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North Vancouver

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CastleRock on Lake Windermere 4254 Castlestone Boulevard Invermere a master planned community on 306 acres by CastleRock Estates Development Corp


Year-round recreation on offer at CastleRock

Michael Bernard
The Vancouver Sun

CastleRock on Lake Windermere

Project Address: 4254 Castlestone Blvd., Invermere

Project Scope:  A master-planned community of fully serviced lots and homes on 306 acres overlooking Lake Windermere in the Columbia Valley in B.C.’s East Kootenay

Prices: Prices for lots, averaging one-quarter acre, from $79,000. Lot and home built by CastleRock starting from $550,000

Developer: CastleRock Estates Development Corp.

Sales Centre:  4254 Castlestone Blvd., Invermere

Centre hours: 11 a.m. — 5 p.m., daily

Sales phone: 250-342-3313

Website: Castlerockliving.ca

To the average Vancouverite, the town of Invermere may conjure scenes of waist-deep powder skiing on nearby Panorama Mountain, but many Albertans have long known that the Columbia Valley community offers much more than a winter paradise.

For decades, Albertans — especially people from Calgary just a three-hour drive away — have made Invermere their year-round playground. They’re well aware that the little town of 3,300 nestled between the Purcell and Rocky Mountain ranges, is on “the warm side” of the Rockies. Temperatures average around minus 10 degrees in January,  balmy by Calgary standards, to about 15 degrees in July and August.

Locals boast that one can go skiing on a spring morning, come down the mountain and change to go golfing on the links or boating on the warm waters of the relatively shallow (4.5 metre average depth) Lake Windermere in the afternoon.

Another short drive away and you can finish your day by slipping into the soothing heated waters at nearby Radium or Fairmont Hot Springs.

Now the developers of CastleRock on Lake Windermere say they are beginning to see some interest from Metro Vancouverites impressed by prices that run a fraction of what they face on the West Coast.

“We are starting to see more people from the Vancouver area come through looking,” says Mark Himmelspach, the CEO of the company developing the master-planned community located just five minutes from the centre of town.

“As Kelowna prices rise, there has been more interest in this area, particularly from retirees. And compared to prices in Vancouver, prices here are very, very low.”

CastleRock holds more than 3,600 acres, but is currently developing 306 acres with an authorized build-out of about 1,000 homes, said Himmelspach. About 25 per cent of the 306 acres is dedicated to green space. Fully serviced lot prices start at $79,000 for a .17-acre lot up to about $299,000 for a .25 acre with views of Lake Windmere. Building costs run a little higher than city prices, said Himmelspach, running between $250 and $325 a square foot, depending on the quality of finishing.

CastleRock has built a number of spec homes to showcase its product; over 200 homes and lots have been sold. Its show home is located at 2631 Taynton Trail. It also works with company Goldie Creek to offer custom homebuilding services. Buyers can also bring in their own contractor to build their home.

CastleRock has architectural guidelines in place, favouring a “Mountain Alpine” design with ample use of timber and rock. The developer has also worked on creating trails through the development and has joined a group of other builders in proposing a 15-kilometre biking trail linking Invermere with Radium to the north.

The town of Invermere boasts 63 stores, including five grocery stores and a Hudson’s Bay outlet. While its airport handles only smaller planes, the town is about 90 minutes drive from the Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook, which is served by Air Canada and Pacific Coastal Airlines and about three hours to Calgary International Airport. Drive time via Highway 1 from Vancouver runs about 8.5 hours.

Besides skiing and golf, the Columbia Valley also offers hiking and mountain biking, gliding, climbing and camping among other recreation. During the winter, Invermere boasts it has the longest continuous skating rink in the world, a 30-kilometre regularly plowed skating path encircling Lake Windermere. Beside it is a similar path dedicated to cross-country skiing.

The diversity of recreation is what drew Scott and Flo Redelback of Calgary and their two teenaged daughters to purchase a vacation home in CastleRock a few years ago.

“It was in the heart of a natural setting but close to the town,” said Scott, explaining where they built their current 1,400-square-foot bungalow. The family did consider the Okanagan, about seven hours by car from Calgary, but realized that it would be a stretch time wise.

“Because we are pretty busy right now with the kids with their sports and dance we needed something that was close in proximity to Calgary,” said the telecommunications executive. “The fact that we can come out on a Friday mid-afternoon and be out here for dinner and have a barbecue was ideal.”

Canmore was much closer to their Calgary home, they said, but a similar house there they figured would run twice the cost of one at CastleRock. Thanks to the current slump in the Calgary oil industry, they were able to get a good deal on a second lot on which they plan to build a permanent retirement home in three to five years. Their next home will probably have five bedrooms, allowing for their daughters and grandchildren to join them for vacations.

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.



Foster Martin 334 homes in three towers at 1484 Martin Street White Rock by Landmark Premiere Properties


Foster Martin development poised to bring new energy to community?s town centre

Simon Brault
The Vancouver Sun

Foster Martin

Project location: 1484 Martin Street

Project size: 334 homes in three towers, one to four bedrooms ranging from 806 to 3,748 square feet. Prices range from the mid-$500,000s up to more than $6 million

Developer: Landmark Premiere Properties Ltd.

Architect: IBI Group

Interior designer: Studio Finlay

Sales centre: #105 — 1688 152nd Street

Sales phone: 604-531-7111

Hours: noon — 5 p.m. daily

Website: http://www.fostermartin.ca

For many decades, White Rock has been famous for its waterfront: its wooden pier and promenade, the 500-ton white boulder that sits on miles of sandy beach and the shops, cafes and restaurants along Marine Drive. Now, with the development of three new towers by Landmark Premiere Properties, the community’s town centre is set for a major revitalization.

Foster Martin is a development of 334 homes of between one and four bedrooms. It gets its name from Foster and Martin streets, which run parallel north to south through the heart of White Rock. The development will provide a public, pedestrian connection between the two thoroughfares.

“Our vision was to create a landmark in the town centre by providing homes for downsizers, some commercial and retail space for the business sector and also a public space for the local community,” said Michael Kenchington, project manager for developer Landmark Premiere Properties.

“When you think about White Rock, you think about the waterfront and the pier. We’re hoping that this project will help to put the town centre on the map as a great place to visit in itself. We’re not just building a highrise development here; we’re building a community.”

Health and wellness practitioners, cafés, restaurants, a spa, daycare and other retailers will be located at Foster Martin and Kenchington said that the developers are looking to align with businesses that are about living well. The lifestyle on offer is proving popular with buyers.

“There is a large segment of the population in the Lower Mainland and in South Surrey and White Rock in particular who are looking to downsize,” Kenchington said. “But crucially, they want to do that without having to compromise. Our one-bedroom homes start at around 800 square feet and our two-bedrooms from about 1,100 square feet, which is much more generous than you would typically find in this type of development.”

Fifth Avenue is handling the sales and marketing of Foster Martin. The company’s president and CEO Scott Brown said that there’s a big demand for downsizer-friendly homes in White Rock.

“This is a community that is near a city, near an airport and on the water, but still has a bit of that small-town charm,” Brown said. “The people who live there right now want to stay there, but they realize that the current form of housing isn’t going to meet their needs any more. It’s just too stressful and too large. But up to this point, nobody has been able to offer downsizer-friendly homes right in the town centre.”

Homes at Foster Martin will have nine-foot-high ceilings, engineered wood floors and (for two-bedroom homes and larger) laundry rooms with full-sized washers and dryers, laundry sinks and stone countertops.

“At Foster Martin, every one of our kitchens will be the envy of a full-size home,” Kenchington said. “We’ve got things like 48-inch Miele fridge freezers, 36-inch gas cooktops and integrated wall ovens and microwaves. The other thing we’ve done here is to offer a much broader range of options for buyers to customize their homes than you would find in a typical condo development. Buyers will be able to choose from two distinct lifestyle design schemes, each with two original colour palettes.”

Other kitchen features include either quartz, granite or marble countertops with contiguous slab backsplashes, Miele hood fans and under-mounted stainless-steel sinks with Grohe faucets in polished chrome with integral toggle sprays.

Master bathrooms feature oval soaker tubs with Riobel polished chrome fixtures, floating vanities matched to the kitchen cabinetry and quartz, granite or marble countertops. The showers are enclosed by frameless glass and feature two-piece Riobel contemporary polished chrome rain heads and hand wands.

Foster Martin will also include a 10,000-square-foot health club with a 75-foot indoor/outdoor pool and a hot tub. There’s also a fitness studio, a business lounge, a party room, a billiards/pool room and car and bike-charging stations.

“One of the things we’re most excited about is that we’ll be providing a shuttle bus service to and from the waterfront,” Kenchington said. “People love their walks along the boardwalk, they don’t necessarily want to take on that hill and parking is always a problem down there. The shuttle will mean that residents can get to and from the water without having to drive.”

Homes range in size from 806 to 3,748 square feet and are priced from the mid-$500,000s up to more than $6 million. The first two towers are scheduled for completion in the spring of 2020, by which time White Rock town centre will look strikingly different, according to Brown.

“The civic heart of White Rock has always been at the waterfront,” he said. “What we’re trying to do at Foster Martin is create a second civic heart for the community – an urban pier, if you will – and the response from the locals has been fantastic.”

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.



The tax hassles of owning and selling a cottage or second home


The biggest tax problem associated with a vacation property is the potential for capital gains tax upon either the sale, or gift of the property, or the death of the owner

JAMIE GOLOMBEK
The Vancouver Sun

As summer winds down, and families prepare to congregate for one final long weekend at the cottage before the school year begins, the tax and estate planning issues surrounding the sale or transfer of your vacation property may become top of mind.

Given the recent tax changes to the principal residence exemption, which now require you to report the disposition of your vacation home in the year of sale, transfer or gift, it becomes more important than ever to understand the tax issues surrounding owing a second home.

Perhaps the biggest tax problem associated with a vacation property is the potential for capital gains tax upon either the sale or gift of the property or upon the death of the owner.

As a general rule, if you sell or gift the property while you are alive, you will be taxed on the difference between the amount you receive (the “proceeds of disposition”) and the tax cost (the “adjusted cost base” or ACB) of the property.

As you make improvements or additions to your vacation property, be sure to keep all receipts as these expenditures can be added to the ACB of the property, thus potentially reducing the amount of future capital gains.

The simplest tax manoeuvre is to simply gift or leave your vacation property to a spouse or commonlaw partner either during your lifetime or upon death. In that case, the property is deemed to automatically “roll over” (i.e., transfer) at its ACB and no gain will be immediately reportable.

On the other hand, parents may wish to give the vacation property to their kids. Doing so will result in an immediate capital gain if the property has gone up in value since the date of acquisition.

The best tax planning opportunity, of course, is to shelter the capital gain on the vacation home by using the principal residence exemption (PRE).

A principal residence can include your vacation property, even if it’s not where you primarily live during the year as long as you, your spouse/ common-law partner or your child ordinarily inhabit it at some point during the year.

Your cottage can be considered to be ordinarily inhabited by someone even if that person lives in that property for only a short period of time during the year (say, during the summer months) as long as the main reason for owning the property is not for the purpose of earning income.

Even if you occasionally rent it out, Canada Revenue Agency has stated that incidental rental income won’t prevent a cottage from qualifying as a principal residence.

Note that the home does not have to be located in Canada to qualify as a principal residence. The only requirement is that the individual who claims the PRE must be a resident of Canada for each year of claim.

For example, a U.S vacation property owned by a Canadian resident may be eligible for designation as a principal residence for the purposes of claiming the PRE. Of course, whether or not that’s advisable will depend on both the income and estate tax considerations of the other country.

In the good old days — that is, before 1982 — it was possible for each spouse (or partner) to own a property and designate it as his or her principal residence, with any resulting capital gains being tax free upon disposition.

Since then, a couple can only designate one property between them as their principal residence for any particular calendar year. This becomes a challenge when a couple owns more than one home and is forced to choose, upon ultimate sale of one property, which one will be designated the principal residence for each year during the period of multihome ownership.

As a result, a conscious decision needs to be made when you sell one of your personal residential properties as to whether that property should be designated your principal residence to shelter the capital gain from tax. Doing so will preclude you from using the PRE in the future on the sale of your other property, at least during the overlapping years.

Generally, the decision to claim the PRE when you sell your vacation property — as opposed to saving it for the disposition of, perhaps, your city home — will depend on a number of factors, including: the average annual gain on each property (the gain on each property divided by the number of years each was held), the potential for future increases or decreases in the value of the unsold property, and the anticipated holding period of the unsold property.

Non-economic factors may also come into play as you may be more concerned about a current, immediate tax liability today versus a tax liability payable later (say, upon death, by your estate) on the sale of your other property.

In the past, the CRA stated that you didn’t have to report the sale of your home or vacation property if the entire gain was exempt as a result of the PRE. But the rules were changed in 2016 to require you to report the disposition of a residence on Schedule 3, Capital Gains of your tax return to be eligible to claim the PRE.

This means that the gift, transfer or sale of your cottage, even if fully tax exempt, will now be on the CRA’s radar, should it choose to take a closer look at the transaction.

Bottom line? Be sure to keep good records of your ACB and, in the case of transfer or gift, it may be useful to have a proper appraisal of your cottage property handy as of the date of transfer/gift to help establish its fair market value should the CRA come knocking at your door.

© 2017 Financial Post,



Fight over nine-inch railings nails strata owners with big bill


Prolonged dispute starting with $30,000 in renos ballooned into $200,000 in costs

Ian Mulgrew
The Vancouver Sun

A strata dispute over about $30,000 in rooftop renovations has dragged through the courts and morphed into a bitter debate over $200,000 in legal and other costs.

The neighbour-versus-neighbour battle exemplifies why such squabbles were moved out of the courts last year and into the Civil Resolution Tribunal, which provides a ruling for about $250 in fees.

The owners of a Homer Street strata building lost at trial, lost in the court of appeal and now say they have been staggered by a demand for special costs.

Ken Waters, president of the 58-unit building, remains apoplectic about the drawn-out disagreement — he can’t believe the judgments and he’s incredulous at the claim.

He explained the strata has so far paid $23,600 with $8,800 pending for the roof renovations — about a $540 for each unit in the building — but that would jump to $3,333 a unit if another $196,000 for legal and other costs is incurred.

“He’s paying himself $110,000 — obviously, we were shocked by this,” Waters said brandishing the bill from the unit owner who took the strata council to court, Jack Frank, a lawyer.

“He states we acted reprehensibly. Basically, he’s bilking us for an unreal amount of money.”

The 2016 court decision said when Frank bought his unit in the 800 block of Homer it included an area designated as limited common property intended for air conditioning equipment but treated as a “roof deck.”

But Frank learned the parapets were 9.5 inches lower than required by the building code and, in 2005 or 2006, he asked to install railings to make up the difference.

The judgment says the strata initially told Frank OK, subject to city approval.

But planning progressed glacially and in Dec. 2012, when he finally asked for written consent, the strata refused.

“If you’ve seen the video, you can see why we believe it was self-evident that it was a service space for air conditioning,” Waters said.

In June 2013, Frank requested a city building inspection with a view to obtaining an order requiring the strata to upgrade the roof.

Instead, the city told Frank and the strata to stop using the roof except for equipment and maintenance.

In Feb. 2015, Frank suggested new plans to make the roof usable, insisting the strata was responsible for the cost under its “obligation to provide and maintain safe and secure common property.”

When the strata ignored him, Frank filed a petition seeking an order compelling it to pay for the design and installation of the safety guards.

Justice Barbara Fisher agreed with him.

“Since 2004, Mr. Frank used his roof deck for recreational purposes, as did the other top floor owners,” she wrote. “With the knowledge and consent of the strata corporation, he installed cement pavers and patio furniture. This area was important to him, as his suite has no other exterior balconies.”

Her decision was endorsed by the court of appeal.

Frank agreed the case was an example of what was wrong with the legislation that forced strata owners to litigate in Supreme Court — an exorbitant, inaccessible forum for most non-represented litigants.

But he said he could not comment further because of proceedings in the offing.

“There is something called special costs and this is where the conduct of the parties is reviewed to determine whether or not the conduct has been reprehensible and deserving of rebuke, which is the legal phrase that sits in behind special costs,” he explained.

“I am bringing an application essentially seeking a determination on that issue and I’m looking for full indemnification of my legal fees.”

His bill sent to the strata included a fee of $113,120 for 323.2 hours work and roughly $43,000 in disbursements — technical reports, drawings, photocopying, expert opinions. Taxes would add another about $17,000.

In an accompanying letter, Frank wrote: “This account does not include anything for damages arising from the loss of use. … Since I was unable to use the roof deck for a period of four years, damages are an additional $24,000.”

This case is an outlier in the sense that the average condo dispute in Supreme Court costs between $20,000 and $25,000 to resolve.

Still, such an exorbitant process discouraged many from pursuing a complaint and prodded the former Liberal government into creating the tribunal to provide cheaper justice.

Serious issues such as those involving underlying ownership still go to court, but strata-owners can now take their complaints about parking, pools, pets and noisy neighbours to a computer, tablet or cellphone.

“Oh, my goodness, wow!” said Shannon Salter, chair of the tribunal, when she heard about the costs in this case.

About 600 strata disputes have been filed with the tribunal over the last year, she said.

Most were resolved through the tribunal’s facilitation process, with only 56 so far requiring a tribunal decision.

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.



Stratas tax exempt when not generating profits


Exterior revenue sources may be taxable

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Do strata corporations pay income tax?

Our strata negotiated an agreement with a communications provider to lease our rooftop for $50,000 a year, plus 25 per cent of any sublease agreements it negotiates. We are in year three of a 10-year agreement, and just received a notice of assessment from CRA.

Our strata corporation also has a public parking area that is rented out to the public daily, weekly and monthly.

We were under the impression that we were tax exempt as a non-profit association and could not be taxed. If that is correct, how could we be taxed for this revenue? Has this ever occurred to other strata corporations? 

Sebastian R., strata council president  

Dear

Sebastian and council members:  

Strata corporations qualify as tax-exempt non-profit organizations, provided they are not generating revenues for profit.

The portion of a strata corporation revenues that are deemed to be non-taxable are strata fees, special levies, fines and penalties, and interest that may be earned on investments of contingency or special levy funds that are permitted by the act.

Since a residential condominium corporation is organized as a requirement of the Strata Property Act, and is normally not operated as a business, it will usually be considered to be nonprofit and operated for other than commercial or financial reasons.

All those conditions may change when a strata corporation chooses to create profit from exterior sources that are not exempt. Public signage revenues, public parking fees, marinas, golf courses and leases such as communications services may all be considered revenue and taxable. Yes, you may be required to pay tax on your revenues.   

Every condo/strata association in Canada is required to file an annual tax return and a director’s information form. For strata corporations that generate revenue other than the considered exemptions, CHOA always recommends the strata corporation have their tax prepared by a qualified, certified accountant who has experience with the classification and status of strata corporations.

If you do not owe taxes and have never filed a return, it is never too late. There have been no penalties imposed for strata corporations in B.C. that have voluntarily started filing and have no outstanding taxable income.

An excellent source of information is the CRA guide specifically for condo corporations in Canada. Go to https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html and search Income Tax Guide to the Non-Profit Organization (NPO) Information Return. Strata corporations generally file a T-2 short return and complete a 1044 form included with the guide. One thing you can be sure of, if CRA requires more information, it will be in touch! 

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.



Etoile 5345 Goring Street Burnaby 398 homes in two towers with 4 units per floor by Millennium Development Group


Etoile to shine on Burnaby?s skyline

Mary Frances Hill
The Province

It’s no wonder residential corner units are so coveted among homebuyers, considering all their possibilities. When only one wall is shared with a neighbour, two walls carry the potential for large windows, more natural light and great views.

An entire building of corner units sounds ideal — and that ideal becomes real at Etoile, Millennium Development Group’s highrise project in Burnaby’s Brentwood neighbourhood.

Adele Rankin offers some decor advice to those who purchase at Etoile: sit back in a low-profile chair and embrace the view in your corner unit.

“Ensure you keep your furniture low profiled and simple. Keeping the backs of chairs and sofas on the more modern and lower height, or scale, ensures that the first thing you are drawn to is the outside,” says Rankin, a principal of CHIL Design, who worked with Millennium on the project’s interiors.

“The furniture should really complement this scenario, not fight it, so keeping lines clean, embellishments minimal and [using] a more neutral palette allows the large corner patios to be the star.”
With Whole Foods on one side of Lougheed and a spacious shopping mall in the works on the Brentwood Town Centre site, the community is transforming into a transportation and shopping destination — a magnet for those who like urban conveniences nearby. With all their consumer and transit needs fully met, homeowners can look to their interiors for details and finishes that entice them to stay in and relax, away from the bustle.

CHIL Design used clean, sophisticated finishes to draw the eye to the bold, striated marble look in a bathroom’s shower area, and to the horizontal patterns of the grey backsplash in the kitchens. “In residential designs of this magnitude, you always look for where you can make the biggest impact and how that can be a fresh yet timeless look,” Rankin says.

“For us, the obvious choices are the kitchens and bathrooms, where you can provide a unique look through the largest surfaces, which tend to be the walls.”

CHIL’s award-winning design portfolio includes projects in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, to hotel brands such as Shangri-La, Hilton, Fairmont, Marriott, and Four Seasons. That exposure to the tastes and lifestyles in such diverse populations informs CHIL Design’s insights in every project, including Etoile, Rankin says.

“We have been very fortunate that our work and design has allowed us to travel and experience other countries and cultures. We absorb these influences, take the time to learn what is important to each region in which we work. We are able to understand different demographics quickly and what may be more important to some areas and not so much to others.”

Project: Etoile

Where: 5345 Goring St, Burnaby

What:  398 homes in a tower with four homes per floor; all corner units in a distinct clover-shaped construction

Residence sizes: Between one and three bedrooms, from 569 to 1,818 square feet; prices available on request

Developer and builder: Millennium Development Group

Sales centre: Unit B, 4247 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby

Hours: noon — 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs

Telephone604-828-1373

Website: http://etoileliving.com/

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.