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EDMONTON/NORTH                                               MAY 11, 2006 – VOL. 6, NO. 10                                                    NEWSSTAND $2

Hot market hurting home inspections
                                    A TOAST         TO    HEALTHY LIVING                                                    Rush to seal deal
                                                                                                                             can lead buyers
                                                                                                                              to cut corners
                                                                                                                            By Laura Severs
                                                                                                                            Business Edge

                                                                                                                                        s the housing market
                                                                                                                                        a c ross Canada grows
                                                                                                                                        hotter, some bu yers
                                                                                                                                        could get burned by
                                                                                                                            opting to bypass home inspec-
                                                                                                                            tions, industry officials say.
                                                                                                                               The trend is most prominent in
                                                                                                                            Alberta, Ontario and parts of B.C.
                                                                                                                            – all provinces experiencing a
                                                                                                                            high demand for homes and a low
                                                                                                                            supply of product.
                                                                                                                               While the Canadian Association
                                                                                                                            of Home and Property Inspectors
                                                                                                                            (CAHPI) calls a home inspection
                                                                                                                            “consumer protection at its best,”
                                                                                                                            it is not a mandatory part of a
                                                                                                                            home purchase.
                                                                                                                               “If there is no home inspection,
                                                                                                                            it’s buyer beware,” says CAHPI
                                                                                                                            national      president      Michael
                                                                                                                            Guihan. “If there are problems
                                                                                                                            after the fact, you have to prove an
                                                                                                                            intent to defraud or conceal on
                                                                                                                            the part of the vendor.”
                                                                                                                               Guihan, a certified home
                                                                                                                            inspector who operates out of
                                                                                                                            Newfoundland, says he has heard
                                                                                                                            some bankers have advised buyers
                                                                                                                            to get a home inspection, “but
                                                                                                                            that’s very rare. It’s not policy.
                                                                                                                            Most insurance companies are
                                                                                           Larry MacDougal, Business Edge
                                                                                                                            starting to recognize the benefits
                                                                                                                            of a home inspection in a report,

                 One-stop shopping experience                                                                               but they don’t require it.

                                                                                                                            See OFFERS                 Page 3
 Alberta real estate agent Roxanne Calver is setting the table for ecologically aware                                          Edmonton ISSN 1496-9726
 builders and consumers by promoting environmentally sustainable building materials
 and practices in her newly opened Calgary store (see Page 32). In this Special Report
 on Real Estate, Business Edge looks at several industry issues, including the risks and
                                                                                                Special Report
 rewards for owners who sell their own homes, pre-sale home inspections and how a
 TV home reno expert is on a mission to change industry standards.                               Real Estate
Page 2                                                                                                                                                                            May 11, 2006

                                                                                              Turn off the freshwater taps, think-tank urges
                                                                                         The Canadian Press                   new oilsands mines until the           The water used is no longer
        PUBLISHED BY                                                                                                          Alberta government figures out     fit for human consumption or
                                                  ALBERTA/B.C. EDITOR
      BUSINESS EDGE INC.                             LISA DEMPSTER                          An environmental think-tank       how much fre s h water the         agriculture.
                                                                                         in A l b e rta says energy compa-    industry should be able to take.       Canadian Association of
          SUITE 500,                                ONTARIO EDITOR                       nies are using huge volumes of         In 2005 alone, energy compa-     Petroleum Producers president
      525 11TH AVE. S.W.                             BRUCE WINNING                       freshwater to tap the oilsands,      nies tapped the Athabasca River    Pierre Alvarez says companies
      CALGARY T2R 0C9                                  CIRCULATION                       and it’s time they started to pay.   for more than twice the volume     a l ready pay for water through
        1.866.216.3343                               CO-ORDINATOR                        The Pembina Institute report         of water used annually by the      royalties collected by the
       FAX 403.264.4439                               JOHN DURAND                        also calls for a moratorium on       City of Calgary.                   Alberta government.
    1.866.216.3343, EXT 25                         ALEXIS D. SMOLENSK
                                                        CANADA POST
        NEWS TIPS                                       PM 40045817
    NEWS@BUSINESSEDGE.CA                                      RETURN
    SUBSCRIBE ONLINE AT:                              CANADIAN ADDRESSED
     WWW.BUSINESSEDGE.CA                                    MAIL TO:
                                                           SUITE 500,
          PUBLISHER                                   525 - 11TH AVE. S.W.
         ROB DRISCOLL                                  CALGARY, ALBERTA.
                                                           T2R OC9
       TERRY INIGO-JONES                                 SUBSCRIPTIONS@

                             INSIDE EDGE
■ 20 QUESTIONS                                is looking to improve
Stephen Suske of Chartwell                    conditions in the industry.
Seniors Housing REIT                                                Page 30
spotted a market window
starting to open in the 1990s.                ■ OPINIONS
                        Page 8                Canadian businesses aren’t
                                              taking full advantage of the
■ FINANCIAL EDGE                              Internet.
Corporate earnings move                                              Page 36
ahead, auguring well for equity
valuations, says Mal Spooner of               ■ FINANCIAL OPINION
Mavrix Fund Management.                       U.S. network jumps on
                       Page 18                commodities bandwagon.
                                                                  Page 36
Strong gold and copper                        ■ TECHNOLOGY EDGE
prospects has Gold Reserves                   Internet advertisers are
Inc. in good spirits.                         suffering from a bad case of
                      Page 22                 click fraud.
                                                                      Page 38
Event Spectrum Inc. has struck
gold with its attention to detail                        Correction
and innovation.                                  Gary Lunn is the federal
                       Page 24                 minister of natural resources.
                                               Incorrect information appear-
■ BUILDING THE FUTURE                          ed in an article on the Kyoto
Mike Holmes, the TV                            protocol in the April 27 edition
celebrity on Holmes on Homes,                  of Business Edge.

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OFFERS from Page 1

    It’s buyer beware if inspection bypassed
   “At this point in time, the                                         Calgary real estate boards have     home at the same time and             want this house, you buy it
only reason to do it (a home                                           recently noted that there are       certainly there will be some          now, as is.’ ”
inspection) is because someone                                         fewer homes available for sale      people who have not gotten               He adds that the home
wants it done,” says Guihan.        Special Report – Real Estate       in their respective cities when     the home inspection due to            inspection issue is not necessar-
   Richard Golumbia is a                                               compared to the previous year.      the activity in the market,” says     ily a problem in northern B.C.,
Calgary-area franchise holder                                             “If you’re desperate to buy a    Bill Sutherland, president of         the Okanagan or even Victoria.
and area manager for House-                 Residential                home and you’re moving here,        CAHPI (BC).                              “(But) in the Lower Main-
Master, a New Je rsey-based                                            and you’ve sold yours, buyers         What concerns Sutherland is         land, I understand, you have
c o m p a ny that offers home-     Edmonton, says HouseMaster          are doing whatever is necessary     the fact that some people are         half an hour to make up your
inspection services and home-      franchisee Terry Fikowski. “We      to get a home,” says Fikowski.      not even attempting to get a          mind.”
inspection franchises through-     tentatively book inspections for    “Buyers have to make their          home inspection.                         In Ontario, officials at Carson
out the U.S. and Canada.           people, but we are also having a    purchase decisions fairly quick-      “It’s not the lack of home          Dunlop Consulting Engineers
He says his home-inspection        lot of cancellations because        ly, if you wait a day and           inspectors,” he says, referring to    have also noticed a drop in the
business is down by about 30       they call the next morning and      don’t put in an offer you’re        bu ye rs who wa ive a home            number of home inspections by
per cent.                          say:‘We didn’t get that house,’ ”   probably going to have look for     inspection. “The market is hot        prospective buyers.
   “Basically, what bu ye rs are   says Fikowski, a certified home     a different house.                  and people are trying to make            “I don’t believe the houses
doing is paring down their         inspector.                             “It’s probably not wise to       offers that have no conditions        are flying off the market quite
offers to make them as clean as       “We’re still extremely busy,”    waive a home inspection, but        on them at all, or have a             as fast as they are in Calgary,”
possible,” says Golumbia, refer-   he adds. “I’ve talked to a few      this is something they have to      very short time to remove any         says Graham Clarke, vice-presi-
ring to the elimination of         buyers who waived the (home         decide themselves.”                 conditions.”                          dent, engineering for the
conditions, including a home       inspection) condition to get the       In B.C., a strong housing          Much depends on the area of         Toronto-based company that
inspection, on an offer to         house. I suspect we’ll probably     market across the Lower             the province and in some cases        performs home inspections
purchase.                          be getting some of those calls in   Mainland is causing a unique        the agents involved, Sutherland       and also trains home inspectors.
   He adds the real estate mar-    June, July or August (to do an      effect. Either you’ll find a num-   adds.“I think (some of) the real
ket is hotter than it was during   inspection after the fact).”        ber of home inspectors at one       estate agents are saying . . . ‘you   See INTEREST             Page 4
the late 1990s, when “it was a        F i kowski and Golumbia          property at the same time – to
similar situation with multiple    point to a shortage of houses on    get the inspection done as
offers, upbidding of the asking    the market as a main reason         quickly as possible – or you
price and the elimination of       w hy home inspections are           won’t find any at all.
conditions.”                       being waived.                          “From time to time, we will
   The situation isn’t as bad in      Both the Edmonton and            have multiple inspectors in a
Page 4                                                                                                                                                                    May 11, 2006

INTEREST from Page 3

   Pre-listing inspections                                                                                                      HOME INSPECTION TIPS
                                                                                                                        The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors
                                                                                                                     (CAHPI) suggests that home buyers protect themselves by calling

  give some vendors edge                                                                                             several inspectors in advance to find out their qualifications.
                                                                                                                        Here are some questions to ask:
                                                                                                                     ■ To what professional associations does the inspector belong?
                                                                                                                     ■ Is the inspector a member of one of the provincial/regional
                                                                                                                     organizations of CAHPI?
   “The real estate market seems
                                                                                                                     ■ Does the inspector supply a written report?
a little bit slower than it was last                                                                                 ■ How long has the inspector been in business as a home-
year, but once a house is on the                                                                                     inspection firm?
market it does seem to generate                                                                                      ■ Is the inspector specifically experienced in residential
a lot of interest.”                                                                                                  construction?
   Carson Dunlop is now plac-                                                                                        ■ Does the company offer to do any repairs or improvements
ing a larger emphasis on pre-                                                                                        based on its inspection? CAHPI says this might cause a conflict
listing home inspections, where                                                                                      of interest.
the house is examined on                                                                                             ■ How long will the inspection take? CAHPI points out that the
behalf of a vendor before it hits                                                                                    average time for a home inspection is 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours, and
the market.                                                                                                          that anything less isn’t enough time to do a thorough inspection.
   “This allows the vendor a                                                                                         ■ How much will the inspection cost?
f ew options,” says Clarke.                                                                                          ■ Does the inspector encourage the client to attend the
“They may choose to take any                                                                                         inspection? This is a valuable educational opportunity and an
defects that are found and have                                                                                      inspector’s refusal should raise a red flag, CAHPI claims.
                                                                                                                     ■ Does the inspector participate in continuing education pro-
them corrected before the
                                                                                                                     grams to keep his/her expertise up to date?
house goes on the market, or
                                                                                                                                                                – Source: The Canadian
they can simply make the home                                                                                                                                       Association of Home
inspection report available to                                                                                                                                   and Property Inspectors
a nybody interested in the
   “Even if there are defects in
the home, the house is going to
sell more quickly if the infor-
mation is known up front, and
this actually encourages people                                                         Jack Dagley, Business Edge
to go in with a clean offer with       Certified Edmonton home inspector Terry Fikowski has seen a
no conditions.”                        rise in inspection cancellations in a hot housing market.
   Several years ago, pre-listing
inspections accounted for less                                                 be modelling their licensing
than five per cent of Carson                                                   requirements on these estab-
Dunlop’s business. Now, it rep-                                                lished national standards,” he
resents about 20 per cent of the        Special Report – Real Estate           says. “The response from every
inspections done.“It’s only over                                               provincial government we’ve
the last year we’ve gotten
serious about it,” says Clarke.
                                                Residential                    been talking to has been
                                                                               extremely good.”
   Meanwhile, a national stan-                                                    Still, even with national
dard to create and certify home        is going through the process,”          standards, Guihan emphasizes
inspectors is about to be              says Guihan.                            that home inspectors are only
introduced.                               But Guihan is hopeful that           human.“We’re not God. I don’t
   CAHPI is in the process of          talks CAHPI has had with the            have x-ray vision. I don’t have
implementing the vo l u n t a ry       provinces will mean there will          crystal ball, but I’m going to do
program and will be ready to           still be one national standard,         my best,” says Guihan. “As a
start the certification process        and any additional regulations          home inspector I have a
this fall.                             will only push the bar higher.          responsibility to my client to be
   “We’ve created a baseline, a           “They are awa re of the              honest, thorough and realistic.”
minimum national standard for          national standards (we’re intro-           (Laura Severs can be reached at
home inspectors and it’s the           ducing) and hopefully they’ll           laura@businessedge.ca)
highest in the world,” s ay s
                                           “PROFITS THAT LIE HIDDEN
   “We’ve created (the designa-
tion of) National Certificate                IN YOUR BUSINESS...”
Holder.You do not have to be
a member CAHPI or any                     Every year companies lose millions of potential revenue
CAHPI provincial association,               because they can’t be found on search engines like
but CAHPI is the certifying                             Google, Yahoo and MSN.
authority. If you prove compe-
tency and meet the require-               3 BIGGEST REASONS WHY WEBSITES FAIL ONLINE
ments, you will be issued a              1. Poor Navigation - Designing a website for your needs not the
certificate and enter into a                visitor’s needs.
                                         2. No Search Engine Optimization - Major Search Engine’s
legally binding agreement with
                                            specific criteria require a website to be built properly for it to
CAHPI to perform according                  rank high.
to CAHPI standards.”                     3. Too Much Design - Using design that gets in the way of the
   Certificate holders will be              search engines reading your site content and ranking it at the
able to work in any province or             top as you promote your company, product, or service.
territory and will need to be
re - c e rtified every five years.          We have helped hundreds of companies like yours
However, three provinces,                 achieve Top Rankings for their biggest industry related
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home inspectors.
   “Alberta wants to license                                                        Broadwave Studios Inc.
home inspectors, the province                                                                  403-229-1191
of Quebec anticipates licensing                                                       www.broadwavestudios.com
before end of this year and B.C.
May 11, 2006                                                                                                                                                            Page 5

Home-improvement market keeps building
                                                                     Depot operated 138 stores in         “Independent stores have               “It is almost inevitable,” says
 Lowe’s follows                                                      Canada with annual sales of        been hurt by the big-box              RONA spokesman Sylva i n
                                                                     $5.5 billion.                      stores. But there is still a market   Mori s s e t t e. “Succession is a
  Home Depot;                        Special Report – Real Estate      The company opened its first     for them – on the arterial            big problem. It is difficult to
                                                                     Canadian store in Toronto in       roads,” he says. “It’s a frag-        find someone to manage the
  plans 6 to 10                             Renovation               1994. Its new stores will          mented market that is still           business.”
                                                                     include nine in Ontario, four in   changing.”                               When RONA was research-
 Toronto stores                                                      British Columbia, t h ree in                     i
                                                                                                          Despite W n t e r ’s optimism       ing the Canadian home-
                                    from its dominant position in    Alberta and one each in New        about the continued viability of      i m p rovement market several
By Charles Wyatt                    the Canadian home-improve-       Brunswick and Quebec.              the independent hardware store        years ago, it discovered that 60
Business Edge                       ment market, Winter say s .        Home Depot’s arrival turned      owner, Boucherv i l l e, Que.-        per cent of independents were
                                    “Lowe’s is going to have a big   Canada’s home-improve m e n t      based RONA predicts the               ready to sell their stores because
          ith Canadians continu-    challenge to match the network   and hard ware market upside        number of independent stores          they couldn’t find anyone to
W         ing to spend re c o rd
amounts on fixing and improv-
                                    Home Depot has been able to
                                    build in the last decade.”
                                                                     down, Winter says, because
                                                                     there was far less competition
                                                                                                        in Canada will fall by 30 to 40
                                                                                                        per cent within the next 10
                                                                                                                                              manage their business.

ing their homes and gardens, a         In 2005,Atlanta-based Home    here than in the U.S.              years.                                See STORES               Page 6
battle is raging among the big-
box stores operated by Atlanta-
based Home Depot, Quebec-
based RONA and thousands of
independent hard wa re store s
for the more than $40 billion in
annual sales.
   “The market is very strong,”
says retail analyst John Winter
of John Winter and Associates
in Toronto. “Canadian home
improvement is a huge market
that has been recognized by the
big-box stores in the U.S.”
   Home Depot Canada, the
country’s largest big box-store
operator, announced this
month it plans to open 18 more
stores in 2006. RONA will
build another 40 stores across
Canada in 2006 and 2007.
Another major U.S. operator,
Lowe’s, plans to enter the
Canadian market next year.
   “I have no doubt that the
big-box stores will continu e
their strong growth,” Winter
says. He adds that the struggle
for market share is driven by
steadily increasing annu a l
growth in home-improvement
retail sales across Canada.
   This ye a r, Canadians are
expected to spend more
than $43.6 billion on renovat-
ing their homes, a 7.1-per-
cent increase from last year,
a c c o rding to the Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corp.
   Spending at home centres
and hardware stores jumped 71
per cent between 2001 and
2005, a c c o rding to Statistics
Canada. Last year, spending on
specialized building materials
and garden stores – a mainstay
of the home-improvement
market – rose by 15 per cent.
   The steadily increasing sales
in the Canadian market con-
vinced Lowe’s, which is based
in Moors ev i l l e, N. C. , to
announce it will open six to 10
stores in Toronto in 2007.
   In the United States, Lowe’s
is the second-largest home-
improvement business with
annual revenue of $43.2 billion
US and 1,225 stores.
   The company ’s long-term
plans potentially include as
many as 100 stores in Canada,
a c c o rding to the company ’s
   But Lowe’s will not be able to
easily dislodge Home Depot
Page 6                                                                                                                                                                May 11, 2006

STORES from Page 5

Home Hardware unfazed by big-box competitors
   “They’ll also find it harder       franchised, affiliated and corpo-     “Home Hard wa re provides           year, with furniture sales alone   warehouse,” Strauss says. “There
and harder to maintain their          rate stores of various sizes under    quality goods at competitive        increasing 34 per cent.            is no need to have 60 types of
profitability in the face of stiff    the RONA brand, Morissette            prices and services to our             Last year, Home Hardware        hammers unless they serve a
competition and incre a s i n g l y   says.                                 members.We have more home-          spent $75 million expanding        market that needs 60 hammers .”
demanding              customers,”       He adds that the acquisitions      improvement outlets than            its distribution centres in           Winter agrees with Strauss
Morissette says.                      added $2 billion in sales and         anyone else in Canada.”             Ontario and Alberta, as well       about the role of independents,
   Morissette predicts the            took retail sales from $1.3              Home Hardware sales were         as opening 13 new stores           although he also believes the
home-improvement            marke t   billion in 2000 to more than $5       more than $4.3 billion last year,   and starting expansions at         big boxes will continue to chip
will follow the same pattern          billion in 2005.                      Strauss says. He adds that in the   50 other store locations.          away at them.
that occurred in the food indus-         Morissette’s prediction about      first three months of 2006, sales      “Every dealer can use our          (Charles Wyatt can be reached at
try 10 years ago with the major-      the demise of the independents        were up 11 per cent over last       distri bution centre as their      wyatt@businessedge.ca)
ity of retail sales concentrated      doesn’t faze Paul Strauss, vice-
by a few large companies and          president and CEO of Home
far fewer independent stores.         Hardware, the 1,019 independ-
   Curre n t l y, there are about     ent dealer-owned co-operative
5,000 independent hard wa re          based in St. Jacob’s, Ont.
stores in Canada, representing           “I don’t know where they get
about 50 per cent of the mar-         their nu m b e rs,” Strauss say s ,
ket, he says.                         adding that the company’s net-
   RONA, which moved into             work of stores will remain as
the Ontario market in the             strong as ever.
1990s, accelerated the consoli-          “There have always been big
dation of the home-improve-           boxes. Home Hardware grew in
ment market with the acquisi-         response to the first big boxes
tion of Cashway Building              in Canada – Kmart and
C e n t re s , along with adding      Towers.”
Revy and Revelstoke brands in            “It (Home Hardware) started
Western Canada, Lansing in            because large corporate stores
Ontario, Reno-Depot in                were seen as a threat to the
Quebec, and Totem Building            smaller independents. T h e re
Supplies in Alberta.                  was concern the large stores
   The company expects to add         were going to put the inde-
20 stores in 2006 and another         pendents out of business.”
20 in 2007.                              Strauss says the company’s
   T h e re are more than 600         strategy remains unchanged.
May 11, 2006   Page 7
Page 8                                                                                                                                                             May 11, 2006

                                                                            20 QUESTIONS

         Housing needs driving seniors’ REIT
  By Gyle Konotopetz
  Business Edge

        f Canada’s seniors housing

  I     entrepreneurs had an annual
        meeting, they could probably
        hold it in a phone booth.
     And that suits entrepreneur Stephen
  Suske just fine.
     The crafty real estate veteran began
  to gravitate toward the fragmented
  seniors housing market in the early
  1990s when he recognized that the
  industry in Canada was populated by
  very few big-time entrepreneurs and
  many small-time mom-and-pop
     And Suske, vice-chairman and
  president of Chartwell Seniors
  Housing Real Estate Investment Trust
  (REIT), has certainly made the most
  of that window of opportunity in a
  thriving industry. Since founding the
  Chartwell Seniors Housing REIT in
  2003, Suske’s visionary leadership has
  spurred explosive growth in the
  organization, which has more than
  doubled its operations in North
  America in a span of two and a half
  years, giving it a market capitalization
  of about $680 million.
     Revenue in 2005 was $224.6                                                                                                                 Brennan O’Connor, Business Edge
  million, a 63-per-cent increase from
                                              Stephen Suske has the company poised to continue its growth with $625 million earmarked for investment this year.
  2004’s $137.8 million.That still leaves
  it behind industry leader Retirement                                                     our lead (investor) and we went            capabilities and waiting lists. And
  Residences REIT, which has a market                                                      public in November of 2003.We              we’re also continuing strong growth
  cap of about $916 million and                                                            raised $253 million.The share price        in the third-party management busi-
  revenue of $1.071 billion in 2005 and                                                    started at $10 and we’re now trading       ness, because we believe that’s very
  $1.018 billion in 2004.                                                                  at about $14. It’s been good for           much a pipeline for new acquisitions
     But Chartwell, now Canada’s                 Special Report – Real Estate              investors and good for us, and we’ve       and development opportunities.”
  second-largest owner and operator in                                                     been able to grow the business             6. What kind of growth are you
  the seniors housing sector, is poised to
  continue its dynamic growth with
                                                         Seniors Housing                   accretively.”
                                                                                           4. How has the seniors housing
                                                                                                                                      anticipating in the next five to 10
  $625 million earmarked this year for                                                     industry changed since you                    “When we did the IPO (initial
  investment. In one fell swoop recent-       to society and to Canada. I liked the        became involved?                           public offering) in ’03, we had 10,445
  ly, Chartwell announced $316 million        service component of the business, I            “The big change is that when I first    suites and now we have 23,000.That’s
  in acquisitions and development             liked the fact that it was business and      got involved, smaller one-bedrooms         not a bad run – we’ve doubled our
  projects in Canada and the U.S. that        I liked the fact that the business was       (suites) and studios were the norm.        size in two and a half years.”
  will swell its property portfolio by        essentially unsophisticated. So there        Now, that’s completely changed.            7. So how long do you expect it
  3,387 suites.                               were a lot of opportunities for bright,      Families and residents are looking for     will be before you double your
     That’s a giant step in a seniors         young guys – like the guys I’ve col-         larger one-bedrooms and larger two-        size again?
  housing industry known for baby             lected to work with me to grow the           bedrooms with elaborate common                “Well, we’re opportunistic. One of
  steps.                                      business. Philosophically,                   areas, wellness programs, Internet cafes   the things that is happening in this
     Which suits Stephen Suske just           it was the way I viewed the world –          and vibrant social activity programs.      business is that the top 10 guys (sen-
  fine.                                       I believe we’re in the business of           Demand is growing and it’s a real          iors housing companies) in Canada
                                              looking after people’s Moms and              challenge keeping up with the supply.      have only 23 per cent of the market
  1. What career did you aspire to            Dads and that’s first and foremost.          There’s a requirement for 11,000           share, which means the other 77
  as a youngster?                             We’re passionate about that here, and        new beds in Canada across the full         per cent are owned by ma-and-pa
     “I’ve always been kind of                at the same time it’s a business and         spectrum of (seniors) care across the      operations. Being a public company
  entrepreneurial, so I always knew           we’re running it like a business.”           whole country every year until 2021.       allows us to consolidate a fragmented
  business was where I should have            3. Why did you take Chartwell                Then, it is like a hockey stick (chart).   market, so there are all kinds of
  been. It was in the family. My father       Care Corp. public as a real estate           Then it takes off. Just to keep up with    opportunities. Plus, there’s the
  worked his way up from an office boy        investment trust in 2003?                    the demand, there’s a requirement for      growth in the market because of
  to executive vice-president of a               “The problem in seniors housing is        a hundred new facilities every year in     the demographics.”
  trucking company.”                          that it is very capital intensive and        Canada.The need for seniors housing        8. What’s your company’s level of
  2. How did you get started in the           there was also something happening           is just growing phenomenally.”             interest in Retirement Residences
  senior housing industry?                    in real estate in the 1990s that was         5. What’s your current growth              REIT, which is on the market?
     “I got involved with an individual       called a securitization of real estate. In   strategy to meet that demand?                 “We’re evaluating whether or not
  who was trying to buy Erin Mills            other words, real estate companies              “We have four growth engines.           we will put in a bid. It’s got to be
  Lodge in Mississauga, and I took a          were going public to get aligned with        We’re growing through acquisitions         accretive to our unitholders. It’s got to
  position in the deal in 1992. Before        capital. So we made the decision that        in both Canada and the United              be a situation where ‘one-plus-one-
  long I bought another home, and             we had to become a seniors housing           States.We have this relationship           equals-four’ type of thing. We’re still
  once I got into that business, I said,      REIT if we were going to grow. So I          with Spectrum (Seniors Housing             going through the numbers.”
  ‘Jeez, I like this business.’ I enjoy the   started talking to a couple of my            Development Corp.), which is               9. Extendicare has also attracted
  fact that we’re actually in the warmth      competitors and convinced them that          working on about 20 to 22 new              interest as a takeover target. Does
  and caring business. And that goes          we could put our properties together.        facilities every year across the           that interest you?
  back to my BA-in-philosophy thing           We put together a program, we got            country.We’re growing internally
  and the idea of making a contribution       RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) to be             through facilities that have expansion     See 20 QUESTIONS               Page 10
May 11, 2006   Page 9
Page 10                                                                                                                                                               May 11, 2006

20 QUESTIONS from Page 8

 Company aims to be top-notch employer
   “No, we’re not interested in
them.We’re more heavily                                 STEPHEN SUSKE                                       CHARTWELL SENIORS HOUSING REIT
weighted to the light-care end
                                     ■ Titles: President, vice-chairman, Chartwell Seniors Housing          ■ Profile: Chartwell is an investment trust that is the second-
of the market and they’re
                                     Real Estate Investment Trust; chairman, Spectrum Seniors               largest owner and operator in the Canadian seniors housing
clearly at the heavier-care end
                                     Housing Development Corp.                                              sector. The company has more than 23,000 seniors housing
of the market.We’re into             ■ Born/Raised/Age: Woodstock, Ont./55.                                 suites owned, managed or under development in North America.
seniors apartments, light-care       ■ Education: University of Western Ontario, MBA, BA                    ■ Key Stats: Chartwell recently announced investments of $316
retirement homes and full-care       (philosophy).                                                          million in acquisitions and development projects in Canada and
retirement homes but we’re           ■ Career: Suske has been involved in the seniors housing               the U.S. that will boost its portfolio of properties by 3,387 suites. It
not as heavily into assisted liv-    industry since 1992. In 2003, he founded Chartwell Seniors REIT.       plans to invest $625 million in the seniors housing market in 2006.
ing and long-term care homes         He began his entrepreneurial career in real estate investment          ■ Key Partners: Chartwell has an exclusive option to purchase
because, from a demographic          finance in 1979 with Halcion Holdings, after serving as an             facilities from Spectrum Seniors Houston Development, Canada’s
point of view, the wave of the       executive assistant to cabinet minister Bud Cullen in the Liberal      largest seniors housing development company, and has a joint-
Baby Boomers will first hit          government from 1977 to 1979.                                          venture partnership with ING Real Estate Australia in its U.S.
seniors housing and light-care       ■ Wedding bells: Suske will be married in June and honeymoon           operations.
retirement homes.The margins         in Italy.                                                              ■ Unit Price (TSX:CSH.UN): $13.85 (52-week range,
                                     ■ Pastime: Reading.                                                    $13.42-$16.35).
are better (in seniors housing
                                     ■ Favourite book: A Man For All Seasons.                               ■ Website: www.chartwellreit.ca
and light-care retirement
                                     ■ Drives to work in: 2006 Cadillac.                                    ■ Head Office: 100 Milverton Drive, Suite 700, Mississauga, Ont.
homes) and, quite frankly, it’s a
                                                                                                            L5R 4H1.
bigger market.”                                                                                             ■ Phone/Fax: 905-501-9219/501-0813.
10. What’s your main goal                                              for the business. But I think
in building your company?                                              the bad ones are getting
   “We’re working hard at                                              swallowed up and really             make sure that seniors are            about seniors housing in this
becoming the best. In three                                            professional managers like          getting the best care.”               country – (this issue of) where
years, we want to be one of
                                     Special Report – Real Estate      Chartwell are doing more and        15. Is there enough                   all the poor people are going
Canada’s best employers.That’s                                         more. It’s a business, but at the   affordable housing for                to stay.
principally our goal, because             Seniors Housing              same time you’re looking after      seniors in Canada?
we believe that the manager                                            the elderly. So you’ve always         “That’s one of the sad things        See SOCIETY               Page 11
on our team in each one of                                             got to be mindful of that.This
our homes has to be the best        got $625 million in our model      is not financial engineering.”
in the business.We fundamen-        (for 2006 investments).This        14. What does Chartwell do
tally believe that if you’ve got    deal we recently announced         to ensure that residents are
good staff in the field, they’re    (to acquire interests in new       in a safe and comfortable
going to make the residents         facilities in Canada and the       environment?
and their families very happy.      U.S. and expand existing              “I go back again to the
And that will, by word of           facilities) will get us half-way   people we hire who are
mouth, keep your homes full         there. It’s a long-term play.The   philosophically on the same
and that will result in happy       best thing about this REIT is      page as us, who understand it’s
unitholders. Do we want to be       that nine per cent of the          a real calling to be servicing
the biggest? I wouldn’t say         REIT is owned by manage-           seniors and their families. We
that. But we want to be the         ment. And that’s all we own,       have all the processes, proce-
best, that’s for sure.”             except our houses. So our          dures and all the policies and
11. Are you a bit perplexed         skin’s in the game.”               everything you can imagine to
by the performance of the           12. What’s the biggest
units (which are down               challenge for the seniors
about 13 per cent year to           housing industry in
date)?                              Canada?
   “No, we’re not because there        “Keeping up with demand.
are good reasons.We have a          But the biggest challenge that
huge acquisition pipeline           we have is attracting and
coming out, so we think             retaining great people to
there’s a real buying               manage our homes. Interest
opportunity.We did this raise       rates may go up and down,
of $185 million and in order        and construction costs may
to do that you have to give         go up and down. But at the
investors a discount on the         end of the day, it’s those great
value.We did $1.07 last year in     managers that you need in
distributable income.The street     seniors housing that make the
is saying that we’re going to do    difference.”
$1.17 this year, so that’s pretty   13. What’s your view of
significant growth. And the         the care the elderly are
management feels confident          receiving in Canada?
that we’re going to do that.           “I think there have been
How are we going to do that?        some of these ma-and-pa
Through acquisitions.We’ve          operators that have been bad

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SOCIETY from Page 10

     Management style focused on collaboration
   “To be honest with you, many of        ideas and coming to a                                board, and any of the acquisitions                       “Well, I’m 55 and I think I’ve got
our homes are for the mid to higher       situation that’s a win-win                           we’ve made are all approved by the                    another 10 years to go. I know that we
(range).That’s going to be a real         for everybody.That’s my strength.”                   independent directors. So I think that                have a lot of great young guys here
challenge for society.”                   18. What kind of corporate                           Chartwell’s got great governance. I                   who I do a lot of mentoring with, and
16. What’s your opinion about the         governance do you strive for?                        further think that Bill 198 (Canada’s                 I think the company will be well
state of the real estate market and          “No. 1, Chartwell REIT is a post-                 corporate governance regulations) that                served by them. But I’m not going
talk of a bubble?                         Enron company. So therefore our                      everybody’s complaining about just                    anywhere soon.”
   “That’s why I like our business.       corporate governance and the way we                  makes you better, too. I think we’re                  20. What’s the driving force that
There’s lots of people getting older      set up the REIT in 2003 is very                      a buttoned-down company that is                       gets you up in the morning to
every day, right? So there’s this         modern, very up to date and very                     complying with all the Bill 198                       come to work?
demographic thing.The reason why          good when it comes to corporate                      stuff and I think we have corporate                      “I just absolutely love what I do.
there is a bubble is because there’s no   governance. All the decisions about the              governance that is second to none in                  We’ve created a great company, and I
inflation in the system. Interest rates   company, the direction of the company                the REIT world.”                                      love it.”
remained historically low and that’s      and the strategic plan for the company               19. How do you see your role                             (Gyle Konotopetz can be reached at
good for real estate. So do I think the   is all approved by an independent                    evolving in the company?                              gyle@businessedge.ca)
bubble is going to burst? I
don’t think so. But that’s one
man’s view. I think inflation is
deader than a
doornail in this country.”
17. What style of leadership
has worked for you?
   “I tend to be a collaborator,
bringing people together,
sitting down, hashing through

  trusts keep
Business Edge

   Canadian income trust activ-
ity in 2005 topped the previous
year despite a tax-ruling hiccup
last fall, says an Ernst & Young
   That growth can be expect-
ed to continue through 2006,
says Accelerating Growth, Ernst &
Young’s third annual re p o rt
on initial public offerings
   Despite Ottawa’s decision in
September to stop issuing
advance tax rulings to compa-
nies seeking to convert to
income trusts, IPO activity in
the preceding months was
enough to carry the market
to $6.4 billion in 2005, fuelled
largely by economic factors
such as low interest rates
and strong commodity prices,
said Joe Telebar of Ernst &
   “By the end of March this
year, the total capital raised
t h rough IPOs in Canada
already exceeded $1.9 billion,
of which over 60 per cent rep-
resented income trust IPOs,”
said Telebar. “Market sentiment
for the sector is positive, show-
ing a high demand for IPOs
by companies with solid fun-
   The report combined data                                                             Not only do we re g row two trees for every one
f rom professional services               harvested, we ensure fish and wildlife living in and along creeks and rivers are undisturbed
provider Ernst & Young and                in their natural h a b i t a t.We accomplish this in many ways. S t re a m crossings are constructed.
Thomson Financial with the                Culverts are installed. Bridges are built. And life goes on. www.albert a fo re s t p ro d u c t s . c a
views of representatives from
recent IPOs, investment banks
and stock exchanges around
the world.
Page 12                                                                                                                                                               May 11, 2006

 Ongoing labour shortfall worries industry
By Frank Armstrong                                                         an amnesty plan introduced by      Sector Council (CSC), says he        and that their skills are indeed
Business Edge                                                              the previous Liberal govern-       is worried that the CCA will         needed here, Gritziotis says.
                                                                           ment. They warned the depor-       focus too much of its lobbying          “Let’s not just do this blanket
        he organization represent-       Special Report – Real Estate      tations could heavily damage       efforts on getting Ottawa to         supply-side thing where we
T       ing Canada’s construction                                          the country’s booming con-         change the points system.            bring lots of immigrant work-
industry wants Ottawa to retool
its immigration points system                   Construction               struction industry, which repre-
                                                                           sents 9.5 per cent of Canada’s
                                                                                                                 “Let’s not put all our eggs in
                                                                                                              one basket,” he says. “I know
                                                                                                                                                   ers in,” he says. “Let’s target the
                                                                                                                                                   jobs that we bring them into
to favour immigrants with con-                                             total gross domestic product,      that net growth in the work-         and let’s make sure we ensure
struction skills to prevent a           the points system was changed      according to figures from the      force is going to come from          we’re looking at other solutions
looming and potentially debili-         several years ago because it too   Greater      To ronto     Home     abroad, but satisfying the skilled   at the same time.”
tating shortage of skilled and          heavily favoured people with       Builders’ Association.             needs of the industry through           The council conducted a
unskilled labourers.                    university educations.                Alboim says one of the main     immigrant workers is just part       study in 2004 that assessed for-
   Traditionally wholly support-           Nonetheless,Alboim says that    reasons Canada faces a skilled-    of the solution.”                    eign-trained worker credentials
ive of grooming the domestic            a sector-specific component        trades shortage is because of a       The national organization         in the construction industry. It
wo r k f o rce from within, the         should be created to help legal    lack of intelligence gathering.    recently launched a national         revealed a number of barriers in
Canadian Construction Assoc-            entry for those people who            “We’re quite terri ble as a     skilled trades forecasting system    the Canadian construction
iation (CCA) has changed tac-           don’t meet the criteria of the     country at forecasting skill       to anticipate what tradespeople      industry for foreign-trained
tics as acknowledgment that             points system.                     shortages, which is one of the     will be re q u i red, as well as     workers, including:
domestic worke rs can’t fill all the       “Part of the problem with the   reasons we get into this type of   when and where. The main             ■ Little co-ordination between
trades positions that are required      undocumented workers in the        difficulty from time to time,”     mission of the CSC, which was        the many players in a complex
by industry, says Jeff Morrison,        construction industry is that      says Alboim.                       established in 2001, is to address   system where there’s little inter-
the group’s director of govern-         people have come in to satisfy a      A case in point was during      construction industry human          action between industry and
mental and public affa i rs .           particular need and the door       the technology boom, when          resources issues through part-       g overnment on immigration
   “An immigrant with a BA              has been closed, so they’ve        Canada trained and brought in      nerships within the industry.        and credential issues. That
in philosophy has a better              come in through the windows        too many information technol-         If more immigrant worke rs        makes the process difficult to
chance of getting into Canada           instead of through the doors,”     ogy specialists.                   are going to be brought into the     understand and navigate.
than a guy with poor language           she says. “There’s probably a         George Gritziotis, executive    country, Canada needs to know
skills but who has decades              good rationale to establish a      director of the Construction       where their skills are required      See LABOUR              Page 13
of construction experience,”            program that allows them to
Morrison says.                          come in from overseas.”
   The CCA is collecting infor-            Alberta and Manitoba have
mation from industry and                already taken such steps. They
beginning discussions with the          h ave entered an agre e m e n t
federal government about some           with the federal government
of the steps that must be taken         that allows them to develop cri-
to ensure the country has               teria based on labour market
enough skilled workers to meet          and employer needs to bring in
building and construction               skilled labourers whose trades
needs.                                  are in real demand but who
   “I think it’s safe to say one        may not fill all the criteria
of those steps we’re going              under the points systems.
to pursue is a change to                   “A huge number of people
the points system . . . to put          don’t come in that way, but it’s
more points towards demon-              expanding,” Alboim says. It has
strable skillsets in construction,”     been estimated that as many as
Morrison says.                          300,000 illegal immigrants are
   The CCA also will urge               working in this country.
Ottawa to expand its programs              Immigration lawyers and
that bring in workers for short         consultants expressed publ i c
periods of time.                        outrage last month that illegal
   Canada’s skilled-trades short-       workers are being deported as
age is expected to reach critical       the new Conservative govern-
proportions in 2011 when it’s           ment began taking steps to drop
forecast that the country will
require immigrants to fuel all of
its net labour force growth.
   A number of provinces are
a l ready feeling the crunch,
Morrison           says, especially
Alberta because of oilsands
development and the Vancouver
area, where pre-Olympics con-
s t ruction is booming.
   The most visible example
was when the Va n c o u ve r
Organizing Committee recent-
ly announced it needed anoth-
er $120 million in government
funding because of cost over-
runs on 2010 Winter Olympics
p ro j e c t s . The overruns, s ay s
Morrison, were due entirely to
labour shortages.
   Western Canada isn’t the
only part of the country that’s
feeling the crunch. Because it’s
drawing labourers from the rest
of Canada, other provinces also
are suffering, Morrison says.
   Naomi Alboim, a professor at
Queen’s University School of
Policy Studies, points out that
May 11, 2006                                                                                                                                                           Page 13

LABOUR from Page 12

 Young Aboriginals potential factor in labour supply
■ No close co-operation                                                  Canada’s home-grown labour          growing cohort of youth in our   in particular that we make
between industry and govern-                                             force must not be ignore d ,        labour force today, so we have   sure we address the need of
ment in the apprenticeship sys-                                          especially since Canada wants       to be very thoughtful and sen-   bringing Canadian youth into
tem when it comes to issues
related to immigrants, foreign
                                      Special Report – Real Estate       its young people to find trades
                                                                         jobs when they enter the work-
                                                                                                             sitive in how we do this,” he
                                                                                                                                              this industry with the same
                                                                                                                                              kind of fervour and resources as
c redentials and experience                                              force.                                 “Let’s make sure we don’t     well,” Gritziotis says.
recognition.                                 Construction                   “We also have Aboriginal         compromise other supply-side        (Frank Armstrong can be reached
■ Little information about the                                           youth, which still is the fastest   solutions for the industry and   at armstrong@businessedge.ca)
trades available to tradespeople     that allows the province to
who are considering immigrat-        assess the skill levels of people
ing to Canada.                       and put them into appropriate
■ No organized method to             training programs for entry into
rev i ew trades credentials as       jobs.
there is for regulated profes-          The council is also working
sions.                               with each province’s appren-
■ Lack of language skills, affect-   ticeship authority to examine
ing foreign workers’ capacity to     the assessment tools being used
become certified in the trades.      in each province so that a
   The council has begun to          national assessment tool can be
address some of these problems.      developed and rolled out across
One such measure is the cre-         the country. Language training
ation of a pilot project with the    and culturalization also are
British Columbia Construction        being discussed.
Association that provides job           Gritziotis concedes that
coaches to immigrant workers.        changes to the points system
It also has an assessment tool       should be examined, but says
Page 14                                                                                                May 11, 2006

 Veteran named
  to CFO post                                                          AN AD ULT P LANNE D COMMUNITY

at energy junior
Business Edge
                                        MOVING ON
  COSTA Energy Inc.
(TSXV:COE) of Calgary has          and gas company with its head
appointed David Campbell           office in Calgary.
as chief financial officer.The                 ■ ■ ■
company says Campbell has            Triton Energy Corp.
more than two decades of           (TSXV:TEZ) says Keith
experience in senior financial     Innes,VP of engineering and
and accounting positions.          operations, will be leaving
  COSTA, formerly Kelso            Triton on May 31 to pursue
Energy Inc., is a junior oil and   other business opportunities.
gas company with operations          Calgary-based Triton
in the Western Canadian            explores for and develops oil
Sedimentary Basin.                 and natural gas deposits.
           ■ ■ ■                               ■ ■ ■
  Fair Sky (TSXV:FSK) has            Antonio Sansotta has
added Joseph Dow, Martin           become COO for Tallagium
Quinn and David Holmes             Corp. (TSXV:TAA) of
to its management team as          Calgary. Sansotta remains as
CFO, exploration manager and       president of Tallagium’s wholly
land manager, respectively.        owned e-commerce subsidiary
  Dow is a founder and             Megadox Corp.
principal of Dowwest Manage-         Tallagium is focused on the
ment Accounting Ltd. He            operations of Megadox, which
replaces Cameron Dow, who          syndicates, sells and distributes
has resigned to pursue other       electronic data over the
business interests but will        Internet for a fee.
continue as a member of the                    ■ ■ ■
board.                                Resverlogix Corp.
  Quinn was most recently a        (TSX:RVX) has hired Dr.
principal at a private oil and     Gregory Wagner as VP of
gas company that was sold to a     preclinical development to
publicly traded energy trust.      help advance two cardiovascu-
  Holmes has been a landman        lar research programs for new
for almost 30 years.               drugs.Wagner brings three
  Fair Sky is a junior natural     decades of experience in early
resource company with its          drug development.
head office in Calgary.               Resverlogix is a Calgary
           ■ ■ ■                   biotech engaged in the devel-
  TVI Pacific Inc.                 opment of biopharmaceuticals.
(TSX:TVI) has made three                       ■ ■ ■
executive appointments.              Bow Valley Energy Ltd.
  Andrew Bradfield is              (TSX:BVX) has appointed
appointed vice-president of        energy industry veteran Nick
operations. Prior to joining       Fairbrother as managing
TVI, he was the COO of a           director of Bow Valley’s U.K.
mining and exploration             subsidiary. In this role he will
company operating in China.        oversee Bow Valley’s U.K.
  Carl Caumartin is                operations from a staffed office
appointed VP of exploration.       in Windsor, U.K.
Until recently, he was manager       Bow Valley is a Calgary-
of exploration and develop-        based oil and natural gas
ment with a mining company         company operating in Western
active in South America.           Canada and the U.K. sector of
  Tim Armstrong is                 the North Sea.
appointed VP of project                        ■ ■ ■
development. He was most             Founder Donald Rae has
recently the founder and           resigned from WaveForm
operator of a Philippines-based    Energy (TSXV:WE.A,WE.B)
mining and drilling firm.          as president and chief
  TVI is a Calgary-based min-      executive officer.
ing company focused on pre-          The company says the
cious and base metals in Asia.     board of directors is taking an
           ■ ■ ■                   active role in the day-to-day
  AltaCanada Energy                operations while a successor is
Corp. (TSXV:ANG) has hired         sought.
Phil Grubbe as VP of finance         WaveForm is a junior oil
and CFO. He was employed           and gas company focused on
most recently with a junior        Western Canada. Its corporate
energy company with                office is in Calgary.
Canadian and U.S. operations.
  AltaCanada is a junior oil       See MOVING ON Page 15
May 11, 2006                                                                                                                                                Page 15

from Page 14                          $7M gift adds to MRC coffers                                        The Next Best Thing To Being

                                     Business Edge                     donation to support the con-
    Biotech                            Calgary businessman David
                                     Bissett’s new $7-million dona-
                                                                       tinued growth of the business
                                                                       school will be matched
                                                                       through the province’s recently
                                                                                                                     $$ Make Your House Pay You To Live In It. $$

 firm names                          tion to Mount Royal College
                                     has brought his total to $12
                                     million – the most by an indi-
                                                                       announced Access to the
                                                                       Future Endowment Fund.
                                                                          David Bissett founded Bissett
                                                                                                                              Gerry Shand or Corrinne Bergen

  new CFO                            vidual to a Canadian college or
                                     technical institute.
                                                                       and Associates Investment
                                                                       Management Ltd. in 1982.
                                                                                                                                         (780) 444-8527
                                       Bissett and his wife Leslie     After selling the company to           www.reproblemsolver.com/mortgageFree.html
   ViRexx Medical Corp.              made an initial $5-million        Franklin Resources in 2000,
(TSX:VIR; AMEX:REX) has              donation to the business school   the Bissetts made a multimil-
a new CFO. Scott Langille            at MRC in 2002. In recogni-       lion-dollar donation to the
joins ViRexx from Henry              tion of their generosity, MRC     Calgary Foundation.
Schein Ash Arcona.ViRexx is          renamed the 50-year-old              They have long supported a
an Edmonton-based biotech-           business program the Bissett      wide va riety of commu n i t y,
nology company focused on            School of Business.               municipal and environmental
treatments for certain cancers         It is anticipated that the      organizations.
and chronic hepatitis B and C.
            ■ ■ ■
  Donald Clark has been
promoted to COO of Diaz
Resources Ltd. (TSX:DZR).
His amplified duties primarily
relate to the company’s
expanding field efforts.
  Clark was part of the
founding group of Diaz
Resources and has been VP
of operations since 1998.
  Diaz is an oil and gas
exploration and production
company based in Calgary.
            ■ ■ ■
   Continuum Health Care
Inc. (TSXV:CCF) says
Mushtaq Thobani has
resigned as a director and
CFO. Peter Allan has
assumed the role of CFO
on an interim basis.
   Calgary-based Continuum
is focused on operating
supportive living and
extended-care facilities.
            ■ ■ ■
  Joan Dunne,VP of finance
and CFO for True Energy
Trust (TSX:TUI.UN), has
advised that she will be retir-
ing by the end of the second
quarter to pursue personal
interests.The trust is searching
for a replacement. Dunne
will be available during the
transition period.
  True is a Calgary-based oil
and natural gas trust.
            ■ ■ ■
  Robert Roberts, senior VP
of operations, COO and a
founder of Calfrac Well
Services Ltd. (TSX:CFW), is
retiring. He is being replaced
by Gordon Dibb, executive
VP of Calfrac.
  Calfrac provides specialized
oilfield services to exploration
and production companies.
Corporate office is in Calgary.
            ■ ■ ■
   Gemini Performance
Solutions Inc. has appointed
Michael King to head up the
company’s operations and
marketing divisions.
   Gemini, a privately held
Calgary-based company,
specializes in performance-
based e-learning and skills
gap assessment software.
   (E-mail notices and photos at
least two weeks before publication
date to news@businessedge.ca)
Page 16                                                                                                                                                              May 11, 2006

   ‘Alberta factor’ drains B.C. workers: report
By Monte Stewart                      necessarily count on rising              However, some smaller B.C.      agement Canada is offering           re t u rn to positions that pay
Business Edge                         interprovincial migration as a        communities are already strug-     medical, dental and other            between $9.05 and $11 per
                                      source of skilled workers in the      gling to find personnel of any     benefits to snowbirds who like       hour.
       espite B.C.’s strong econo-    future.”                              age. In Kamloops, a customer-      to head south for the winter.           “I’m looking at hiring
D      my, British Columbians
a re moving east over the
                                          Peak says the decline in
                                      Albertans moving west will put
                                                                            call centre company has
                                                                            launched a campaign to recruit
                                                                                                                 Once they pass a thre e -
                                                                                                               month probation, if they take
                                                                                                                                                    between 300 and 400 people,”
                                                                                                                                                    says Jill Jones, the company’s
Rockies to Alberta more often         “upwa rd pre s s u re ” on wages      retired seniors because it can’t   extended breaks to travel or         Kamloops recruiting manager.
than Albertans are relocating to      in B. C. , and the provincial         find enough employees.             p u rsue other interests, they are
the West Coast, says a recent         government may want to see               Convergys Customer Man-         guaranteed of being able to          See HIRING            Page 19
Business Council of British           how its tax rates compare to
Columbia (BCBC) report.               those in Alberta.
   In the second half of last year,       But he notes there are rela-
3,000 more people moved to            tively small gaps in the two
Alberta from B.C. than those          western provinces’ personal
who came the other way.               i n c o m e, corporate and small
   As a re s u l t , in the final     business tax schemes.
quarter of 2005, B.C. recorded            “Tax rates are one factor but
a net outflow of 869 people to        there’s also job opportunities,
other provinces, including            employment prospects and
Alberta.                              overall economic health,” says
   That marks the first period in     Peacock, adding people also
three years that more people          move for many other personal
have left than entered B.C., says     reasons.
Ken Peacock, a BCBC senior                But he says the provincial
policy analyst who worked on          Liberals and private companies
the report.                           don’t necessarily need to take
   “It really was only Alberta        immediate steps to ke e p
that dragged us down,” says           employees in B. C. , because
Peacock. “It really is a story        the downturn in migration
about the lure of Alberta.”           is not a “panic” situation.
   The negative migration con-            “It’s part of the normal func-
trasts sharply with early 2005,       tion of the labour market. It’s
when B.C. enjoyed a net inflow        kind of what you want labour
of 2,000 people per quarter           marketing to do,” says Peacock
from all parts of Canada. In the      referring to people’s tendency
first half of 2005, migration         to move to areas where jobs
between B.C. and Alberta was          a re plentiful during good
balanced.                             economic times and relocate
   The re p o rt attri butes the      during slowdowns.
sudden shift to “the Alberta fac-         He points out that B.C. still
t o r.” B. C. wasn’t the only         attracted 3,500 people fro m
province that lost workers to         Alberta last year, although the
Alberta.                              net migration was in Alberta’s
   In the fourth quarter of 2005,     favour.
the Wild Rose province experi-            “It’s not like people are mov-
enced a net inflow of more            ing to Alberta and have stopped
than 17,000 from all regions of       coming to B.C.,” he says.
Canada.                                   Despite losing workers to its
   Peacock says it’s difficult to     nearest neighbour, B.C. inflow
confirm who exactly is leaving        exceeded outflow to all other
B.C., but anecdotal evidence          provinces between September
and past trends indicate the          and December of last year. B.C.
departees are mainly young            attracted 1,000 more residents
skilled trades workers aged 25-       than it lost from Ontario, and
35. Unlike in the early 1990s,        enjoyed a net inflow of 1,000
when a bad economy pushed             people from all other parts of
people out of B.C., Alberta           Canada outside of Alberta.
firms are pulling people east             Peacock says B.C. has been
with high wages and signing           winning the war for skilled
bonuses.                              wo r ke rs with Ontario since
   Peacock says most workers          2001, and that pattern shows no
a re heading to northern              sign of changing.
Alberta’s booming oilpatch.               But the B.C. Progress Board,
He has heard of some firms            a provincially appointment
who have provided signing             panel that advises the govern-
b o nuses in the $20,000-             ment on economic perform-
$25,000 range.                        ance issues, cites the lack of
   “ M a ny analysts anticipate       young workers as a key factor
that net interprovincial migra-       in B.C.’s lagging productivity. It
tion will be an important             is also calling for changes in
s o u rce of new wo r ke rs (in       B. C. tax policy, re g u l a t o ry
B.C.) in the coming years,” says      reform, the elimination of trade
the re p o rt. “Yet it may be         barriers,       m o re    openness
that the even hotter Albertan         towa rds immigration and an
economy will continue to be a         emphasis on public infrastruc-
powerful lure for significant         ture, skills, education and
nu m b e rs of young British          research.
Columbians. While a single                By 2011, the board forecasts,
quarter should not be extrapo-        the number of re t i rees leaving
lated into a trend, the recent        the B.C. workforce will exceed
shift in migration flows under-       the number of people under the
scores the fact that B.C. cannot      age of 30 who are entering it.
May 11, 2006                                                                                                                                       Page 17

                                                                                                                             Advertising Feature

   Sam Corea has a savvy handle
  on Calgary’s real estate market
    And his clients
    are benefiting
       big time

          ven the most senior sales
          veterans can’t recall a more
          dynamic housing market in
  Southern Alberta. It’s almost
  surreal, with stories circulating
  about frantic bidding wars,
  unbelievably fast turnarounds
  and overnight profits of
  gargantuan proportions.
    Sellers rub their their hands with
  glee, anticipating huge returns.
  Buyers, meanwhile,
  proceed with trepidation,
  worrying about being rushed
  into paying inflationary prices
  while simultaneously fearful of
  being left behind by seemingly
  out-of-control market trends.                             Sam Corea has sold more than 1,000 homes. Now, more than ever, it’s vital
    Truth is, it’s a dangerous time,                             to have the support of an experienced real estate professional
  with pitfalls lying in wait for the
  unwary buyer as well as for the         the best advice I can offer: Don’t    maximum value for their homes.       My clients were very glad they
  uneducated vendor.                      leave money on the table when         Q: You’re one of the busiest sales   were working with someone who
    It’s time to shake hands with         you’re selling. The average house     experts in town. Do you have         knows how to deal with
  one of Southern Alberta’s most          price in Calgary has gone up          enough time to devote to every       competitive offers.
  reliable and accomplished profes-       $100,000 in the last three or four    one of your clients?                 Q: How do you make the most
  sionals, a residential real estate      months. So the biggest thing to       A: Absolutely. That’s what I offer   of such a highly competitive
  specialist you can count on.            tune into is timing: What is the      that’s different: Personalized       environment?
    Meet Sam Corea, a recognized          EXACT value of your house             service. When clients want to        A: I’ll list a home on MLS on a
  leader in Calgary real estate.          today? Now, more than ever you        reach me, they’re calling my         Friday and make it plain that we
  A tireless worker and trusted           need a knowledgeable agent            cellphone, calling me directly.      will entertain offers on Sunday at
  confidant, Corea takes each of          who’s deep into the market and        My market is very specialized –      4 p.m. That gives prospective
  his clients in hand and pledges to      able to read the trends accurately.   I deal in Calgary’s luxury market    purchasers a day or two to view
  guide them through these unique         He’ll help you make the deal that’s   and my average sale price last       the property and evaluate its
  and exciting – yet also challenging     best for you.                         year was $700,000 – but I’m          merits.
  – times.                                Q: In a hot market like this, does    certainly happy to work with         Q: What’s the best way for those
    With more than 1,000 Calgary          it make sense for sellers to try to   customers in every price range.      who are looking to buy a home to
  sales to his credit, Corea has built    maximize their profit by listing      Q: Why is it so important for        educate themselves, to prepare
  a spotless reputation for shrewd        their home privately?                 sellers to join forces with an       themselves for trading in such a
  market assessments as well as for       A: A novice might think so, but the   experienced real estate              vibrant market?
  fair dealing. Recently, he sat down     answer is an emphatic no. People      professional such as yourself?       A: That’s easy. They should work
  to discuss some of the problems         who sell “by owner” aren’t getting    A: We’re seeing homes coming         with an agent who has the kind of
  inherent in today’s high-voltage        the exposure they need to             on the market today with as many     extensive professional back-
  housing market.                         generate offers. Also, most of        as 14 offers on the property. In     ground that enables him or her to
  Q: Sam, it’s a bit of a jungle out      them have no idea how to              those situations, an inexperienced   spot the red flags. I’ve sold more
  there. What are some strategies         properly value their homes.           realtor tends to make serious        than 1,000 homes and I know
  today’s buyers and sellers can          Many such sellers actually            mistakes. You need someone           what I’m
  use to protect themselves? Why          price their homes based on city       who’s well acquainted with this      seeing when I take a close look
  don’t we start with those who wish      assessments, which is a terrible      unique market. I, personally, had    at a home. I’m not a professional
  to sell their homes?                    mistake. These people undersell       a home last week, priced at          home inspector, but I do know
  A: Yes, a bullish market like this is   their property, leaving as much as    $525,000. We had 350 people          what to look for that could develop
  precisely the time you need to          $60,000 on the table. When they       through the open house in one        into a problem down the road.
  align yourself with an experienced      work with a qualified professional    day and the home sold for              For more information, please
  real estate professional. Here’s        such as myself, they achieve          $70,000 above the list price.        visit: www.samsluxuryhomes.com.

                          ■ Website: www.samsluxuryhomes.com                                          ■ Phone: 403.870.8811
                                    Page 18                                                                                 May 11, 2006

                ★ 1: BOMBARDIER                                       ★ 2: CABO DRILLING                                       ★ 3: INT’L FOREST

Stock market worry spells rally to Spooner
                                                                       their order books begin to          ■ Snapshot: International         of money into the U.S.
     Portfolio                         PRO’S 3 STARS                   fill.”                              Forest Products, also known as    Treasury because of the duties
                                                                       ■ Spooner’s Risk Rating:            Interfor, is a logging and        from the softwood lumber.
  manager sees                      into gear with the resolution      Low.                                sawmilling company that har-      That means that they stand to
                                    (in the softwood lumber            ■ Web Watch:                        vests timber and manufactures     gain a large impact on their
   correction in                    dispute with the U.S.).            www.bombardier.com                  lumber products for global        fortunes with the settlement in
                                    Probably more important is                                             markets. Its operations are in    the dispute (between Canada
 resource sector                    that their earnings, as I’d                 SECOND STAR                B.C.,Washington state and         and the U.S.). Many of the
                                    expected, have been better         ■  Cabo Drilling Corp.              Oregon.                           (Canadian) lumber companies
  (Business Edge columnist Gyle     than analysts expected             (TSXV:CBE)                          ■ CEO: Duncan Davies.             have also been constrained by
Konotopetz regularly profiles the   despite the fact that these        ■ Recent Price: $0.60.              ■ Head Office: Vancouver.         railway car shortages and
top stock picks of some of          companies have had a strong        ■ 52-Week Range:                    ■ Vital Stats: Current Price/     they’ve been unable to
Canada’s most accomplished          dollar working against them.”      $0.30-$0.68.                        Earnings Ratio, 19.5; Revenue     deliver on the significant
investment pros.)                                                      ■ Snapshot: Cabo provides           (past 12 mos.), $835.2 million;   demand for lumber, which
                                             FIRST STAR                drilling services, primarily to     5-Yr Revenue Growth, 2.2          has been robust due to
   FEATURED PRO: Mal             ■ Bombardier Inc.                     the mining sector, through its      per cent; Earnings (past 12       the buoyant U.S. housing
Spooner is CEO of Mavrix         (TSX:BBD.SV.B)                        four Canadian divisions –           mos.), $19.7 million; Market      market. And that (railway
Fund Management and also         ■ Recent Price: $4.30.                Advanced Drilling, Forages          Cap, $380.3 million; Shares       car shortages) is clearing up
one of the portfolio managers    ■ 52-Week Range:                      Cabo Drilling, Heath &              Outstanding, 48.7 million.        now.
of a series of 18 funds.         $2.34-$4.32.                          Sherwood Drilling and Petro         ■ Spooner’s View: “This
   Fund Form:                                  ■ Snapshot:             Drilling Company.                   company has paid an awful lot     See 3 STARS           Page 19
The Mavrix                                     Bombardier is a         ■ CEO: John Versfelt.
Enterprise Fund                                manufacturer of         ■ Head Office: Vancouver.
has a one-year                                 business, regional      ■ Vital Stats: Revenue (past
return of 33.6 per                             and amphibious          12 mos.), $28.5 million;
cent, compared to                              aircraft, and rail      Earnings/Loss (past 12 mos.),
the group average                              equipment.The           $100,000 Loss; Market Cap,
of 9.3 per cent.                               company also            $18.5 million; Shares
   Management                                  provides servicing      Outstanding, 30.8 million.
Expense Ratio:                                 to the aerospace and    ■ Spooner’s View: “This is
2.95 per cent.                                 rail markets.           primarily a mining contract
   Spooner’s                                   ■ CEO: Laurent          driller and they’ve been
Perspective: “Well,                            Beaudoin.               receiving a number of
the market tends to Mal Spooner                ■ Head Office:          contracts from cash-rich
climb a wall of worry and as     Montreal.                             mining companies (it recently
long as they’re worried, I guess ■ Vital Stats: Current                secured a contract with Aur
it’s going to continue to rally, Price/Earnings Ratio,                 Resources). As is the case in
with some interruptions.         28.7; Revenue (past 12 mos.),         oil and gas, what we find in
Corporate earnings continue      $16.8 billion; 5-Yr Earnings          mining is that (in) the first leg
to plow on ahead, which          Growth, -0.6 per cent;                in a strong market, the stocks
bodes well for equity            Earnings (past 12 mos.),              do well and the companies are
valuations, at least, staying    $284 million; Market Cap,             successful at raising money.
where they are. If I were to     $7.5 billion; Shares                  The next step is where the
look at anything vulnerable,     Outstanding, 1.7 billion.             companies do what they’re
we might be in for a bit of a    ■ Spooner’s View: “The                supposed to do, which is
correction in the resource       whole business-jet market             explore. And Cabo is my
sector, if only because it’s     has picked up significantly,          favourite company in that
volatile and we’ve seen the      air traffic is solid and the stock    space and it’s cheap.”
upside of that volatility for    is pretty much still out of           ■ Spooner’s Risk Rating:
several months now.              favour with institutional             High.
   “We’ve shifted some           investors. Even though it’s           ■ Web Watch: www.cabo.ca
money out of the strong          rallied a little bit from its
metals market that we’ve         bottom, it’s done so discreetly.              THIRD STAR
had and we’ve been buying        You sure don’t see a lot of           ■ International Forest
undervalued situations, such as  news about it.When a cycle            Products (TSX:IFP.SV.A)
those in the forest products     really gets mature, it’s names        ■ Recent Price: $7.81.
sector.They (forest products     like Bombardier that tend to          ■ 52-Week Range:
companies) are finally kicking   start to get some respect as          $6.13-$8.11.
May 11, 2006                                                                                                                                                                Page 19

HIRING from Page 16

  Kamloops banking on economic diversification
   Noting that seniors have bet-         between 1996 and 2001. The           The area has also become a     50 of 150 employees from the         launched an economic-diversi-
ter customer-relations skills            lumber industry remains the        haven for high-tech companies,   Open Learning Institute chose        fication strategy designed to
than younger employees, Jones            top employer in Kamloops, and      and the new Thompson Rivers      to move to Kamloops after the        lure employees and companies
says Convergys hopes to give             the city, home of the Blazers of   U n iversity (TRU) has also      institute left its former Burnaby,   f rom all parts of Canada –
re t i rees lifestyle-based incentives   the Western Hockey League,         sparked more labour demand.      B.C. location and relocated to       including Alberta.
while providing benefits that are        bills itself as “the Tournament      Edwards says T RU alone has    the unive rsity campus.                 (Monte Stewart can be reached at
not covered in pensions. If its          Capital of Canada.”                100 job openings, because only     Ve n t u re Kamloops         has   monte@businessedge.ca)
pilot project is successful, U.S.-
based Convergys will re c ru i t
seniors for the rest of its 14 call
centres across Canada.
   She says all industries in
Kamloops and rival call-centre
companies in Penticton,Vernon
and other B.C. locales are hav-
ing similar problems attracting
   Alyn Edwards, vice-president
of Peak Communicators Ltd.,
whose Vancouver-based com-
munications firm has been
hired to help promote business
and job opportunities in
Kamloops, says the lack of
available employees is restrict-
ing the area’s economic devel-
opment and growth.
   “If you (move) to Kamloops
and you’re able-bodied and
you’ve got a pulse, you
can get a job,” says Edwards.
   According to a website oper-
ated by Venture Kamloops, the
municipal government’s eco-
nomic development branch,
economic growth has not kept
pace with population growth.
The city’s economy surged
briefly in the early 1990s,
thanks to a spate of new-home
construction, but most of the
buyers were local residents who
just upgraded to newer homes.
   Since 2001, the city’s popula-
tion has expanded to 84,000
from 77,000 after remaining flat

from Page 18

 Forestry firm
‘medium’ risk
   “Furthermore, the entire
sector is under-owned by
institutional and retail
investors alike, so I think it has
some room to go.”
■ Spooner’s Risk Rating:
■ Web Watch:
   Spooner’s Edge Record:
+31.7 per cent. Best Pick:
IPSCO (TSX:IPS) +366.2 per
cent. Worst Pick: Zarlink
Semiconductor (TSX:ZL)
-41.1 per cent.
   Disclosure: Spooner owns
shares in the funds in which
the featured stocks are held.
   (This feature is provided for
information purposes. Investors
are advised to do their own
research or consult a qualified
investment professional before
making investment decisions.)
Page 20   May 11, 2006
May 11, 2006   Page 21
Page 22                                                                                                                                                              May 11, 2006

  Gold miner enjoying profitable last laugh
By Gyle Konotopetz                                                                            Shares of     company shares surge 55.1 per      a seven-per-cent news pop.The
Business Edge                                 GOLD RESERVE INC.                            the beaten-      cent since assuming the reins      results were that good. Aspreva
                                                                                           to-              from David Sutcliffe.That’s a      earned $44.8 million US in the
   (Street Life is a regular feature                                                       a-pulp           remarkable return, considering     first quarter, a stunning reve rs a l
that focuses on what’s playing in                                                          Canadian         the TSX market’s disdain for       from a $9-million US loss in
the stock market.)                                                                         lumber           tech and obsession with            the year-ago period. Aspreva
■ ACT I: The Home Run                                                                      companies        commodities stocks.                also raised reve nue guidance by
Gold Reserve Inc.                                                                          soared on        ■ ACT V: The Trust Bust            14 per cent, forecasting 2006
(TSX:GRZ) $9.90                                                                            news of a        Superior Plus Income               revenue of $200 million US.
Up 182.9 per cent                                                                          tentative deal   Fund (TSX:SPF.UN) $11.             The company, which has a col-
(year to date).                                                                            in the soft-     Down 63.3 per cent                 laboration agreement with
   Just a few months ago, the                                                              wood lumber      (past 12 months).                  giant Swiss drugmaker Roche,
prognosticators with those                                                                 dispute with        Perhaps slow readers            identifies and develops new
forecasts of $1,000 US per                                                                 the U.S. As      shouldn’t own shares in an         uses for approved drugs and
ounce gold were the laughing                                                               one of the       income trust that tends to         drug candidates.
stock. Now everyone wants to                                                               biggest casu-    bury the bad news deep in the      ■ ACT VII: The Retail Bail
own gold stocks.With the gold              STREET LIFE:                 alties of the softwood duties,      press release.You could still be   West 49 Inc.
price starting to surge in leaps                                        Tembec stock enjoyed a spec-        reading whenever everyone          (TSX:WXX) $1.14
and bounds as the U.S. dollar                ANALYSIS                   tacular rebound. It peaked as       else is selling.Take Superior      Down 36.7 per cent
craters, speculators are even                                           high as $2.27 before dipping        Plus, which said it was slashing   (year to date).
willing to bear the political          with Google. It also provided    on profit-taking.That high re p-    its May distribution to               West 49 stock was all the
risk associated with companies         uninspiring quarterly results    resented a double from two          unitholders to 13 cents from       rage in 2005, scoring a near
with projects in Venezuela.            (earnings of $2.98 billion US    months earlier when investors       18 and a half cents per unit, a    triple in the first half of the
Gold Reserve has turned                or 29 cents a share) and a       began to speculate on a settle-     30-per-cent cut. But it didn’t     year on impressive growth, but
into the favourite among the           gloomy outlook. As a result,     ment of the sawoff between          admit to this until the 31st       the party has been shortlived.
miners exploring in Venezuela          the stock took its biggest       Canada and the U.S. Analyst         line of the press release.The      S h a re h o l d e rs have been bailing
and the stock has been soaring         one-day drop since November      Jaret Anderson of UBS               company started out by             as the retailer of skateboarding,
on the gold and copper                 of 2000, losing $31.6 billion    Investment Research estimated       saying it was initiating a         snowboarding and surfing
prospects at its Brisas                US in market cap.To put that     that Tembec stood to receive a      strategic review process, which    clothing and equipment con-
project. Gold Reserve has              into perspective, that money     refund of $262 million Cdn          is often good news. But            tinues to disappoint the market.
even out-slugged Crystallex            could buy you the world’s        (after taxes) based on the deal.    the shareholders naturally         The latest quarterly re s u l t s
(TSX:KRY), which has the               largest gold company, Barrick    ■ ACT IV:                           responded to the distribution      kick-flipped the shares 16 per
high-profile Las Cristinas gold        Gold (TSX:ABX), and you’d        The Comeback Story                  cut, sacking the units for a       cent as the company reported
project in Venezuela. As for the       have enough loose change         Sierra Wireless                     one-day drop of 27 per cent.       flat earnings despite a leap in
price of gold, Newmont                 left over to buy Nortel          (TSX:SW) $20.17                     Superior Plus operates five        sales nu m b e rs at its 107 stores.
Mining president Pierre                Networks (TSX:NT).               Up 55.1 per cent                    businesses – ERCO                  For the quarter ending Jan. 28,
Lassonde recently stated that          Microsoft chairman and           (six-month gain).                   Worldwide (chemicals),             West 49 had $2.7 million in
“$700 gold will look like              founder Bill Gates, who             Sierra stock continued its       Superior Propane (propane          earnings or four cents a share
chump change in a couple of            owned 978 million shares         spectacular comeback with           sales), JW Aluminum                on $50.7 million in sales.
years” and says it could               of the company in February,      investors cheering the              (aluminum products),Winroc         ■ ACT VIII:
challenge the $850 plateau it          lost some ground as the          company’s latest quarterly          (construction products) and        The Penny Jackpot
reached in the last great bull         world’s richest person, losing   earnings.The maker of wireless      Superior Energy Management         Aurelian Resources
run in the 1980s.                      $3 billion on paper in the       modems reported earnings for        (natural gas retailer).            (TSXV:ARU) $3.47
■ ACT II: The Bomb                     one-day swoon.Wall Street        the first quarter of ’06 at $2.6    ■ ACT VI: The Breakout             Up 375.3 per cent
Microsoft Corp.                        analysts had the usual tardy     million US or 10 cents a share,     Aspreva Pharmaceuticals            (one-month rally).
(Nasdaq: MSFT) $24.15 US               response with at least           a dramatic swing from a $7.6-       (TSX:ASV) $38.07                      Aurelian continues to make
Down 11.4 per cent                     five of them downgrading the     million US loss or 30 cents a       Up 111.5 per cent                  huge strides and has become a
(one-day plunge).                      stock after the news.            share in the year-ago period.       (past 12 months).                  darling of the junior mining
   Microsoft caught a nasty            ■ ACT III: The Big Deal          Sierra also forecast revenue of        The fickle market often pun-    market in a matter of a few
virus, the stock market strain,        Tembec Inc. (TSX:TBC)            $52 million US and earnings         ishes stocks for positive quar-    weeks.
when the company said it               $1.95                            of $2.6 million US for the          terly earnings news after pre-
would increase spending on             Up 72.6 per cent                 second quarter. Rookie              earnings rallies, but Aspreva’s    See STREET LIFE
its Internet unit to compete           (two-month rally).               CEO Jason Cohenour has seen         robust earnings gave the stock                                 Page 26
May 11, 2006   Page 23
Page 24                                                                                                                            May 11, 2006

Event-planning firm built
 on innovative thinking
                                     dropping in on employees at              Then they got a chauffeured
 Keeping people                      lunchtime, and even on the               car to take them to whatever
                                     factory line, to tell them how           types of stores they wanted to
 excited part of                     much they’d miss if they didn’t explore.”
                                     attend.                                     The result, says Richards,
  the challenge                         “Then, for the theme of               was that most attendees deem-
                                     dinner, we chose first-class air         ed this their all-time favourite

               ubber chicken,        travel. So we set up a luxurious trip – despite it happening
               ho-hum venues,        VIP lounge with very attentive during New York’s snowiest
               droning speeches,     flight attendants dressed in             December on record, and ESI
               pat-on-the-back       Austin Power gear. Prizes such           staff had to scramble to cope
presentations.                       as lavish trips were given out,          with such disasters as the can-                                          Brennan O’Connor, Business Edge
   Today, these traditional          which had never been done                cellation of horse-and-buggy        Event Spectrum Inc. president Cynthia Richards says that
staples just aren’t cutting it as    before, and Bombardier got its           rides because of snowdrifts.        functioning as a strategic partner with clients is critical.
magnets for hordes of attendees best-ever attendance.”                           There’s plenty more creativi-
at annual conferences, product          Another recent client was             ty where those examples came
introductions or impre s s -         “an automotive company                   from, Richards says as she
potential-clients events.            whose third - q u a rter sales           sketches out an enviable entre-
   Nor are run-of-                                were way down,”             preneurial tale whose punch-
the-mill goings-on                THE             Richards says. “So          line is a growth rate that’s
in predictable places       POULTON they wanted to re a l- nothing short of astounding.
effective in revving                              ly motivate the sales          A Toronto native, she
up a company’s
                              REPORT              force by offering top graduated from the University
troops or keeping                                 performers some             of Western Ontario with a
expensively                                       kind of unusual trip. degree in anthropology. But
acquired top talent                                   “This was in win- she somehow got into the
from flying the                                   tertime, but instead        advertising field, initially as a
corporate coop, says                              of doing the usual          secretary at Vickers & Benson,
Ann Armstrong, a                                  hot-weather destina- where she worked her way up
lecturer and director                             tion or Caribbean           to account executive. Richards
of the Social                                     cruise, we came up          then switched to the client
Enterprise Initiative                             with Miracle on             side of marketing, working as a
at the Joseph L.                                  Fifth Ave nu e. It was      meeting planner at Hyundai
Rotman School of                                  a trip to New York          Canada and Nissan Canada.
Management at the Terry Poulton                   City, with all the             By 1997, she felt ready to
University of             Business Edge           winners (based on           launch her own event-planning
Toronto.                                          sales results) staying                 ,
                                                                              c o m p a ny one whose hallmark
   “Your best people can             at the Plaza Hotel. Each was             would be addressing a need she
become jaded and say:‘You’ve         assigned an appropriate pers o n- discovered during her time in
already given me 16 plaques,         al shopper, which we identified the corporate world.
so now if you want to                by asking about their interests
motivate me, it’s going to take      on the pre-registration forms.            See POULTON              Page 25
something more elaborate.’ ”
   This new reality is bringing
a bonanza of opportunities for                 Need Help Managing
such exceptionally innovative
event-management companies                     Workplace Conflict?
as Toronto’s Event Spectrum             It is a well known fact that workplace conflict directly impacts the
Inc. (ESI).                             overall productivity and bottom line of an organization. It is also a
   Says president and co-               root cause of work related stress, absenteeism and toxic work
founder Cynthia Richards:               environment.
“Our key differentiator is that                   BUT HELP IS AVAILABLE!
we function as a strategic part-
ner to our clients and then we          On May 26 at the TELUS Convention Centre,
surprise and delight them with          Security Management Consulting Inc. will be presenting a one-
the results.                            day training course on CONFLICT MANAGEMENT. The course
   “Bombardier Aerospace, for           will help attendees with recognition of early signs of aggression,
                                        learn conflict de-escalation techniques and develop tactical
example, came to us with a big
                                        communication skills all of which are designed to prevent losses
challenge. Every Christmas,
                                        caused by workplace conflict.
they host a hugely expensive
seated dinner for about 6,000                               Our presenter BRIAN WILLIS, is an highly
employees. But so many peo-                                 sought after trainer by various Law Enforcement
ple never showed up that they                               agencies, corporate and sport organizations
were wasting a lot of money.                                throughout North America.
   “They needed a way to get                               Register now and benefit for years to come!
people excited about attend-
ing,” Richards says.“So for six
weeks prior to the event, we
had a Santa Claus character
and some scantily clad elves
May 11, 2006                                                                                                                                                        Page 25

POULTON from Page 24

All-female firm’s culture offers competitive edge
   “I would always have a lot of   it with a lot of humour and         member of our team because          the details that add up to a    competitor partly because of
suppliers – incentive travel       personality.”                       they do the lion’s share of         successful event.”              our culture and values.”
company, ad agency, promo-            A modest beginning?              running our annual Northern           Richards agrees with that       Richards adds that egalitari-
tions company, graphic design      Definitely. But it was enough       Diamonds gala (which entails)       contention, although she says   an collaboration – another trait
and so on. But I rarely found      to pull in revenue of $97,000       everything from working with        she never set out to build an   that’s often evident in female
that they cared much about         in the first year. And since        the venue and decor to food         exclusively female company.     groups – is the rule at ESI.
helping me communicate the         then, while increasing the          and beverage catering, enter-       “It’s just a fact that many     “Every time we have an
overall message of an event.       work force to 16, leasing           tainment, all those logistical      women choose to go into         opportunity to pitch, we all
They just cared about their        professional digs – and retain-     areas.They have a ton of            event management. I’m           brainstorm beforehand and
piece of the pie. So the vision    ing every client they acquired      experience and contacts and         inundated with resumes, but     everyone here is a part of that.
for my company was to serve        – ESI has enjoyed quadruple-        it’s very reassuring to have        very few are from men.            “We’re a pretty happy
as a general contractor, a one-    digit annual growth. Revenues       them on your side.”                   “I do know that the           bunch and I know that that is
stop shop that would truly         for 2005 topped $5.4 million.          Santamaria says she also likes   corporate culture we’ve ended   reflected in the way we treat
understand the client’s               A sign of this success is that   the fact that ESI’s staff are all   up sets us apart. In fact, we   our clients.”
objectives and work to make        Richards was recently recog-        female because “women are           recently won some business        (Terry Poulton can be reached at
sure they were met.”               nized by Chatelaine magazine        often so good at perceiving all     away from a very large          poulton@businessedge.ca)
   So, together with high          as one of Canada’s top 100
school friend Zora Kriz, who       women entrepreneurs.
is now ESI’s vice-president and       ESI’s client base now
minority partner, Richards         includes the Canadian head
scraped up $20,000 for             offices of Nissan,Volvo and
computer equipment and             Mitsubishi, as well as Siemens
direct mail pitches.               Canada, Berkshire Investments
   For the first year, the two     and Bell Sympatico, in
were the company’s sole            addition to Bombardier
employees and worked out of        Aerospace and its first client,
their respective homes.            Oasis Technologies.
   “We knew we weren’t ready          Jennifer Santamaria is one
to do huge events,” Richard        client enthusiastic about
recalls,“so we went after small    working with ESI for the
but high-growth companies          past four years in her role as
that probably didn’t have in-      executive director of the Jays
house event management yet.        Care Foundation, a charitable
We basically said we want to       arm of the Toronto Blue Jays
be an extension of your mar-       baseball organization.
keting department and we did          “I call them the 10th
Page 26                                                                                                                                                                May 11, 2006

      Selling own house poses risks, rewards
                                        estate market and the seaside
 Online listings                        area’s scenic features and laid-
                                        back lifestyle would lead to a
  popular with                          deal in a few days.                  Special Report – Real Estate
                                           But three months and 30 to
do-it-yourselfers                       40 calls from prospective buyers
                                                                                  Residential Sales
                                        later, he was “shocked” the
By Monte Stewart                        home still had not sold. In fact,
Business Edge                           the Endos did not receive a         After eight to 10 showings, he
                                        single offer.                       sold the house in January for
             ast July, Ken Endo list-      So, Endo terminated the 90-      the full list price of $575,000.

L            ed a home in the sub-
             urban Vancouver com-
             munity of Crescent
Beach with a real estate agent.
   The well-preserved 1,000-
                                        day listing arrangement with
                                        his real estate agent and
                                        decided to sell it himself.
                                           “We thought we could take
                                        up the challenge and it worked
                                                                               Endo is part of a growing
                                                                            group of FSBO sellers who are
                                                                            seeking to spare the expense of
                                                                            real estate commissions and take
                                                                            more control of deals. FSBO site
sq.-ft. bungalow, built in 1955         out better than we thought it       operators say their listings are
and re n ovated a few times,            would,” says Endo.                  increasing as sellers gain more
belonged to his late mother-in-            In November, he posted the       knowledge of the industry and
law and father-in-law and was           property with BC Homes for          have greater access to prospec-
left to his wife Linda and her          Sale.com, one of many websites      tive buyers through the Internet.                                              Wayne Chose, Business Edge
b ro t h e r. Endo thought the          across Canada that list proper-        Numerous FSBO sites list         Maria Schollen’s website handles all sizes of properties.
Lower Mainland’s hot re a l             ties for sale by owner (FSBO).      properties in all provinces.
                                                                            Sellers list their for-sale-by -    for Sale.com.                        produces, because most sellers
STREET LIFE from Page 22                                                    owner properties for fees that         Schollen says her home-based      let ads run for the full six
                                                                            can range from under $50 to a       company, which she operates          months even after properties
        Mining junior raises $30M                                           few hundred dollars. S everal
                                                                            FSBO listing firms also provide
                                                                                                                with business partner Robert
                                                                                                                Harrison, a full-time firefighter,
                                                                                                                                                     have sold.
                                                                                                                                                        BC Homes for Sale.com,
   The Toronto-based company            hectares in southeastern            yard signs, flyers and other mar-   enables sellers in rural com-        which has been in business for
has released encouraging                Ecuador, Aurelian has also          keting materials, but most web      munities to reach larger urban       nine years, only lists B.C. prop-
drilling results from the gold-         tapped into a hot market to         operators do not receive com-       markets.                             erties.The website acts only as a
silver discovery at its Condor          raise a total of $30 million        missions when properties sell.         The listed properties range       listing service and does not pro-
project in Ecuador while at             from two separate private-             “If anybody claims (selling      from $50,000 mobile homes to         vide referrals to mortgage bro-
the same time capitalizing on           placement financings in April.      your own property) is an easy       million-dollar     single-family     kers, home inspectors and other
the market’s insatiable appetite           (Stock prices based on results   process, it’s not – but people      dwellings, “and everything in        service companies, as an agent
for mining plays.                       through April 28)                   save money,” says Maria             between,” says Schollen.             often does.
   Boasting a massive land                 (Gyle Konotopetz can be          Schollen, a partner in Maple           She says it’s hard to deter-
position of more than 95,000            reached at gyle@businessedge.ca)    Ridge, B.C.-based BC Homes          mine how many deals the site         See FSBO               Page 31
May 11, 2006                         Page 27

Energy firm
to focus on
 heavy oil
The Canadian Press

   Canadian Natural Resources
Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) plans to drill
150 fewer natural gas wells in
2006 as part of a temporary
focus to capitalize on soaring
crude oil prices.
   “It’s not that big a shift,”
president and CEO Steve
Laut said after the annual
shareholders meeting. “It’s
really a shift towards oil,
reallocating the capital and
taking advantage of price spikes.
We have the big inventories to
do that and it just makes sense.”
   The Calgary-based energy
company wants to capitalize on
re c o rd prices for heavy oil,
which have more than doubled
since the first quarter. But it’s
only a short-term strategy and
will be re - evaluated when
officials set out drilling plans
for 2007, Laut said.
   Crude oil drilling in 2006
will continue at planned levels,
while natural gas drilling will
be reduced by 13 per cent –
the equivalent of about 150
fewer wells.
   Part of the strategy change
can be attributed to the huge
demand for gas drilling rigs
and experienced crews, which
has forced up costs in the last
two years.
   “It’s as hot as it’s ever been
out West and there are a lot of
oil companies chasing a finite
amount of drilling rigs and
labour,” said Robert Mark, an
oil and gas analyst with
the bro kerage MacDougall,
MacDougall and McTier.
   “It’s allowing the service
providers to increase costs,” he
said in an interv i ew with
ROBTv, a specialty bu s i n e s s
cable channel based in Toronto.
“It really comes down to sup-
ply and demand.”
   E a r l i e r, Canadian Natural
reported a first-quarter profit
of $57 million, reversing a
year-ago loss. Net earnings for
the quarter ended March 31
amounted to 11 cents a share
compared with a loss of $424
million or 79 cents per share a
year earlier.
Page 28                                                                                                                                                                 May 11, 2006

 Developers buy in to First Nations option
  leases said to
  help keep B.C.
  housing p r i c e s
By Monte Stewart
Business Edge

           .C. real estate devel-

B          opers are bu i l d i n g
           housing and re t a i l
           p rojects on First
Nations-leased land as part of a
bid to keep housing prices
   Developers, including the Van
M a ren Group of Chilliwack                                                                                                                        Courtesy of MAC Real Estate Solutions
and Rykon Developments,               The ARIA condo development on Westbank First Nation land will overlook Lake Okanagan.
based in White Rock, hope 99-
year leases will help them stay                                           curbing land costs and keeping       Vintage Hills golf cours e,          – while 114 units are occupied.
competitive in a market where                                             unit prices competitive with         where marketer Morrison says            “The Halcyon has lots of com-
housing prices are rising rapid-                                          industry rivals.                     a view of Okanagan Lake is           petition from freehold developers
ly and deve l o p a ble land is        Special Report – Real Estate          “A lot of people are looking      available “on every hole.”           and we’ve outsold our competi-
increasingly scarce.                                                      at this,” says Morrison.               “It is impossible to find four     tors by a wide margi n ,” says Van
   In most cases, land is leased
through the federal govern-
                                              Development                    Eric Van Maren, president of
                                                                          the Van Maren Group, says
                                                                                                               and a half acres (elsewhere) sur-
                                                                                                               rounded by a golf course – all
                                                                                                                                                    Maren,adding he and rival deve l-
                                                                                                                                                    opers have compared sales results
ment with revenue going                                                   leased-land development deals        four sides with a view of the        with each other.
to First Nations, but the               Meanwhile, p u rc h a s e rs do   allow First Nations (whose           lake – for the price that I paid        Freehold refers to land that
Okanagan-based         Westbank       not have to pay the GST or          members suffer from extreme          for it,” says Van Maren.             has clear title. In conventional
First Nation (WFN), which has         the provincial two-per-cent         pove rty in many cases) to “pull       At Halcyon, a free title           residential development pro j-
achieved self-government sta-         property-transfer tax because       themselves up by the bootstraps”     arrangement would have               ects, developers purchase land
tus, controls its own leases.         leased lands are exempt.            through lease and pro p e rty tax    required him to raise his prices     outright and then sell parcels
   “It’s exactly the same as if         MAC is marketing the ARIA         revenue, while deve l o p e rs get   by $50,000 per unit, he says.        with each home they build.
you’re buying a condo any-            158-unit condo development          ideal locations and are able to      Under the lease arrangement,            All Halcyon buyers, who are
where else,” says Bill Morrison,      overlooking Lake Okanagan on        charge less for their homes.         he lowered the unit price to         in their 50s and 60s, have cho-
senior partner with MAC Real          leased land that is owned by           Van Maren says his leasing        $200,000 from $220,000.              sen to make monthly lease pay-
Estate Solutions of Vancouver.        the WFN near Westbank, a            arrangements with the WFN at           “I thought it would be more        ments so they can use equity
   In effect, buyers purchase the     Kelowna bedroom community.          ARIA and the federal govern-         attractive to charge $200,000        from their previously owned
home without the land as the            Developers have been build-       ment for Tzeachten First             and ask people to pay $180 per       homes to purchase such items
developer leases First Nations        ing on First Nations land           Nation-owned land at his             month (for the lease),” he says.     as motorhomes or furniture or
land up front.                        through leases with the federal     Halcyon Meadows project near           The company, which only            to invest in stocks, bonds and
   Buyers have the option of          government for many years,                       ck enabled him to
                                                                          C h i l l i wa                       builds after the deal on each        mutual funds, says Van Maren.
including the total lease cost in     says Morrison, but he predicts      knock $20,000-$50,000 off his        custom-built home is finalized,      Most purchasers of leased-land
the pro p e rty’s mortgage, or        more developers will look           list prices.                         has already sold 156 of the 224      homes do likewise, he adds.
making separate monthly lease         to lease First Nations and pri-        At ARIA he was able to            units available near Chilliwack
payments.                             vately owned land as a way of       acquire 4.5 acres adjacent to the    – including 100 in the last year      See LEASES              Page 29
May 11, 2006                                                                                                                                                                Page 29

LEASES from Page 28

  Deal protects non-native resident rights
   Other projects being devel-                                              Leases that used to take two      tected because their buildings       Mark’s Work Wear House big-
oped on First Nations land                                               years to complete now take two       are on reserve land that is not      box outlets on land adjacent to
through leases include Rykon’s                                           months, he adds. In the past, he     part of a land-claims dispute.       Highway 97.
Sonoma Pines site next to             Special Report – Real Estate       says, the federal Indian and           As well, the Westbank self-          The area is a popular tourist
ARIA on WFN land, and Sun                                                Northern Affairs and Justice         g overnment agreement and            waystop because it is near
Rivers Estates near Kamloops.
   Bob Bassett, a Westbank-
                                             Development                 ministries had final approval
                                                                         over leases, and deals were
                                                                                                              other related land-management
                                                                                                              agreements stipulate the rights
                                                                                                                                                   the Coquihalla Connector,
                                                                                                                                                   which links the Okanagan to
based lawyer and principal of                                            changed frequently after they        of non-native residents will be      other parts of Central B.C.
Bassett and Company, whose           ment last year.                     were negotiated by the WFN.          protected. An elected advisory       and the Lower Mainland, as
firm assists non-native buyers          The WFN became the first            Now the WFN has the final         council comprising non-native        well as the Hope-Princeton
with residential and commer-         Aboriginal band to achieve          say. Money from the lease actu-      residents who will collaborate       Highway.
cial property purchases, says it’s   self-government after it signed     ally goes to residents who have      with the band council is being         “The benefit for the First
difficult to predict future leas-    an agreement with Ottawa in         certificates of possession on the    set up, with an election expect-     Nation is that they develop
ing on First Nations land across     2003 and the former Liberal         property – who are known as          ed this summer.                      their land consistent with an
B.C. because different native        g overnment granted royal           locatees – not the band’s gov-         Meanwhile, mixed-use devel-        economic development plan
bands are at different levels of     assent to legislation covering      ernment, says Bassett. But the       opers, including Va n c o u ve r -   that they have set out over a
their treaty negotiations with       the deal in 2004.                   band, which represents “Her          based Anthem Properties, are         number of years,” says Bassett.
the provincial and federal gov-         According to the terms of the    Majesty the Queen,” receives         building retail complexes that         (Monte Stewart can be reached at
ernments. The B. C. Tre a t y        agreement, WFN was granted          ongoing property tax revenue         include Canadian T i re and          monte@businessedge.ca)
Commission negotiates on             all rights, powers and privileges   and is able to use it for projects
behalf of both.                      of a landowner, while the           that benefit all residents.
   Developers have been build-       band’s lands are still considered      Ottawa still governs property
ing homes on Westbank land           a re s e rve as defined by the      taxation and conducts annual
since 1974 through leases with       Indian Act.                         reviews using the same method
O t t awa, s ays Bassett, whose         Unlike the landmark Nisga’a      as the B. C. Assessment
firm has handled more than           agreement in northwestern           Authority.
1,000 transactions.                  B.C., no land claims are dealt         “We are in a position where
   But future development on         with under the legislation.         we’re looking at a brand new
wFN land will be a popular              “ With      self-gove rnment,    townsite, open and ready to
“no-brainer,” he adds, because       Westbank First Nation is wide       go,” says Bassett.
the band achieved self-govern-       open for business,” says Bassett.      Non-native buyers are pro-

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Page 30                                                                                                                                                                    May 11, 2006

 Contractor on mission to change industry
                                                                                                                                                        Skilled Care e rs Centre, will
 TV reno expert                                                                                                                                         allow Conestoga to increase its
                                                                                                                                                        plumbing programs to accom-
 launches new                                                                                                       Special Report – Real Estate        modate 192 students, rising
                                                                                                                                                        from the current 120.
   foundation                                                                                                                Renovation                    Carpentry could also grow
                                                                                                                                                        from 144 students to 240 and
By Laura Severs                                                                                                                                         the move of these trades from
Business Edge                                                                                                      and reputation of all skilled        their Guelph campus will allow
                                                                                                                   trades in Canada, using              new programming in industrial
           ike Holmes is laying a                                                                                  Holmes’ reputation to encour-        and transportation trades at that
M          foundation that could
ultimately change the Canadian
                                                                                                                   age young people to pursue
                                                                                                                   careers in the skilled trades and
                                                                                                                                                           Conestoga is hoping to start
building industry.                                                                                                 to encourage employers to hire       the renovation technician pro-
   This contractor is on a mis-                                                                                    them.                                gram at the Waterloo campus
sion, one that extends beyond                                                                                          Van Weert is already working     with an intake of about 30 stu-
his popular Holmes on Homes                                                                                        with Ontario’s Conestoga             dents in September.
TV series on HGTV, where he’s                                                                                      College Institute of Technology         “With sufficient support, the
known for making it right by                                                                                       and Advanced Learning, which         new campus will also allow us
correcting botched residential                                                                                     has its main campus in               to develop other construction
construction and re n ova t i o n                                                                                  Kitchener, to discuss working        trades at this campus in the near
jobs.                                                                                                              t ogether on online courses.         future such as drywall and roof-
   Holmes has just launched the                                                                                    They are also in discussion          ing,” adds Town.
Holmes Foundation, which has                                                                                       about seeing part of Conestoga’s        The foundation is also in
an objective of ensuring that all                                                                                  expansion in Waterloo take on        talks with Skills Canada, a
residential renovation and con-                                                                                    the Holmes name.                     national not-for-profit organi-
struction in Canada is done                                                                                            “We are thrilled to be mov-      zation that promotes careers in
right – the first time.                                                                                            ing ahead on this exciting part-     skilled trades and technologies
   The fix-it man with 20 years                                                                                    nership with Mike Holmes and         to Canadian youth, about an ad
of professional experience                                                                                         the Holmes Foundation who            campaign with Holmes as a
doesn’t believe that he has                                                                                        believe in encouraging young         spokesman for the association.
bitten off more than he can                                                                                        people to pursue skilled trades,”       For Holmes, getting more
c h ew After five seasons of                                                                                       says Ingrid Town, executive          young people into the trades is
shows where he cleans up after                                                                                     d i re c t o r, development and      important.
other contractors’ mistakes,                                                  Photo courtesy of Holmes on Homes    alumni relations for the college.       “This is a big part of what I
Holmes says a lot more needs         TV star Mike Holmes is targeting substandard renovations.                         Town says some of the first      want to get into, putting the
to be accomplished than just                                                                                       online re n ova t i o n technician   new kids in the right direction
assisting the small number of        foundation, and build the house          homeowners are making them-          courses will include compo-          of apprenticeship and letting
homeowners he can help each          that will serve as the model for         selves increasingly vulnerable to    nents on safety, materials and       them know that it’s a good
TV season in the Gre a t e r         n ew homes               across the      unscrupulous contractors in the      tools, industry backgro u n d ,      career to be in,” he says.
Toronto Area (GTA).                  country. The prototype is eco-           future,” says van Weert.             business ethics and “gre e n ”          “Obviously we don’t have
   “I have been fixing a lot of      friendly, energy efficient and             To ease the shortage, she says     building and renovating.             enough good pros out there
sloppy, lazy and dangero u s         resistant to fire, water and             the foundation will partner              The new Waterloo campus, in      now.”
work,” says Holmes. “I want to       mould. It is designed to stand           with schools, businesses and         addition to the anticipated             (Laura Severs can be reached at
raise the bar of the construction    the test of time and is expected         governments to raise the profile     Holmes A p p renticeship &           laura@businessedge.ca)
industry and stop the slow           to meet LEED (leadership in
death of craftsmanship in this       energy and environmental
country.”                            design) Canada standards.                   INDUSTRIAL CONDOS FOR SALE
   His plan includes the intro-         “I’ve designed for the (home)
duction of a prototype state-of-     for the last year,” says Holmes.
the-art house that will serve as     “I swear every Canadian’s jaw
a model for similar homes to be      will drop.”
built across the country; estab-        But it will be a little while
lishing a network of qualified       before others get to experience
p rofessionals who will lend         the home Holmes says could
their services to families across    change the industry.
Canada by undertaking to                “We’re approximately two
correct bungled re n ova t i o n     years away,” s ays Holmes.
p ro j e c t s ; and to encourage    “What I’d like to do personally
young people to pursue careers       is build the first community in
in the skilled trades.               the GTA and, once that’s done,
   That’s where the charitable       I’m hoping that’s enough to
Holmes Foundation comes in.          train all the people I need to
   Holmes decided it was time
to move forward with the proj-
                                     and (then) run with Mike
                                     H o l m e s - a p p roved contractors.       114th Avenue Business Centre
ect after visiting a couple who      It’s in the works right now. I’m
wanted to add a second storey
to their small bungalow.
                                     trying to find the best builders
                                     to get them to jump aboard on
                                                                                          4143 114th Avenue S. E., Calgary
The renovation, according to
Holmes, was a bad one and
                                        The foundation is not limit-                                              4800 sq. ft. and up
marks the first time the Holmes      ing itself to helping others who
on Homes crew was faced with a       are in need. It plans at least one
situation where it would be          residential renovation project a                                                               For information, contact
easier to tear down an entire        year in each province by using                                                                 Jaymont Developers Inc.
house rather than trying to fix      reliable local contractors, says
what was there.                      foundation executive director                                                                     Tel: (403) 640-7280
   Show viewers will be able to      Ingrid van Weert.
see the project in a special to be      “In Canada, there is a desper-                                                                 Fax: (403) 640-0438
televised at the end of 2006 or      ate and growing shortage of                                                                    Email: jaymont@telus.net
in early 2007.                       skilled workers, and unless
   Holmes will raise the money       youth are encouraged to enter                                                                     www.jaymont.com
for this project through the         this employment field, all
May 11, 2006                                                                                                                                                                       Page 31

FSBO from Page 21

 Experience crucial in homeselling process
   Schollen says her company                “If it’s an arm’s-length situa-   env i ro nmental conditions or         an agent, who could lose his        hire a licensed appraiser – at
takes that approach for legal            tion where somebody is dealing       condominium ownership.                 licence if he acts illegally or     least once and possibly twice –
reasons. If someone calls asking         with somebody that’s reputable,          “I find that people (who sell      makes a mistake, is bound to act    to determine the correct prop-
for assistance finding additional        or they’ve got somebody work-        their own homes) have no               in a client’s best interest.        erty value.
help, she refers them to the             ing for both of them, there’s not    experience or very little expe-           Bain has seen several FSBO          In Endo’s case, the bu yer
closest real estate association.         usually a problem,” says Bain,       rience,” says Bain.                    deals fall through over as little   approached him after she saw
   M a ny other FSBO listing             adding a law yer often gets              As a result, he says, many sell-   as a $1,000 or $2,000 difference    “for sale” signs on the property.
companies take the same no-              involved early in FSBO trans-        ers whose properties have per-         in the selling price. “The fric-    He says one key factor enabled
referral approach. But several           actions.                             sonal or sentimental value often       tion or the stress between a        him to sell the house after the
sites offer articles on how to sell         Bain, who operates GM Bain        receive less than they would           buyer and a seller comes to a       agent could not.
your own home while also pro-            Real Estate Services Ltd., has       through an agent.                      point where (the deal) breaks          “I think it was the fact we
viding links to other real estate        participated in many FSBO                In FSBO deals, Bain con-           down, whereas if (an agent)         had a much more vested inter-
industry resources.                      deals. In such cases, he says, the   tends, a buyer may be vulnera-         were involved, they would be        est in it, and we put a lot of
   Michael Lawrence, marketing           buyer may sign a contract, the       ble because he has nobody act-         able to bridge the difference       time and effort into it, to be
d i rector for To ro n t o - b a s e d   agent could get paid from the        ing for him, or a shrewd buyer         because they don’t have an          honest with you,” says Endo.
PropertySold.ca, says about              transaction fees, or the commis-     can fleece the seller.                 emotional involvement.”                He also relied on his previous
20 per cent of properties listed         sion that the seller pays the            “The buyer all of a sudden            He says sellers have to under-   experience selling his late
in the last three months have            agent could be 50 per cent less      has the upper hand because he          stand that an agent’s fees are      mother’s Vernon, B.C., home
sold. But most deals still involve       than usual.                          knows values or has done this          negotiable right up to the time     with an agent, techniques he
agents, he adds.                            Bayne says many FSBO sell-        real estate business many times,       of closing. And, t h e re ’s “no    uses in his sales position with
   “In frank terms, many people          ers don’t know about, or             or maybe the buyer wants to            comparison” between an agent’s      Canada Post, and lessons he
simply lack the work ethic or            understand, changes in re a l        beat up the seller (price-wise)        network of past clients, industry   learned while observing agents
marketing savvy to successfully          estate law that have occurred        . . . and the seller has nobody to     contacts and referrals and an       as they showed the house.
promote their home sale,” says           over the past decade – for           protect him,” says Bain.               FSBO’s potential-client base.          (Monte Stewart can be reached at
Lawrence.                                example, n ew rules covering             On the other hand, he says,           He advises FSBO sellers to       monte@businessedge.ca)
   He says PropertySold.ca is
designed to complement –
rather than replace – real estate
agents. He says his site can offer
Multiple Listing Service-equiv-
alent aid at a much lower cost,
while the company also
encourages FSBO sellers to
purchase classified ads in news-
papers and promote their prop-
erties via other means.
   Launched           in     2004,
PropertySold.ca listed only
Greater Toronto Area properties
before expanding nationally in
Ja nu a ry. President and CEO
Vadim Kirichenko and vice-
president Boris Michailov –
who have backgrounds in
information technology and
run other websites – and a
silent partner who is an agent,
started up with $50,000.
   The group initially planned
to operate a real estate maga-
zine enhanced by a website, but
the magazine ran into financial
difficulties after a few issues
because the company gave away
free listings.
   The site became more popu-
lar among advertisers and the
magazine stopped printing, says
Lawrence, a civil engineer who
joined the company and
became a co-owner this year.
   The site lists a range of prop-
erties, but Law rence says it
tends to attract advertisers who
want to sell specialty properties,
such as waterfront homes.
   Yard signs play an important
role in attracting advertisers.
   “If they see something in the
real world that backs up what
they see on the Internet, it
increases your credibility,” says
Law re n c e, who contends it’s
not that difficult to sell your
own home – if you give it the
exposure that it needs.
   Gary Bain, a Calgary-based
agent, s ays an FSBO deal’s
chances of success depend on
the seller’s real estate knowledge.
Page 32                                                                                                                                                          May 11, 2006

 Home, healthy home is new store’s mantra
                                                                                                                                      And while the project has taken more
  Products address                                                                                                                    than two years and already includes
                                                                                                                                      passive solar heating, passive geo-
   concerns over                                                                                                                      thermal heat, triple-pane windows and
                                                                                                                                      keen attention to using products that
 home contaminants                                                                                                                    do not produce toxic off-gasses, they’ve
                                                                                                                                      found it difficult to find eco-friendly

              ne of Alberta’s newest                                                                                                  alternatives to everything from paint to
              home-building supply                                                                                                    adhesives.
              companies aims to lighten                                                                                                  They’ve been to Calver’s new store
              the decision-making load                                                                                                and liked what they saw.“It’s a
carried by consumers and contractors                                                                                                  challenge to find environmentally
who want to build or renovate a home                                                                                                  friendly products to have a healthy
using environmentally sustainable                                                                                                     house and to find something that’s
building materials and practices.                                                                                                     aesthetically pleasing,” notes Rowena.
  “I would be happy enough if some                                                                                                       Others are equally supportive.
of the big developers just offered (these                                                                                                “I’m very impressed with the
kind of products) as an option,” says                                                                                                 knowledge of the general public
                         owner Roxanne                                                                                                when they call me” for advice and
                         Calver.                                                                                                      information, adds Tang Lee, a professor
                            A licensed real                                                                                           of architecture at the Faculty of
                         estate agent and                                                                                             Environmental Design, University of
                         experienced                                                                                                  Calgary.
                         homebuilder in                                                                                                  Renowned for his work in sustain-
                         Calgary, Calver’s                                                                                            able building science and environmen-
                         life-long interest                                                                                           tal health, Lee says companies like The
                         in healthy home                                                                                              Healthiest Home make sense, given
                         environments                                                                                                 heightened concern over an increasing-
                         and ecological                                                                                               ly toxic environment and the fact “the
Joy Gregory             sustainability                                                                                                home environment can have more air
Business Edge           gained practical                                                                                              contaminants than outdoors.”
                        momentum                                                                                                         While laws governing personal safety
when her youngest son, now an adult,                                                                                                  of employees and consumers may factor
experienced ongoing health problems                                                                                                   in exposure to specific levels of a con-
related to the off-gasses produced                                                                                                    taminant, they don’t yet deal with the
by traditionally manufactured home                                                                                                    concept of how same-time exposure to
products, including carpets, paint and                                                                                                multiple contaminants from off-gassing
furniture.                                                                                                                            leaves some people more susceptible to
  Now, she’s offering a kind of one-                                                                                                  health problems, especially if they’re
stop-shopping experience for the                                                                                                      exposed in a home environment where
ecologically aware (or afraid, as the                                                                                                 they spend most of their day, says Lee.
case may be).The Healthiest Home                                                                                                         Calver has seen those health
and Building Supplies retail store,                                                                                                   problems first hand, and while each of
located in the Calgary community                                                                                                      the three homes she and her husband
of The Bridges at 833 1 Ave. N.E.,                                                                                                    Chris have built took several more steps
opened in mid-February of this year.                                                                                                  towards being healthier environments,
  The first-ever franchise outlet of an                                                                                               she admits that doing all of the research
Ottawa-based company that started in                                                                                                  yourself can be a little overwhelming.
2003,The Healthiest Home stocks an                                                                                                       A first-time retailer, she hopes
aesthetically pleasing selection of                                                                                                   others who share her passion for the
‘green’ building supplies that range                                                                                                  environment and have had the
from eco-friendly flooring to non-                                                                   Larry MacDougal, Business Edge   same experience will welcome an
toxic paints, water-saving toilets, water     Roxanne Calver’s store offers alternatives to traditional household products and        opportunity to drop by her store and
purification systems for homes and RVs        building practices, placing more emphasis on health and sustainability.                 have virtually all of their healthy home
and kitchen cabinets made of straw-                                                                                                   needs met at a single site.
board and reclaimed wood veneer.                                                          Healthiest Home will handle all of             A businesswoman at heart, she’s also
  In addition to recycled wood, cork,                                                     The Acqua’s flooring needs. Future          convinced her store makes economic
bamboo and rubber-tree flooring, the                                                      Windmill projects in Calgary will likely    sense given Calgary’s current housing
outlet offers wool carpets with a                                                         source even more of their building          boom, coupled with its prosperity and
biodegradable underlay of hair and jute
                                                   Special Report – Real Estate           supplies from the franchisee.               the relative youth of its highly-educat-
(a plant fibre), an ecologically safe                                                       Amber Sparrow, sales and marketing        ed population. (Research shows the
selection of home cleaning products                       Environment                     manager for Windmill Development            young and educated are particularly
and glass tile and dinnerware made of                                                     Group in Calgary, credits the proximity     keen to make decisions based on envi-
100-per-cent post-consumer recycled                                                       of downtown office and retail amenities     ronmental health and sustainability.)
glass.                                           Under an independent audit system        to quick sales of Vento and Acqua              But she’s no dreamer.This spring, she
  Calver, whose clientele include             developed by LEED,The Vento is              condos.                                     and her husband will move their two
buyers from Edmonton to Lethbridge,           expected to earn platinum certification,      Most buyers also liked the buildings’     adult sons into a brand new condo-
sees the store as a practical response to     says Jonathan Westeinde, managing           environmental features. “It might not       minium – but not before the family
growing consumer interest in healthy          partner at Windmill.That would make         have been the primary reason that they      goes in and physically replaces the
homes. And she notes the store’s physi-       it the first platinum LEED-certified        purchased (but it mattered),” says          equally-new off-gassing carpets with a
cal location as an example of where the       residential complex in the nation and       Sparrow, who admits buyers were more        cork or engineered-wood floor.
healthy home industry is headed.              Westeinde is convinced its construction     knowledgeable than expected about the          It seems ridiculous to have to do this
  Her store is one of several street-level    materials and building practices will set   ecological and health benefits of           in a brand-new building, but under the
retail spaces located in a building called    a new industry standard over the next       Windmill’s construction choices.            construction rules, they had to go with
The Vento. Built by the Windmill              decade.                                       That knowledge is no surprise to          what the developer offered. Calver
Development Group, it includes 20                Those standards are already being        Calgarians Larry and Rowena                 shrugs. She knows consumers can and
town-home condo suites (plus two              used at The Acqua, a similar residen-       Cromwell, part of a growing cohort of       do expect more, but that’s a whole
additional affordable housing units           tial/retail development by Windmill         Calgarians whose health issues have         other story.
owned by the City of Calgary) and is          that’s under construction in The            motivated their own research into the          Web Watch:
certified under the national leadership       Bridges. Calver’s company opened its        healthy home.                                  www.thehealthiesthome.com
in energy and environmental design            doors after The Acqua construction            They’re building a retirement                (Joy Gregory can be reached at
(LEED) program.                               began, but Westeinde expects The            home/art studio in Crowsnest Pass.          joy@businessedge.ca)
May 11, 2006                                                            Page 33

 High gas prices spell
 opportunity for CPR
The Canadian Press                     Train speeds were up 17 per
                                    cent in the first quarter ending
   Rising fuel prices that have     March 31, which creates more
hampered the trucking indus-        capacity without physical
try are a potential boon to train   investment.
transport, says the new CEO of         Outgoing        CEO       Rob
Canadian Pacific Railway.           Ritchie, who ran the company
   “We can move the equivalent      for 11 years, told the annual
of 200 trucks on one train,” says   shareholders meeting last week
Fred Green, president and the       that the track expansion, which
n ew chief executive of the         came in on time and on budg-
Calgary-based freight carrier.      et despite record levels of traf-
   The big freight hauler is        fic, is already paying dividends.
forecasting five to eight per          CPR described 2005 as the
cent growth in 2006, largely on     busiest and most successful year
the major track expansion           in its 125-year history, with
completed on its western leg        strong reve nue growth pro-
during 2005.                        pelling its annual profit to a
   That has allowed the compa-      record $543 million, up 32 per
ny to increase its capacity by 12   cent from 2004.
per cent, but Green said other         Capital investments for 2006
efficiencies have the potential     a re forecast between $810
to boost that further. This         million and $825 million, while
means tougher competition           free cashflow is expected to
with long-haul truckers.            exceed $200 million.
   “We’re not sure how much            Green said the company is
more capacity we have; we           well positioned to meet bulk
know it’s more than 12 (per         export growth in North
cent),” says Green, who was         America and Asia-Pacific.
president and chief operating          CPR is one of North
officer before taking over the      America’s six remaining large
firm’s top job.                     railroads, with a network
   “As we started to use that       stretching more than 22,500
capacity, we were able to run the   kilometres from Vancouver to
railway much more efficiently.”     Montreal and into the U.S.
Page 34                                                                                                                                                                May 11, 2006

                                                                         private jets, the concept for-         Intrawest’s Resort to Resort net-   the rolling mountains and play at
                                            ALYSEN PLACE                 malized the idea of a group of         work, and offer your suite to       your pick of 14 exceptional area
                                        Why all the excitement about     relatives or friends pooling           Solara’s rental program when                           ,
                                                                                                                                                    golf courses. ATV hang-gliding,
                                     the new Alysen Place in             their resources to buy a vaca-         you can’t be there.                 paragliding, fishing and river
                                     Penticton, B.C.?                    tion retreat.                            Upgrade your downtime at          rafting are just a few examples of
                                        What makes the new Alysen           Fractional ownership offers         Solara. Find our more by con-       local attractions.
      ROYAL PRIVATE                  Place condominiums so differ-       individuals the opportunity to         tacting the resort sales team at       Warm beaches and sandy
     RESIDENCE CLUB                  ent from other condominium          buy a partial ownership of a           1.866.3SOLARA, or visit             shores are just a few minutes
   Imagine owning luxury             developments in Penticton?          luxury residence in a re s o rt area   www.SolaraResort.com. Also,         away. Or relax in the therapeu-
waterfront property in the heart     The first indication of excep-      such as LaCasa on the Lake.            see the display ad on Page 35.      tic embrace of natural hot-
of the Okanagan!                     tion is location. Alysen Place      LaCasa on the Lake residences                                              springs.
   That is exactly what prospec-     will be strategically situated on   are architecturally designed, fee          THREE S ISTERS                     At the end of your day in the
tive owners are imagining as         one of the most beautiful           simple, strata cottages integrat-         MOUNTAIN V ILLAGE                great outdoors, head back to
they take their first look at the    pieces of property in Penticton.    ed into a setting of natural              The driving force behind the     your spacious Schickedanz
breathtaking view from                  The orientation of this devel-   beauty to create a breathtaking        recreational real estate boom in    West townhome to enjoy the
Kelowna’s Royal Private              opment will allow for optimal       lakefront resort and the perfect       Canmore is Three Sisters            splendor of a riveting sunset.
Residence Club.                      views to the surrounding            lakeside home for you.                 Mountain Village – a world-class,   Wake up to spectacular views
   “They’re astonished at the        mountains and beautiful land-          The site includes:                  four-season resort that is des-     of mountains and wetlands
visual feast,” says Louise           scaped grounds, featuring a         ■ 2,100 feet of Okanagan lake-         tined to become North America’s     through huge windows in the
Willerton, Royal PRC Director        lovely water feature, gazebo        front access;                          premier Health, Wellness and        1340-sq.-ft., 3-bedroom homes.
of Sales. “They look out across      and outdoor firepit surrounded      ■ marina and boat launch;              Adventure Resort. Located in        All units have 11-ft. ceilings in
the lake, to the mountains and       by paths and benches through-       ■ swimming pool and hot tub;           Canadian Rocky Mountains at         the great room and all have
the wineries across the way and      out. Located in southern            ■ mini-golf;                           the gateway to Banff & Lake         garages. Some have walkout
they feel like they’re in the lap    Penticton between two of the        ■ BBQ picnic area;                     Louse the resort encompasses        basements.
of luxury surrounded by nature       most beautiful lakes in Canada,     ■ tennis courts;                       some 2,000 acres of pristine           Radium beckons with more
and beauty.”                         Skaha Lake and Lake                 ■ grocery store and deli; and          wilderness and 360 degrees of       than 2,000 hours of sunshine
   Who among us could not            Okanagan, warm, bright              ■ liquor store.                        breath-taking mountain views.       per year, with an average sum-
imagine a life like this . . . and   Okanagan days, beautiful               A LaCasa cottage also presents         Purchasers from around the       mer high of 25°C.
some choose to make the              orchards and vineyards that         the ultimate corporate invest-         world have been attracted to           Escape the fast pace of city
dream come true. The Royal           surround you are just a few         ment. Whether you are enter-           this magnificent resort, which      living in the sun-drenched
Private Residence Club com-          more reasons why people are         taining clients, inspiring the         offers authentic mountain           recreation resort of Radium.
bines the natural flavour of the     so excited about Alysen Place.      troops in a retreat, or using the      architecture and opportunities      Come see the showhomes and
Okanagan Valley with an urban           The second indication of         vacation home as a reward for          to indulge in both outdoor and      make the decision to embrace
resort destination. Located          exception is the amenities          your top producers, a LaCasa           cultural pursuits amid the          the lifestyle of the Borregos,
beside the Grand Okanagan            package, including on-site          property is terrific investment.       unspoiled splendor of this          where life simply feels good.
Lakefront Resort on the edge of      concierge and courtesy-vehicle      And don’t forget it’s a tax write-     Rocky Mountain playground.             For more information, see
Kelowna’s vibrant Cultural and       service that will be offered to     off when used for business.               Residents and visitors can       the display ad on Page 12,
Entertainment District, it is the    residents. Also available to           For more information, see           enjoy 365 days of high-altitude     call 1-250-347-7722 or
perfect base from which to           residents is a large multi-         the display ad on Page 31, or          adventure from world-class          1-877-733-7932 or
explore the delights of the          functional room with kitchen        contact Bob Stewart at                 golf, hiking, biking, fishing and   visit the website at
Okanagan Valley.                     and entertainment area to easi-     604.842.2428 or e-mail                 climbing, as well as downhill,      www.schickedanzwest.com
   The 70 fully furnished and        ly accommodate small or larger      rstewart@ocis.net.                     heli and Nordic skiing.
equipped Villas of the Tuscan-       gatherings and a guest suite.                                                 The Sanctuary at Three              B IGHORN MEADOWS
inspired Royal Private                  These Craftsmen-style con-                   S OLARA                    Sisters will be a place of relax-            RESORT
Residence Club range in size         dominiums will range in size           It’s a rare and beautiful thing     ation and luxurious amenities          Bighorn Meadows Resort is
from 730 sq. ft. to 2,900 sq. ft.    between 850 sq. ft. for a one-      to spend relaxing, energizing          such as a five-star Spa and         located on a nine-acre site sur-
The steel and concrete con-          bedroom-plus-den suite and          downtime with the ones you             Wellness Centre, shopping and       rounded on three sides by the
struction of the project pro-        1,655 sq. ft. for a two-bed-        love in the pristine mountain          dining, and a second golf           Springs at Radium Golf Course
vides long-term durability and       room-plus-den penthouse.            environment of the Canadian            course (the first being Stewart     in the Village of Radium Hot
assures a quiet living environ-         Alysen Place is in close prox-   Rockies. Rarer still is the            Creek Golf and Country Club,        Springs, B.C. The Resort con-
ment. All villas have generous       imity to beautiful parks, beach-    opportunity to own a vacation          consistently rated at 4.5 stars     sists of 180 self-contained one-,
decks or patios, spectacular         es, restaurants and shopping.       property in the most innova-           by Golf Digest).                    2- and 3-bedroom suites. The
water views and exquisite inte-      Located within a stone’s throw      tive, captivating and truly luxu-         The Village at Three Sisters,    vision of the resort is to pro-
riors. Suntan on the deck or         of Skaha Lake without being in      rious mountain resort in               will be the perfect counterpoint    vide high-end, hassle-free luxu-
unwind with a massage in the         the midst of the commotion,         Western Canada.                        to The Sanctuary which will be      ry living. The units are spa-
spa. Gaze at the lake while you      residents can take full advan-         Solara Canmore Resort &             a vibrant marketplace and a         cious and have luxury features
work out in the fitness area.        tage of the natural beauty of       Spa is the luxury mountain             gathering place for people who      . . . master bedroom and living
Relax in the roof-top infinity       southern Penticton.                 resort reinvented. Imagine             own properties at Three Sisters     room walkout balconies, fire-
pool or hot tub while you               For information, see the         owning a stunning vacation             and for people who are passing      places, high-end furnishings
watch the sunset. You may not        display ad on Page 33.              condominium amidst amenities           through the Rockies or visiting     such as leather, tile and granite
want to leave.                       Register for your VIP               that are simply unlike anything        Canmore. The Village will pro-      and lock-off units.
   Villas are available starting     preview opportunity at              you have experienced before.           vide a range of café’s, restau-        The Resort amenities will
from $97,900 for fractional          www.alysenplace.com.                   Relax in the exquisite and          rants, galleries, shopping and      include meeting lounge,
ownership or $795,900 for full       You can also call toll free         expansive spa, enjoy a cooking         recreational outfitters. For        conference facilities, barbeque
ownership, if that suits your        877.666.5903 to speak to a          class with friends in Solara’s         more details, see the display ad    deck, playground, swimming
lifestyle. Professional rental       representative or e-mail            own culinary school, watch the         on Page 9, visit www.tsmv.ca or     pool, hot tubs, shower and
management is available and an       discover@alysenplace.com.           best of the film festivals in the      call 403-264-9944.                  change rooms, kids’ water park,
affiliation with the World’s                                             100-seat theatre, dine at                                                  tennis court/ice rink, beach
Finest Resorts allows Royal                      LACASA                  Solara’s signature restaurant or             B ORREGOS AND                 volleyball and other activities
Private Residence Club owners                 ON THE L AKE               in-suite with a guest chef at               B ORREGO V ILLAS               to make you vacation memo-
to trade time in their villa for        A second home has been           your service, hang out with              It’s the simple pleasures that    rable. Own your fractional or
vacations in other luxurious         called the ultimate discre-         your kids in the magically             mean the most at the Borregos       whole share of this beautiful
resorts around the world.The         tionary purchase, something         inspired KidsZone, or chat over        and Borrego Villas in Radium,       five-star resort and escape to
Discovery Center for the proj-       that many people would like to      cocktails and innovative cui-          B.C. Bird-watch within the beau-    your Rocky Mountain getaway.
ect is open daily and is in the      have, but that no one needs.        sine in the Clubhouse.                 ty of the lush Columbia wet-           For more information,
Grand Okanagan Lakefront                In 1994, a new concept              Limited full and shared own-        lands. Hike through alpine val-     see the display ad on Page 23.
Resort. See the display ad on        debuted: Fractional ownership       ership opportunities are now           leys teeming with wildflowers.      Call 1.888.766.9637 or
Page 13, call 866.322.5678 or        of vacation homes. Patterned        available. Enjoy every moment            There’s more, a whole lot more    visit the website at
visit www.royal-kelowna.com.         after fractional ownership of       you can at Solara, exchange in         for the outdoor enthusiast! Ski     www.bighornmeadows.ca.
May 11, 2006   Page 35
                                   Page 36                                                                                     May 11, 2006

Business failing to harness ’Net advantage
                                        ITAC says Canadians ‘shooting ourselves in foot’
      n many parts of the                                                                                                                       federal Telecommunications
      world today, the Internet                                                                                                                 Policy Review Panel conclud-
      is one of those new-      households have the Internet.           puters and related technology.      sense 25 years ago,” he says.       ed in its final report that:
      fangled western things       “We’re so far ahead of the              ITAC views all this as a seri-   “But when you see how much          “Weakness in ICT investment
that remains a light year or    U.S. in broadband Internet              ous problem and this January        the world has changed, we’re        is an important factor con-
two removed from the lives of   use at home that it astounds            formed what it calls the            shooting ourselves in the foot.”    tributing to Canada’s weak
ordinary people.                people,” says Bernard Courtois,         e-Team, a 10-member                   Canadian attitudes are also       productivity performance . . .
  According to an illuminating president of the Ottawa-based            committee of representatives        playing a role, Courtois says.      Increased investment, there-
piece in the May issue of The   Information Technology                  from leading companies              Using the Internet and, more        fore, represents an opportunity
Atlantic Monthly, less than 10  Association of Canada (ITAC).           including IBM, Bell Canada,         broadly, computer technology        for improved performance at
per cent of the                               When it comes to          Microsoft Canada and                as business tools requires new      the economywide level.”
citizenry of China,                                   we’re
                            OPINION business, well. not                 Hewlett-Packard, to investi-        ways of thinking and fresh             ITAC is focusing on small
Iran and Saudi                             doing as                     gate. More recently the             approaches. It usually forces       and medium-sized business
Arabia enjoy access                        According to                 committee commissioned an           companies to retrain their          because that is where the prob-
and they also must                         research conducted           in-depth study of small to          employees to take full advan-       lem and the greatest opportu-
endure the most                            in 2003 by Statistics        medium-sized companies to           tage of the opportunities           nities lie. Such companies rep-
rigid and compre-                          Canada, 97 per cent          find out why they are not           presented by technology. But        resent a far larger chunk of the
hensive censorship.                        of large companies           using computer technology to        businesses in this country          economy in Canada than they
  Canada is at the                         and 76 per cent of           grow their business.                appear to be less likely than       do in the U.S.Therefore, they
opposite end of the                        smaller ones are                Courtois suspects there are      their U.S. counterparts to          need to get bigger if we hope
spectrum.This                              connected.                   some legitimate barriers that       abandon the tried and tested.       to see sustained growth in gross
country is a world                            Another survey            prevent them from employing           ITAC says that under-             domestic product. And when
leader in terms of                         conducted in 2003,           the Internet for much more          utilization is worrisome            they grow, good things happen.
access and freedom.                        this one by the              than e-mail or creating a           because Canada lags the U.S.           “What you need to build an
A rather astonishing D’Arcy Jenish         Canadian eBusiness           website. For one thing, they        in productivity growth, and         economy is small and medium
98 per cent of urban Business Edge         Initiative, revealed         usually lack the in-house           computer technology is now          firms that want to get larger,”
households, and 69                         that only 29 per             expertise required to put tech-     generally recognized as having      Courtois says. “We’ve commis-
per cent of rural homes, have   cent of Canadian companies              nology to work in a way that        the power to make a nation’s        sioned research that shows that
access to broadband or high-    had their own websites and a            will drive sales and revenue.       workforce more productive.          the biggest economic gains
speed Internet. Almost 50       mere six per cent were using               Taxes are another problem,         Several studies in recent         come from turning small firms
per cent subscribe, and they    the Internet to sell online.            Courtois says. Investments in       years have concluded the            into mid-sized ones. They
receive it via cable, telephone Furthermore, firms in this              computer hardware and soft-         investment in information and       contribute the largest revenue,
or satellite.                   country invest, on average,             ware attract higher taxes than      communications technology           employment and research and
  That puts us way ahead of     only 48 per cent per                    money spent on other types of       (ICT) can improve the volume        development growth.”
the United States, where        employee of what their U.S.             equipment.                          and value of economic output.          (D’Arcy Jenish can be reached
only about 35 per cent of       counterparts spend on com-                 “That might have made            This March, for example, the        at jenish@businessedge.ca)

U.S. network swoons over commodities boom
    omehow, I figured it would take             Of course, in Canada the commodi-         year, you know there’s                                     n, do your homework or
                                                                                                                             FINANCIAL i‘due diligence’ before buying.
S   CNBC another year or so to put
two and two together.
                                             ties story is old news. Even our biz net-
                                             work, Report On Business TV, caught on
                                                                                          trouble ahead.The only
                                                                                          question is when.                   OPINION ■ Ask your investment
   But give the All-American Hype            to that fact years ago. But the fact that       Glorified bullmooses on                                adviser for reports about the
Network credit. It has finally come          CNBC, which as a follower of the Wall        the Venture are trading at                                company. If the principals
to terms with reality.There is a             Street tailored suits generally shows up     bu b bly market caps that are                             have a sordid past, it
commodities boom in the market.              at the party just before the band stops      starting to re s e m ble those                            will likely surface in the
   These guys really know how to get a       playing, has jumped aboard the com-          wild dot-coms of six years                                information from the
scoop, eh?                                   modities bandwagon is not good news.         ago.There are 20 stocks on                                research department.
   Until recently, CNBC was just                Not if you’re a commodities investor      the Venture that are up 500                               ■ Search the Internet for a
hyping oil’s rise. Now they’re hyping        up to your eyeballs in oil, gold, silver,    per cent or more in the first                             company website. Good
everything with a shovel and pick in         copper, zinc and uranium stocks – and        four months of the year.                                  businesses are proud of their
it – gold, silver, copper, zinc and, yes,    especially if you’ve been speculating on     Eve ry single one of them is                              work, are likely to have
even politically incorrect uranium!          junior commodities.                          an exploration company.                                   third-party confirmation
   The U.S. biz network has begun run-          If you don’t think there’s froth in the   Some of them probably don’t Gyle Konotopetz               of their results done by
ning entire programs on the commodi-         commodities market, you need to take         even own a pick and shovel.       Business Edge           reputable engineering
ties boom. And recently a commodities        a long, hard look at Canada’s junior            Raging bull markets are a                              services companies, and
commercial broke out on Jimmy                stock market.With the resource-driven        breeding ground for scam artists             their press releases will usually be
(Come Lately) Cramer’s Mad Money             S&P/TSX Venture exchange up more             masquerading as CEOs. If you think it’s more substance than hype.
program (I guess that’s why they call it     than 80 per cent in the past year, the       going to be different this time, you are     ■ Check the biographies of the
Mad Money, because people are mad            speculators of exploration companies         only fooling yourself.                       company’s executives and directors.
the easy money has already been made         stand to take the biggest hit when this         Mal Spooner, CEO of Mavrix                Biographies should list relevant experi-
in many of the stocks Cramer touts).         rock band stops playing.                     Funds (TSX:MVX), provides some tips ence and accomplishments, so be wary
   To emphasize an investment theme             While many large-cap commodities          for separating the pretenders from what if there are bold claims such as “single-
that some of Canada’s top money              stocks still carry reasonable valuations     he terms the “real McCoys” in the            handedly discovered” this or that
managers were investing in three or          and some even look cheap, caution is         resource sector. In his 2005 book,           deposit or mine. If long stretches of
four years ago, Jimmy bit the heads off      warranted if you happen to own shares        Resources Rock, Spooner (featured in 3       time in their careers are unaccounted
his little Teddy bears while waving a        in something with a name like Bull-          Stars on Page 18) lists five key points      for, or if they have suddenly jumped
brochure of a Canadian mining                moose Resources Inc., backed by a            to help speculators avoid getting            from a completely different industry,
company, Northgate Minerals Corp.            slick promoter hawking slick brochures.      hoodwinked by unsavory promoters:            consider that to be a red flag.
(TSX:NGX).                                      When an entire exchange is pushing        ■ If you come across an unusual compa-
   Hey, is that an ominous sign or what?     toward a double in a span of about a         ny in an industry that you’re interested     See KONOTOPETZ                      Page 37
May 11, 2006                                                                                                                                                             Page 37

Celebrity endorsements bring risk, reward
“      o one automatically gives                                                                                                                fast runner.”A television
    N  you respect just because
you show up.You have to earn it.”
                                       Companies should assess optics before sealing deal                                                       commercial, also found on the
                                                                                                                                                D’Angelo Brands website
           – Lance Armstrong.       price of her face is reportedly                                                                             (www.dangelobrands.ca), shows
                                    $1 million per year.                                                                                        Johnson and a cheetah running.
   Brand building is like body         Chanel garnered a great deal                                                                                But D’Angelo also admits
building.Throw some muscle          of unwanted media attention                                                                                 that they “play with words.”
behind it and a stronger image      as the wounded party, but                                                                                   In a second commercial,
is the result. One way that big     since “any publicity is good                                                                                D’Angelo, interviewing
companies drive                                publicity,” they                                                                                 Johnson, asks: “Ben, when you
brand recognition is     BRANDING weren’t hurt too                                                                                              run, do you cheetah?”
to hire a famous           BUSINESS much. As for Ms.                                                                                               Johnson answers:
person to represent                            Moss, she didn’t roll                                                                            “Absolutely. I Cheetah all the
them – the “muscle”                            along stoned forev-                                                                              time.” He then raises a can of
behind the brand.                              er. After a stint in                                                                             Cheetah Power Surge.
   This can be an                              rehab, she’s working                                                                             Johnson’s reputation as a
effective marketing                            again, but her                                                                                   cheater is reinforced.
strategy, even for                             reputation has been                                                                                 Frank D’Angelo says that he
small companies.                               damaged by her                                                                                   believes Johnson deserves a
But it has some                                actions.                                                                                         second chance and he is
risks.                                            Athletes are often                                        Photo courtesy of D’Angelo Brands   hoping that Canadians agree
   Model Kate Moss,                            chosen as icons –        D’Angelo Brands is rolling the dice by using one-time Olympic           and find a positive connection
chosen to be the                               and not only for         golden boy Ben Johnson to promote its Cheetah energy drink.             between his product and its
face of one of                                 athletic wear or                                                                                 promoter.
Chanel’s perfumes,       Brenda McMillan       sports equipment.        their target market.When a         Until now, that is.                     But D’Angelo Brands stresses
was fired because        Business Edge         Tiger Woods has          highly respected athlete              Frank D’Angelo, president         the “all-natural source of
she was photo-                                 recently done testi-     promotes a company, people         and CEO of D’Angelo Brands,          energy without caffeine”
graphed snorting cocaine.           monial-style radio spots in         listen and respond.                a Mississauga-based food pro d-      aspect of its drink.
Since she was hired for her         support of TLC Laser Eye               So, what if an athlete is not   ucts company with about 300             Most Canadians still
integrity as well as her beauty,    Centres. Seems that he now          so well respected?                 employees, has hired Johnson to      associate the runner with
the deal dissolved when her         has 20/15 vision and can play          Ben Johnson, Canada’s one-      promote its newest energy            his use of steroids.This
reputation did.                     golf without contact lenses.        time Olympic golden boy, fell      drink – Cheetah Power Surge.         incongruity could be a
   Chanel replaced her with            Woods is an excellent choice     into instant infamy because of     D’Angelo makes the connec-           problem.
Keira Knightley, a woman who to represent this company                  his steroid use and has never      tion:“Ben was once the world’s
has “kept her nose clean.”The       because he is well known to         recovered from his mistake.        fastest runner. Cheetah is a         See BRANDING            Page 39

KONOTOPETZ from Page 36

Rosy press releases should be red flag to shareholders
■ If the website is short on         to be a short-term phenome-        predicted that “gold is poised     resource stocks, they won’t be       can turn on a dime and
content, then look up the            non, but rather one that will      to move higher.”                   speculating on bullmoose or          glorified bullmoose can be
company’s address or phone           endure so long as global              KWR, which counts the           Mark Twain’s version of a            magically transformed back
number and write or call for         growth and demographic             world’s largest gold producer,     gold mine – “a hole in the           into plain, old bullmoose
current annual reports and           trends continue at any w h e re    Toronto-based Barrick Gold         ground with a liar at the top.”      in a heartbeat.That’s not a
press releases.                      close to present levels.We have    (TSX:ABX), among its clients,      And, when interest wanes in          prediction.That’s just the
   A familiar pattern of late is a   seen this change reflected in      also points out that the boom      the junior resource sector, the      reality of a speculative
penchant by junior resource          numerous conve rsations with       in dot-com stocks “went on         companies hyping bullmoose           market.
companies to try and make            fund managers, banke rs and        far longer and showed far          will undoubtedly be the first        ■ SAGE WORDS: “Just
shareholders feel all warm and       other financial professionals in   more upside on less tangible       to hit the skids, just as the        remember, bulls and bears get
fuzzy with rosy press releases.      recent months.”                    fundamentals than the resource     dot-coms that soared on hot          rich. Pigs get slaughtered.”
One should be particularly              The report, authored by         mania now emerging.”               air and little substance were                        – Mal Spooner,
wary of companies whose              Keith Rabin and Scott                 However, even if                the first to see their bubbles                          Resources Rock.
press releases start out by          MacDonald, also states that        institutional investors were       burst.                                  (Gyle Konotopetz can be
saying they are “very pleased”       “major institutions are just       to take a shine to junior            When sentiment turns, it           reached at gyle@businessedge.ca)
or “extremely pleased” to            beginning to wake up to the
announce their news.This             promise and potential of the
often means that they’re not         resource market. As deep-
very pleased at all.                 pocketed asset managers enter
   However, if you own one of        this market, shortsellers no
the quality juniors with             longer can remain totally
advanced exploration projects        confident of their ability to
and proven leadership, there         shake out and instil fear among
may still be tremendous upside       small institutions, die-hard
for those stocks. At least, that’s   retail investors and others who
the word from a New York-            are unable to withstand this
based economic consulting            pressure without risk or
firm that believes a “major par-     consequences.”
adigm shift” may be emerging            KWR noted that some
in which junior resource com-        major firms have started to
panies, traditionally shunned        sound like some Canadian
by major financial institutions,     firms and U.S. newsletter
begin to earn the attention          writers who have blazed the
and respect from the high-           trail into commodities. It
rollers on Wall Street.              gave examples of references to
   KWR International wrote           the commodities sector by
in a recent report that “institu-    influential U.S. firms such as
tions appear to be slowly re a l-    Citibank, which has stated
izing the rise of commodities,       that the “party isn’t over yet,”
metals and energy is not likely      and Merrill Lynch, which has
                                      Page 38                                                                                        May 11, 2006

Click fraud gives Internet advertisers grief
            d Cartwright of the       countries would hire squadrons         tive advert i s e rs to bid on what   Google blog that his company       to have slowed down searc h
            Canadian Marketing        of people to fire up their com-        they are willing to pay for           ferrets out invalid clicks         advertising. According to the
            Association (CMA)         puters and click merrily away          prominence in the ad listings.        through such tactics as looking    online magazine eMarketer,
            says CMA members          on the targeted ads on the                Over the past couple of            at duplicate IP addresses, user    s e a rch adve rtising income
are beginning to embrace              Google screen display.                 years, advertisers who have           session information, network       totalled an estimated $5.4
so-called “search advertising”           This still goes on today.           twigged to click fraud have           information, geo-targeting and     billion – 42 per cent of all
as an effective way                                 However, its effec-      successfully demanded partial         browser information.               2005 online adve rtising dollars
to connect with               BROCK                 tiveness was dimin-      refunds based on an educated             “The technology we use to       in the U.S.The magazine
potential purchasers         WATCH                  ished in 2004 when       guess on what percentage of           detect invalid clicks is highly    estimates that this figure could
of their online                                     The Times of India       the clicks were fraudulent.           sophisticated and was devel-       increase to $9.6 billion by
goods and services.                                 published an                Last month, Google                 oped by some of the world’s        2009.
   Unfortunately,                                   exposé, India’s Secret   announced that it would pay           leading experts – PhDs in              So mischief-makers be
though, search                                      Army of Online Ad        as much as $90 million to             artificial intelligence, machine   warned:Titans such as Google
advertising is begin-                               Clickers, that           settle an Arkansas lawsuit filed      learning and statistics,” says     and Yahoo! have a lot at stake.
ning to “click” with                                described how            on behalf of all Google adver-        Ghosemajumder. “By far, most       If they catch you messing with
Internet ne’er-do-                                  shady middlemen          tisers.The agreement covers all       of the invalid clicks we see are   their search advertisers, expect
wells, as well.                                     organized click          advertisers who claim to have         detected and discarded by our      them to use the power
   Online businesses                                farms.                   been charged but not reim-            automatic filters even before      conferred upon them by
must drive people to                                   Since then, the       bursed for invalid clicks dating      they reach advertisers’            their billions of dollars to
their websites to                                   computer world’s         from 2002, when the company           accounts.”                         come after you so hard that
prosper, and one                                    sociopaths have          announced its pay-per-click              Ghosemajumder says Google       your great-grandchildren will
way to do this is
                          Brock Ketcham             developed software       program.                              occasionally receives click        still be paying the legal bills.
through search            For Business Edge         that creates worthless      So what is Google doing to         fraud claims from its clients.         (Brock Ketcham is an
advertising, says Cartwright,         computer-generated clicks on           stop click fraud? Shuman              “When we believe those clicks      Edmonton-based writer who
senior director of communica-         pay-per-click ads.These clicks         Ghosemajumder, Google’s               are invalid, we reimburse          specializes in consumer and
tions for the Toronto-based           can be made to look like they          business product manager for          advertisers.”                      public policy issues. He can be
CMA.                                  are coming from different com-         trust and safety, says in a              Click fraud does not appear     reached at brock@businessedge.ca)
   With search advertising,           puters at different addresses.
marketers pay search engine              The motives are as com-
companies such as Google Inc. pelling and numerous as the
and Yahoo! Inc. to display their reasons such miscreants should
text-based ads on Internet            be condemned to an eternity in
surfers’ computer screens when a small, windowless cell, stimu-
these potential customers use         lated only by the non-stop
specific keywords related to          strains of the Spice Girls and
what the business is selling.         the occasional flush of a toilet.
   Typically, the search engine          A competitor might want to
charges the advertiser per click drive up the advertiser’s bill,
– a penny per click, for exam-        quickly depleting the advertis-
ple, or 49 cents, depending on        er’s budget. Disgruntled
the amount that the advertiser        employees could be responsi-
bid for the right to have its ad      ble. Or it could be nothing
pop up on the screen when             more than a teenager with an
triggered by a search word.           overactive pecking finger and
   However,“click fraud” is           the social skills of a turnip.
becoming the online scam du              Click fraud has the potential
jour. Click fraud occurs when a to bring considerable harm to
user intentionally clicks on an       this promising medium.
ad for a reason other than to            “If we fail to detect click
view the underlying content.          fraud or other invalid clicks, we
The bogus clicks may occur            could lose the confidence of
dozens, even hundreds or              our advertisers, thereby causing
thousands of times.                   our business to suffer,” Google
   In documents filed with the        Inc. says, in its Dec. 31, 2005
U.S. Securities and Exchange          a n nual report to the SEC.
Commission (SEC), Google                 “We are exposed to the risk
Inc. acknowledges that this           of fraudulent clicks and other
shady practice is a potential         invalid clicks on our ads from
threat to the viability of this       a variety of potential sources.
medium, which has emerged             We have regularly refunded
over the past four years.             fees that our advertisers have
   Cartwright says his associa-       paid . . . If we are unable to
tion’s members are on their           stop these invalid clicks, these
toes. “It’s on their radar            refunds may increase.”
screens,” he said. “Search               How does search-engine
marketing is a very, very             advertising work?
growing trend, but some issues           With Google’s AdWords
have to be resolved.”                 program, advertisers use the
   Members, he added, must            company’s automated tools to
“be protected from any uneth- create text-based ads, bid on
ical practices that are going on      the keywords that will trigger
out there.”                           the display of their ads and set
   How does click fraud work?         daily spending budgets.
   Early on, this mischief was           AdWords uses an online auc-
low-tech. Ringleaders in poor         tion system that allows prospec-
May 11, 2006                                                                                                                                                                 Page 39

BRANDING from Page 37

 Credible messengers critical to ad success
   And Johnson has not been        not have a Maritime target              update them often, but don’t         best way to build your brand      players may be your only
much in the news over the          market and does not need                remove the first one you ever        image, then consider carefully.   totally safe option.
past 15 years, so his name         Rita MacNeil to gush over its           got – it speaks to the longevity     “The muscle” will only              (Brenda McMillan has more
doesn’t mean much to the           cookies. But a basket of warm-          of your company.                     strengthen your company if        than 10 years of experience in
18- to 30-year-olds that           from-the-oven muffins deliv-              If you believe a celebrity –       the choice is an intelligent      advertising. She can be reached at
D’Angelo Brands is targeting.      ered to the desk of a morning-          local or larger-than-life – is the   one. Six-year-old soccer          mcmillan@businessedge.ca)
And for those who know the         show radio host would boost
name, the association may not      business.The radio guy, talking
be a positive one.                 appreciatively on the air
   It is a gutsy move to use       about his weekly muffin
Johnson.We’ll know if              delive ry, would make hungry
D’Angelo’s gamble will pay off     commuters go out of their way
when the campaign hits full        for a warm, Blueberry-Banana
stride and we see Cheetah take     S t reusel Surprise.
off. Or not.                          This is one way a local busi-
   A small or medium-sized         ness can use a local celebrity
company can use a famous           to boost awareness and sales at
person to promote its product      an affordable price.
or brand. It takes a bit of           Soccer, baseball, hockey.
creative thinking, mind you,       When a business buys
but often deep pockets are not     uniforms for local kids’ teams,
required.                          it also buys goodwill and
   The point of using a celebri-   exposure.The cost is usually
ty is to piggyback a brand to      low, and all season long,
the existing, winning image of     parents, kids and visitors see
the person chosen.This person      “Ginger’s Grill” play and score.
endorses this product, so by       Guess where they’ll head for
association, others who use it     their victory party? Some
are winners, too.That is the       celebrities are only six years
message.The messenger should       old.
be credible. Avoid using              In major centres, television
politicians.                       personalities often have their
   Be sure that the celebrity      hair styled and their clothing
used to promote your brand is      and jewelry supplied by local
well known and admired by          companies.When Ms. Evening
your target market – the           News looks great, women
people you want and need to        watch the credits to find out
impress. A rap artist won’t        where they can go for the
impress any seniors, but           same hair, earrings or suit.
will wow certain teens and            Often a company’s own
twentysomethings.The fit must      happy customers are the best
be right. Seriously                spokespeople.Testimonials,
consider local over national.      genuine and honest “thank
   Most small and medium-          you” letters go a long way
sized companies would benefit      toward boosting confidence in
greatly if the people in their     a brand. Use them on websites,
area became customers.             in brochures and in sales kits.
   A bakery in Winnipeg does       They should be current, so

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Impact Sales and                   ■   Let’s Talk Exports 2006
Marketing Psychology               (May 18, 7:30 - 10 a.m.) –
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The six foundations of             Stephen Poloz offers an
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