every day but Friday.

“Our buyer pool has been younger families for the most part,” Gill added. “We’ve had a nice mix of families from either the Surrey area or Richmond that are moving up from townhouses or coming out of older homes in search of something more modern.”

For Dean Scott, the best bit about moving in will be that new-home feel.

“The overall esthetics of the place are incredible,” he said. “I find it quite beautiful.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.



Sharp fall for Canadian home sales says CREA


Steve Randall
REP

The number of homes sold nationwide in January was down sharply from the previous month.

New figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association show a 14.5% decline month-over-month (39,609) from December’s record high monthly record (46,352). There was a 2.4% drop year-over-year in actual (not seasonal) activity.

“The piling on of yet more mortgage rule changes that took effect starting New Year’s Day has created homebuyer uncertainty and confusion,” said CREA President Andrew Peck. “At the same time, the changes do nothing to address government concerns about home prices that stem from an ongoing supply shortage in major markets like Vancouver and Toronto. Unless these supply shortages are addressed, concerns will persist.”

There was also a sharp drop in new listings in January, down 21.6% from December to the lowest level since spring 2009. New listings declined in 85% of markets.

The Aggregate Composite MLS HPI rose by 7.7% y-o-y in January, the 9th consecutive deceleration in y-o-y gains. It was also the smallest y-o-y increase since December 2015.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd



Atira signs agreement with the Sahotas to take over operations at crumbling Regent Hotel


Nonprofit Atira Women?s Resource Society to manage Regent Hotel

The Georgia Straight

Impoverished residents living in one of the worst hotels in Vancouver will soon see conditions there improve.

On February 13, Atira Development Society, a division of the nonprofit Atira Women’s Resource Society, signed an agreement with the owners of the Regent Hotel, the Sahota family, to assume operating responsibilities of the single-room occupancy hotel (SRO).

In a telephone interview, Atira’s founder and chief executive officer, Janice Abbott, cautioned that the situation at the Regent will not change overnight.

“It will take time to sort out what’s going on there,” she told the Straight. “We have a couple of immediate priorities. Pest control, definitely. Safety and security of individual rooms, which likely means changing all the locks.

“We will be trying to sort out who lives there and who doesn’t and get people who do live there on tenancy agreements. That’s a bigger job than one might think, because there are no records.”

The Regent Hotel is located on the south side of East Hastings Street just west of Main Street.

In August 2016, tenants filed a class-action lawsuit that described deplorable conditions at the Regent.

A long list of grievances is detailed in the applicants’ notice of claim. They include a lack of heat, lack of hot water, leaking roof, crumbling façade, rat infestation, broken elevator, and impassable fire escape, among other problems.

“There are serious health and safety issues resulting from the Sahotas’ failure to maintain the Regent,” the notice of claim reads. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In December 2017, the City of Vancouver revealed that the Regent and the Balmoral, another Sahota hotel located directly across the street from the Regent, had together received 426 orders against them.

“This year the City ordered a full structural review of the Regent Hotel by a professional engineer, due to concerns with the safety and condition of the building,” the city’s media release noted.

“Based on the structural assessment, the City required repairs to damage caused by long-term leaking from the plumbing and building envelope. Temporary bracing and supports have been put in place to ensure the safety and stability of the building.

“The City has also been monitoring the Regent to ensure compliance with Standards of Maintenance by-law requirements. Several outstanding violations are unresolved. As a result, in April 2017 the City filed 47 charges against Triville Enterprises Ltd. (controlled by members of the Sahota family) in the B.C. Provincial Court, alleging violations of the City’s Standards of Maintenance By-law.  The defendants are due in Court on January 16, 2018 for a first appearance on these charges.”

Abbott emphasized that Atira has not received funding nor has it become Atira’s responsibility to address structural deficiencies or conduct major repairs on the Regent.

“It’s like if you asked me to look after your house while you moved to Prince George for a year. I’ll collect the rent and make sure the faucet is fixed if it leaks,” she explained. “But if the roof collapses, I’m not paying to fix your roof. It’s your house.

“The city will continue to hold them accountable,” she continued. “My assumption is the class-action lawsuit will continue and the courts will continue to hold them accountable.”

What Atira will be doing, Abbott said, is replacing existing staff at the hotel with the nonprofit’s employees. “And we will chip away at the minor, day-to-day orders and violations that are in place.”

Atira will also create a “shared-using room” in the Regent, Abbott added, where tenants can bring drugs like heroin and cocaine to inject them in a location where there is someone present to monitor and respond in the event of an overdose.

According to the B.C. Coroners Service, 88 percent of fatal overdoses in 2017 were indoors, and 60 percent of those deaths occurred in a private residence. The small rooms that characterize hotels like the Regent are the sort of places where many of those fatal overdoses are happening.

For that reason, in December 2016, Atira began incorporating shared-using rooms into buildings it operates throughout the Downtown Eastside. Other social-housing operators—including the Portland Hotel Society, RainCity Housing, and Lookout Emergency Aid Society—did the same shortly after.

Abbott said that Atira already has outreach workers visiting the Regent Hotel on a daily basis and expects to have a full staff in place within a few weeks.

© 2018 Vancouver free press.



Retroactive fees wrong way to pay the bills


Purchaser shouldn?t have to pay retroactive fees

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony;

We just purchased a condo in Langley and within a week of becoming owners, we were sent an invoice from our property manager that we owed back strata fees for November and December.

These are the increases to the strata fees that were not approved until the AGM at the end of December 2017, and we only became the owners as of Jan. 5.

Our strata fiscal year runs from Nov. 1 to Oct. 31. While the amount is not significant, it is the principle of the claim and the penalties being imposed by the strata manager that has us irate. Is a strata allowed to back-charge retroactive fees from previous owners to new owners?

Carol and Dave J.

Dear Carol and Dave;

The simple answer to your question is no, there are no provisions for retroactive fees; however, this is a more complicated problem that requires understanding how the Strata Property Act, regulations and the bylaws of each strata corporation function.

Here are the basic accounting principles for a strata corporation.

Every strata must approve an annual budget for a fiscal year. They can approve this before the year end for the next year, or no later than two months after the fiscal year end.

To ensure a strata corporation does not run out of operating funds, owners continue to pay the previously approved strata fee until the next budget is approved.

When the budget is proposed in the notice package, the notice must also include the schedule of proposed strata fees for the fiscal year.

This is where the owners would be notified of how increases will be covered in the next fiscal year.

By approving either the budget or amended budget, the owners are consenting to the fee schedule.

If the budget is approved before the new fiscal year begins, the solution is simple: the new fees come into effect.

If it is approved after the fiscal-year end, then the balance of the fee increases has to be paid for the remainder of the year.

The strata must collect the amount approved in the budget for the fiscal year, as that is the legal requirement under the act — the total amount of the budget divided by the unit entitlement/total unit entitlement of each strata lot for the fiscal-year period.

If the strata approves $100,000 in operating funds and a $25,000 contingency for the 2018 fiscal year, they must collect it. If they do not and it results in a deficit, the strata must pay that deficit back to the budget in the next fiscal year.

Many strata corporations that approve their budgets after the fiscal-year end choose to calculate the balance of the increases over the next 10- or 11-month period so it has the least impact on the owners and sets a comparable fee for the next year’s period with the least increase.

But some also introduce an adjustment for the next payment and call it a retroactive fee, which is incorrect, as the fee was not approved for that period; it encompasses the full fiscal year.

This is where your bylaws come into effect.

Strata corporations have modified their bylaws on payment schedules and methods, and this affects the ability of the strata corporation to manage and collect fees.

This is especially vulnerable when a sale occurs during the budget-approval process.

In your strata, the bylaws require the provision of 12 post-dated cheques for the next fiscal year, but that would be impossible, as your strata does not approve its budget until the end of the two-month period after your fiscal-year end.

A close look at the notice package for the AGM should indicate what the strata had intended and approved for the payment schedule.

A recent Civil Resolution Tribunal decision involving strata plan NW2729 will hopefully open the dialogue on this issue and help strata corporations plan their budget approvals and bylaws and manage their increases in strata fees correctly.

Glacier Community Media © Copyright 2013-2018



Bristol Heights by Polygon Bristol Heights homes 195 townhomes at 30930 Westridge Place Abbotsford


Bristol Heights’ display spaces designed with the buyer in mind

Mary Frances Hill
The Province

If the display spaces at the Bristol Heights new-home community in Abbotsford proves anything about Polygon’s design team, it’s the power of a strong work ethic.
Three homes at the site reflect distinct personalities designed to appeal to a range of buyers. Even for the experienced team, the task proved to be a challenge.

“It is an immense amount of work in a very short time … but the designers are truly amazing at wrapping their heads around the feel of the home and putting them together so wonderfully and smoothly,” says Celia Dawson, senior vice-president of Polygon Homes. Envisioning a unique personality for each home (including a creative strategy for children’s rooms), creating schedules and coordinating the work of tradespeople and suppliers is a juggling act that demands precision and patience.

 “The personality of each display is looked at carefully,” Dawson explains. “[We ask ourselves], ‘What is our demographic and for this demographic, what kind of look might be the most fitting?’

In one display space, the light of a chandelier bounces off a huge dining room mirror. When choosing such a centrepiece, Dawson is as much a curator as a designer.

“It is like sculptural art and like art … it needs to be well curated into the space to work and speak with all the art and furnishings of the room,” Dawson says.

Dawson and her designers go for contrast between the plush upholstered pieces — one sofa and two club chairs in the case of one display home — against the dark stone fireplace and the coffee table in dark wood and glass.

Every member of Dawson’s group knows how to find a bargain, a shared professional trait that fills her with pride. “It always amazes me how the designers can find well-priced materials and ‘deals’ that always look like a million dollars when they design them into the homes.”

Experience has taught them where to spend and where to splurge.
“Millwork, carpets and the odd accessory are key focal points in a room and sometimes this means spending a little more in these areas.”
Dawson says that conventional, loved artwork can transform a space even more.

“You can have an empty room with white paint and it will come alive just by hanging original art — art that you relate to and have a strong passion and emotion for.
“I have said from the start of my career that I would invest in one piece of art a year. My first pieces of art were not expensive, but I loved them and they brought my home alive.”

Bristol Heights

What: 195 townhomes in the fifth and final townhome development at Polygon’s master-planned Westerleigh community in Abbotsford

Where: 30930 Westridge Place, Abbotsford

Residence sizes and prices: Two- and three-bedroom homes from 1,250 to 2,200 square feet, starting in the high-$400,000 range

Developer and builder: Polygon Bristol Heights Homes Ltd.

Sales centre: 30930 Westridge Place, Abbotsford

Sales centre hours: noon to 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.



City passes Northeast False Creek plan


Approved 20-year proposal will create neighbourhood for 10,000-12,000 residents

John Mackie
The Province

The northeast corner of False Creek has long been something of a no man’s land. Pre-Expo 86 it was largely industrial; post-Expo it’s mostly been parking lots.

But not for much longer. After a long and sometimes tortuous special council meeting Tuesday, Vancouver council passed its Northeast False Creek plan.

The 20-year plan includes $1.7 billion in benefits for the city, which hopes to recoup most or even all of the cost from development levies and contributions from the federal and provincial governments.

Six hundred million dollars will go to affordable housing, and $360 million to “critical infrastructure” such as tearing down the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts and replacing them with a new street network.

The basic idea is to redevelop the site into a new waterfront neighbourhood with 10,000 to 12,000 residents. It will have an Indigenous name, which will be determined after consultation with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh First Nations.

Most of the new residents will be housed in 20 to 25 highrise towers that will stretch from the Plaza of Nations on the west to Carrall Street on the east.

Many will be market condos, but one area will be set aside as rental, and there will be lots of social housing in the mix — 1,800 units, which are expected to house about 3,500 people.

Strathcona activist Pete Fry has been working on a part of the plan that will celebrate Hogan’s Alley, a historic lane that was the centre of early Vancouver’s black population. It was torn down when the current Georgia Viaduct was built in the early 1970s.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, that’s for sure,” he said.

“(But) certainly there’s some great stuff in there, fantastic work on Hogan’s Alley recognition and a meaningful commitment to affordable rental housing, and purpose-built rental housing.

“That said there’s still a lot of work to be done with Chinatown, and there’s still a lot of work to be done on the arterial (road) that’s going to replace (the traffic from) Prior Street.”

NPA councillor George Affleck also thinks there are some good parts to the plan. But he fears it may be too ambitious, given that the funding will mostly come from developer contributions.

“Design is nice, but if you have no way of paying for it …” said Affleck.

“If we head into a potential recession and the development doesn’t happen (as expected) and we start working on a lot of this stuff, there’s going to be problems, as far as where is the money coming from.

“If real estate suddenly goes down by 30 per cent developers will be giving less CACs (community amenity contributions). Can this market continue? Does this assume that the market will continue to rise?

“I would say so, and I would say that’s naive, and concerning. It’s called speculation, and the city shouldn’t be playing that game.”

City planner Kevin McNaney said taking down the viaducts will cost $240 million.

“We’ve been told from Day 1 that it has to finance itself through development contributions, CACs, long-term land leases, land transactions and (other) tools,” said McNaney.

“For the overall public benefits package, we’re hoping that other levels of government with housing programs chip in, and (will also) help make Hogan’s Alley a reality.”

Parks and open spaces will account for $233 million of the $1.7 billion in public benefits. The plan also sees $180 million in new community facilities, $102 million in civic facilities, $177 million for environmental and flood protection, $30 million for child care and $15 million for heritage.

McNaney said there will probably be a nine-month “procurement process” for the contract to take down the viaducts, followed by two-and-a-half years of construction.

“We’ve phased it carefully so that there’s minimal traffic disruption,” he said.

“The first thing you do is build the new two-way Pacific, then you take down (the) Georgia (Viaduct) so you can build a ramp that connects from Beatty Street down to Pacific. Eventually the Dunsmuir Viaduct will come down as well, but you keep that up as long as you can to maintain some traffic flow during construction.”

McNaney expects the two developers in the area — Concord Pacific and Canadian Metropolitan Properties — will be proceeding with rezonings “in the coming months.”

“It gets time to get through rezoning and development permits,” he said, “so (it will be) a couple of years I would say before you see construction in the ground.”

He said the social housing in the plan will be built as the plan proceeds, but that in the interim the city hopes to start building on six social housing sites in the Concord lands.

“There are some existing sites in False Creek North from previous rezonings that we can work with the province and Concord to develop, so hopefully they’ll get built sooner,” he said.

“Then as the development proceeds, developers contribute the land and the funding for the social housing, or we use partnerships. So it’ll get built as the market housing is being built.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.