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Found 41 results

  1. La Presse threatens union with closure By Mike King, The Gazette September 4, 2009 La Presse newspaper employees talk during preparations for a meeting for employees at the Palais des congrès in June 2009. La Presse newspaper employees talk during preparations for a meeting for employees at the Palais des congrès in June 2009. Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, Gazette file photo MONTREAL – La Presse, North America’s largest French-language broadsheet, will stop publication Dec. 1 if its 700 employees don’t give up $13 million in concessions between now and that date. Caroline Jamet, the 125-year-old newspaper’s vice-president of communications, confirmed publisher Guy Crevier sent the staff an email yesterday informing the workers they have three months to reach an agreement to avoid suspension of both the paper and its website, cyberpresse.ca. In acknowledging La Presse’s current business model “has no chance of surviving,” Crevier noted how management has cut its share of the $26 million needed to be reduced this year to continue operations and that contract negotiations must be sped up to get the other half from the 600 unionized workers. “We have to reduce our cost structure and the only missing link is the contribution of the employees,” Jamet told The Gazette. She said the main issue is the 32-hour, four-day work week that the company wants changed to 35 hours over five days because of the expense of extra staff for that fifth day. That move would likely result in the loss of about 100 jobs, but Jamet added retirements and voluntary departures could reduce the number of layoffs. Crevier, also president of Gesca Ltée – the Power Corp. of Canada subsidiary that owns and publishes La Presse and other French-language papers in the province and Ontario – listed what was done to cut $13 million: • Ceased publication of its Sunday paper June 28 • Reduced the size of the paper to reduce paper costs • Put a voluntary departure program in place • Concluded agreements with financial institutions for new financing, including to cover the “seriously underfunded” pension plan. He first announced to employees in June that, facing an anticipated $215 million deficit by 2013, the paper was seeking to cut costs by $26 million annually over the next five years. It was at that meeting the decision on the Sunday paper was made known. Union leader Hélène De Guise said the longer work week is one of the items being negotiated as well as the possibility of trimming employees’ vacation time. But she added the bargaining team wants to further analyze Crevier’s pronouncement before making any further comments. The last collective agreement expired Dec. 31. Crevier ended his missive stating: “The future of La Presse, your future, is in your hands. It’s up to you to decide.” Jamet, also spokesperson for Gesca, said the measures being taken at La Presse presently have no effect on the chain’s other dailies: Le Soleil in Quebec City, La Tribune in Sherbrooke, Le Nouvelliste in Trois-Rivières, La Voix de l’Est in Granby, Le Quotidien in Saguenay and Le Droit in Ottawa. It is up to the publishers at each of those papers to identify how to cut their costs, she added. In July, the Boston Globe’s union approved a package of $10 million in wage and benefits cuts after owner The New York Times had threatened earliler this year to close New England’s biggest paper unless major concessions were made. The same thing happened at the San Francisco Chronicle in March in order to avoid being closed by the Hearst Corp. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  2. The 200 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses acquired in 2003 by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) have worked out so well that LA Metro is hiring 96 more. The Cummins Westport vehicles, which run 20 feet longer than traditional city buses and bring 30-percent more power to the table (while claiming bragging rights to low emissions) use a 6-cylinder, 8.9L CWI L Gas Plus CNG mill with 320 hp. Perfect for the city, the buses help LA Metro cash in with lower operating costs, better performance and reduced emissions. http://www.autoblog.com/2006/03/30/la-metro-picks-up-more-natural-gas-buses/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+weblogsinc/autoblog+(Autoblog)
  3. Canadian smog costs $1 billion, 2,700 lives: CMA Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 The Canadian Medical Association estimates that by 2031, more than 4,900 Canadians, mostly seniors, will die prematurely each year from the effects of polluted air.Dean Bicknell/Canwest News ServiceThe Canadian Medical Association estimates that by 2031, more than 4,900 Canadians, mostly seniors, will die prematurely each year from the effects of polluted air. OTTAWA -- Smog this year will contribute to the premature deaths of 2,700 Canadians and put 11,000 in hospitals, costing the economy and health-care system $1 billion, Canada's doctors say. A report by the Canadian Medical Association calculates that deaths linked to air pollution will rise over the next two decades, claiming nearly twice as many lives each year and costing $1.3 billion annually in health care and lost productivity. The study estimates that by 2031, more than 4,900 Canadians, mostly seniors, will die prematurely each year from the effects of polluted air. Ontario and Quebec will bear the brunt, with smog-related deaths soaring among aging baby-boomers and the chronically ill. In Ontario, the number of premature deaths could double, to 2,200, from 1,200 per year, while hospital admissions over the same period could jump by as much as 70%. The annual health-care and economic costs could rise by as much as 30%, to $740 million, from $570 million. Quebec's mortality rate could rise by 70%, from 700 a year to 1,200, while hospital admissions could spike by 50% annually, costing the province 10% more, or up to $290 million a year. While smog can trigger lung problems, accounting for up to 40% of hospital visits, heart attack and stroke are the real problems, responsible for more than 60% of all air-pollution-related hospital admissions, the study found. Pollutants such as nitrous oxide damage the heart by harming blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis, a disease that makes people susceptible to heart attack and stroke. Besides the direct costs to the economy and the health system, the study tries to put a price on the poor quality of life and loss of life caused by smog-related deaths. With those estimated costs included, this year's total bill -- in addition to the $1 billion estimate for economic and health-care costs - would amount to more than $10 billion. That figure would rise to $18 billion a year by 2031, with nearly $16 billion of that the price the doctors' association puts on lost lives. But Gordon McBean, a renowned climatologist at the University of Western Ontario, questioned the accuracy of such estimates. While he praised the report and called most of its data sound, he said the attempt to put a price tag on lost life is problematic. "Health-care costs you can do a reasonably good job quantifying, but quality of life and the actual value of life is a bit difficult," said Mr. McBean, co-author of a recently published Health Canada report on the impact of climate change on human health. As a Canadian representative to the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Mr. McBean said the world's top experts have tried unsuccessfully to come up with similar estimates for the human cost of climate change. "That became very controversial because the people who did it said, 'Well, a North American is worth so many thousand dollars and an African is worth a small fraction of that.' And people like me didn't think that was acceptable," he said. Given that climate change likely will lead to more smoggy days, the report does not exaggerate the level of anticipated deaths caused by air pollution, said Mr. McBean. "They're not overstating the problem. If anything, these are lowball estimates."
  4. Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization When Tesla Motors, a pioneer in electric-powered cars, set out to make a luxury roadster for the American market, it had the global supply chain in mind. Tesla planned to manufacture 1,000-pound battery packs in Thailand, ship them to Britain for installation, then bring the mostly assembled cars back to the United States. Bread in a New Zealand supermarket. Soaring transportation costs also have an impact on food, from bananas to salmon. But when it began production this spring, the company decided to make the batteries and assemble the cars near its home base in California, cutting more than 5,000 miles from the shipping bill for each vehicle. “It was kind of a no-brain decision for us,” said Darryl Siry, the company’s senior vice president of global sales, marketing and service. “A major reason was to avoid the transportation costs, which are terrible.” The world economy has become so integrated that shoppers find relatively few T-shirts and sneakers in Wal-Mart and Target carrying a “Made in the U.S.A.” label. But globalization may be losing some of the inexorable economic power it had for much of the past quarter-century, even as it faces fresh challenges as a political ideology. Cheap oil, the lubricant of quick, inexpensive transportation links across the world, may not return anytime soon, upsetting the logic of diffuse global supply chains that treat geography as a footnote in the pursuit of lower wages. Rising concern about global warming, the reaction against lost jobs in rich countries, worries about food safety and security, and the collapse of world trade talks in Geneva last week also signal that political and environmental concerns may make the calculus of globalization far more complex. “If we think about the Wal-Mart model, it is incredibly fuel-intensive at every stage, and at every one of those stages we are now seeing an inflation of the costs for boats, trucks, cars,” said Naomi Klein, the author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” “That is necessarily leading to a rethinking of this emissions-intensive model, whether the increased interest in growing foods locally, producing locally or shopping locally, and I think that’s great.” Many economists argue that globalization will not shift into reverse even if oil prices continue their rising trend. But many see evidence that companies looking to keep prices low will have to move some production closer to consumers. Globe-spanning supply chains — Brazilian iron ore turned into Chinese steel used to make washing machines shipped to Long Beach, Calif., and then trucked to appliance stores in Chicago — make less sense today than they did a few years ago. To avoid having to ship all its products from abroad, the Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea opened its first factory in the United States in May. Some electronics companies that left Mexico in recent years for the lower wages in China are now returning to Mexico, because they can lower costs by trucking their output overland to American consumers. Neighborhood Effect Decisions like those suggest that what some economists call a neighborhood effect — putting factories closer to components suppliers and to consumers, to reduce transportation costs — could grow in importance if oil remains expensive. A barrel sold for $125 on Friday, compared with lows of $10 a decade ago. “If prices stay at these levels, that could lead to some significant rearrangement of production, among sectors and countries,” said C. Fred Bergsten, author of “The United States and the World Economy” and director of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, in Washington. “You could have a very significant shock to traditional consumption patterns and also some important growth effects.” The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Shanghai to the United States has risen to $8,000, compared with $3,000 early in the decade, according to a recent study of transportation costs. Big container ships, the pack mules of the 21st-century economy, have shaved their top speed by nearly 20 percent to save on fuel costs, substantially slowing shipping times. The study, published in May by the Canadian investment bank CIBC World Markets, calculates that the recent surge in shipping costs is on average the equivalent of a 9 percent tariff on trade. “The cost of moving goods, not the cost of tariffs, is the largest barrier to global trade today,” the report concluded, and as a result “has effectively offset all the trade liberalization efforts of the last three decades.” The spike in shipping costs comes at a moment when concern about the environmental impact of globalization is also growing. Many companies have in recent years shifted production from countries with greater energy efficiency and more rigorous standards on carbon emissions, especially in Europe, to those that are more lax, like China and India But if the international community fulfills its pledge to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol to combat climate change, even China and India would have to reduce the growth of their emissions, and the relative costs of production in countries that use energy inefficiently could grow. The political landscape may also be changing. Dissatisfaction with globalization has led to the election of governments in Latin America hostile to the process. A somewhat similar reaction can be seen in the United States, where both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton promised during the Democratic primary season to “re-evaluate” the nation’s existing free trade agreements. Last week, efforts to complete what is known as the Doha round of trade talks collapsed in acrimony, dealing a serious blow to tariff reduction. The negotiations, begun in 2001, failed after China and India battled the United States over agricultural tariffs, with the two developing countries insisting on broad rights to protect themselves against surges of food imports that could hurt their farmers. Some critics of globalization are encouraged by those developments, which they see as a welcome check on the process. On environmentalist blogs, some are even gleefully promoting a “globalization death watch.” Many leading economists say such predictions are probably overblown. “It would be a mistake, a misinterpretation, to think that a huge rollback or reversal of fundamental trends is under way,” said Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “Distance and trade costs do matter, but we are still in a globalized era.” As economists and business executives well know, shipping costs are only one factor in determining the flow of international trade. When companies decide where to invest in a new factory or from whom to buy a product, they also take into account exchange rates, consumer confidence, labor costs, government regulations and the availability of skilled managers. ‘People Were Profligate’ What may be coming to an end are price-driven oddities like chicken and fish crossing the ocean from the Western Hemisphere to be filleted and packaged in Asia not to be consumed there, but to be shipped back across the Pacific again. “Because of low costs, people were profligate,” said Nayan Chanda, author of “Bound Together,” a history of globalization. The industries most likely to be affected by the sharp rise in transportation costs are those producing heavy or bulky goods that are particularly expensive to ship relative to their sale price. Steel is an example. China’s steel exports to the United States are now tumbling by more than 20 percent on a year-over-year basis, their worst performance in a decade, while American steel production has been rising after years of decline. Motors and machinery of all types, car parts, industrial presses, refrigerators, television sets and other home appliances could also be affected. Plants in industries that require relatively less investment in infrastructure, like furniture, footwear and toys, are already showing signs of mobility as shipping costs rise. Until recently, standard practice in the furniture industry was to ship American timber from ports like Norfolk, Baltimore and Charleston to China, where oak and cherry would be milled into sofas, beds, tables, cabinets and chairs, which were then shipped back to the United States. But with transportation costs rising, more wood is now going to traditional domestic furniture-making centers in North Carolina and Virginia, where the industry had all but been wiped out. While the opening of the American Ikea plant, in Danville, Va., a traditional furniture-producing center hit hard by the outsourcing of production to Asia, is perhaps most emblematic of such changes, other manufacturers are also shifting some production back to the United States. Among them is Craftmaster Furniture, a company founded in North Carolina but now Chinese-owned. And at an industry fair in April, La-Z-Boy announced a new line that will begin production in North Carolina this month. “There’s just a handful of us left, but it has become easier for us domestic folks to compete,” said Steven Kincaid of Kincaid Furniture in Hudson, N.C., a division of La-Z-Boy. Avocado Salad in January Soaring transportation costs also have an impact on food, from bananas to salmon. Higher shipping rates could eventually transform some items now found in the typical middle-class pantry into luxuries and further promote the so-called local food movement popular in many American and European cities. “This is not just about steel, but also maple syrup and avocados and blueberries at the grocery store,” shipped from places like Chile and South Africa, said Jeff Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets and co-author of its recent study on transport costs and globalization. “Avocado salad in Minneapolis in January is just not going to work in this new world, because flying it in is going to make it cost as much as a rib eye.” Global companies like General Electric, DuPont, Alcoa and Procter & Gamble are beginning to respond to the simultaneous increases in shipping and environmental costs with green policies meant to reduce both fuel consumption and carbon emissions. That pressure is likely to increase as both manufacturers and retailers seek ways to tighten the global supply chain. “Being green is in their best interests not so much in making money as saving money,” said Gary Yohe, an environmental economist at Wesleyan University. “Green companies are likely to be a permanent trend, as these vulnerabilities continue, but it’s going to take a long time for all this to settle down.” In addition, the sharp increase in transportation costs has implications for the “just-in-time” system pioneered in Japan and later adopted the world over. It is a highly profitable business strategy aimed at reducing warehousing and inventory costs by arranging for raw materials and other supplies to arrive only when needed, and not before. Jeffrey E. Garten, the author of “World View: Global Strategies for the New Economy” and a former dean of the Yale School of Management, said that companies “cannot take a risk that the just-in-time system won’t function, because the whole global trading system is based on that notion.” As a result, he said, “they are going to have to have redundancies in the supply chain, like more warehousing and multiple sources of supply and even production.” One likely outcome if transportation rates stay high, economists said, would be a strengthening of the neighborhood effect. Instead of seeking supplies wherever they can be bought most cheaply, regardless of location, and outsourcing the assembly of products all over the world, manufacturers would instead concentrate on performing those activities as close to home as possible. In a more regionalized trading world, economists say, China would probably end up buying more of the iron ore it needs from Australia and less from Brazil, and farming out an even greater proportion of its manufacturing work to places like Vietnam and Thailand. Similarly, Mexico’s maquiladora sector, the assembly plants concentrated near its border with the United States, would become more attractive to manufacturers with an eye on the American market. But a trend toward regionalization would not necessarily benefit the United States, economists caution. Not only has it lost some of its manufacturing base and skills over the past quarter-century, and experienced a decline in consumer confidence as part of the current slowdown, but it is also far from the economies that have become the most dynamic in the world, those of Asia. “Despite everything, the American economy is still the biggest Rottweiler on the block,” said Jagdish N. Bhagwati, the author of “In Defense of Globalization” and a professor of economics at Columbia. “But if it’s expensive to get products from there to here, it’s also expensive to get them from here to there.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/business/worldbusiness/03global.html?pagewanted=1&em
  5. Corn-based ethanol: The negatives outweigh the positives JEFFREY SIMPSON From Wednesday's Globe and Mail July 30, 2008 at 7:58 AM EDT Canada's governments have done something really stupid in subsidizing corn-based ethanol, and requiring its increased use, but apparently cannot correct their mistake. As a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, corn-based ethanol is a poor option; as a farm subsidy program, it's also a poor bet. Making matters worse, corn-based ethanol takes corn-for-food out of production, and moves land from other kinds of production into corn, thereby adding to what are already rising food prices. Governments, here and in the U.S., thought they were doing great things for the environment and helping farmers, too. Ethanol policy was, to quote the Harper government, a "win-win." Actually, it was a lose-lose policy for all but corn producers, who, naturally enough, have rallied furiously to protect their good fortune. Many researchers have exposed the follies of subsidizing corn-based ethanol production, the latest being Douglas Auld, in an extremely well-documented paper for the C.D. Howe Institute. Mr. Auld has surveyed the research literature about the putatively beneficial effects of corn-based ethanol on replacing gasoline. The theory is that such ethanol produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline from a vehicle engine. Indeed, it does, but that simple statement ignores what energy is required to produce a litre of ethanol. When the so-called "lifecycle" of ethanol production is counted, Mr. Auld concludes (as have many others) that ethanol doesn't lower GHG outputs. Remember, too, that ethanol delivers less energy per litre than gasoline, so more litres of production are required to move a vehicle a certain distance. Mr. Auld, therefore, correctly concludes, "It is clear from the evidence to date that there is no consensus regarding the efficacy of corn-based ethanol either to reduce GHGs or reduce overall energy demands." But we aren't dealing with "evidence," rather with political optics from governments wanting to look "green" and from a desire to help farmers. And so, the Harper government replaced the previous special tax exemption for ethanol to a producer credit that will cost the country about $1.5-billion. To this sum were added loans, biofuel research grants plus mandatory ethanol content requirements. In other words, the government pushed up the supply of corn-based ethanol through subsidies, then pushed up the demand through regulation. Provinces got in on the act, offering producer credits and mandatory ethanol content requirements. Putting the provincial and federal policies together produced whopping advantages for ethanol of about $400-million a year. For such money, Canadians might expect at least some decline in greenhouse gas emissions. They will be disappointed. There will be few reductions, and Mr. Auld estimates that these might cost $368 a tonne - way, way higher than other per-tonne costs for eliminating carbon dioxide, the main climate-warming gas. By contrast, one part of the Harper government's proposed climate-change policy would see big companies that do not meet their intensity-based reduction targets paying $15 a tonne into a technology fund. World prices for carbon offsetting these days are about $30 a tonne. However, even if this form of ethanol is a climate-change bust, at least it's great for farmers. Not so fast. It's a boon to the corn producers, but to supply all the additional demand for ethanol, up to half the current farmland for corn will be used. As more land is diverted to corn for ethanol, there will be less corn for human and animal consumption. So whereas corn producers will gain, livestock producers will suffer. As their costs rise, so will the price of their products to consumers. It's wrong to blame the rush to ethanol for rising food prices here and abroad. Let's just say the rush contributes to the problem. Mr. Auld estimates that if you take the direct subsidies for ethanol production of $400-million a year, and add the costs of higher food to consumers, the wealth transfer to corn-based farmers could soon be about $800-million. It's the classic case of subsidies distorting markets: One group gains and mobilizes all of its resources to protect its gains, insisting these gains reflect the public good; whereas in reality almost everyone else loses but doesn't complain. So we have a silly policy with hundreds of millions of dollars going down the policy drain, achieving none of the objectives the politicians claimed.
  6. Calgary's homeless population balloons As thousands of migrants have poured into Calgary, housing costs spiralled out of the range for many of those at the lower end of the income spectrum.Dean Bicknell/Canwest News ServiceAs thousands of migrants have poured into Calgary, housing costs spiralled out of the range for many of those at the lower end of the income spectrum. Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 CALGARY -- Calgary's homeless population has reached more than 4,000 - an increase of 18.2% since 2006, according to this year's homeless count. As of May 14, there were 4,060 homeless people in Calgary. Officials cannot explain it but the rate of homeless families jumped dramatically to 197 from 145 in 2006 -- an increase of 36%. Calgary in many ways has been a victim of its own success. As thousands of migrants poured into the city over the past number of years, housing costs spiralled out of the range for many of those at the lower end of the income spectrum. Alberta does not have any traditional rent controls. The average rent for a two-bedroom unit in Calgary is now $1,100. Many of Calgary's homeless are employed - as many as 60% staying at the downtown Mustard Seed Street Ministry, said operations manager Floyd Perras. Mike Nault, 40, who hails from Winnipeg, said he has been living on Calgary's streets with his girlfriend, Debbie Reid, for eight months. "The stress level of being on the street is just phenomenal," said Mr. Nault, who regularly works temporary construction jobs. Ms. Reid said she drinks up to two dozen beers a day because it is "depressing" being homeless. "You turn to self-medication." Civic and business leaders have come up with a 10-year plan to end homelessness. The province has followed up with tens of millions of dollars more for affordable housing and the creation of a Secretariat for Action on Homelessness. http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=659002
  7. Condos, costs squeeze Vancouver office space DAVID EBNER From Monday's Globe and Mail June 29, 2008 at 10:33 PM EDT VANCOUVER — The numbers, at first glance, couldn't look better for a commercial real estate developer. On the small peninsula that constitutes downtown Vancouver, there's barely any available office space. The 2.6-per-cent vacancy rate ranks as the lowest of any city core in North America. And rents are soaring, with the cost of prime office space jumping 25 per cent in just one year to more than $34 per square foot. Yet hardly any new commercial space is being built. Just 130,000 square feet is under construction in downtown Vancouver, which would add less than 1 per cent to what exists. It's a fraction of what's happening elsewhere: Calgary's downtown is expanding by 5.6 million square feet, or 17 per cent, and Toronto is growing by 3.8 million square feet, or 5 per cent. Construction costs have risen far faster than rents, driven by a Western Canadian construction boom that has made labour scarce and expensive, and the climbing cost of materials such as steel. Vancouver developers say they just can't make the numbers add up for new projects. In Calgary, for example, the energy boom allows developers to charge $45 a square foot, a third more than they can get in the Vancouver market. “It takes a lot of nerve to build today,” said Don Vassos, a senior vice-president at real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis Ltd. who opened the company's Vancouver office 24 years ago. Since then, the downtown has gone through a transformation that helped produce the current shortage of commercial space. It's a trend the city now hopes to reverse. In the 1980s and 1990s, planners and politicians set about creating the Vancouver that currently exists, one consistently on best-places-to-live lists. Under the rubric of “living first,” the city heavily promoted residential development downtown, pushing the population on the peninsula to 90,000, more than double the 40,000 or so in the mid-1980s. But the dozens of residential condominiums have begun to squeeze the commercial core. Four years ago, alarm bells started going off for planners when Duke Energy sold the landmark Westcoast Transmission building for a condo conversion. That provoked the city to impose a temporary halt on such changes in the central business district. With developers predicting that Vancouver will run out of space to build new commercial buildings in the next 20 years, city council is poised to encourage construction of more office space. In July, it will consider a series of proposals from planners that include an expanded central business district, tighter rules on condo conversions and proposals to allow taller towers with more density. Until things change, however, businesses will continue to feel the squeeze. Part of the problem, developers say, is that condos are far more profitable than commercial space because residential buyers are willing to pay large premiums for benefits such as views of the ocean and mountains. And unlike Calgary and Toronto, where large corporations drive demand for many storeys of commercial space, the typical Vancouver tenant is more likely to be a law firm or upstart technology company requiring far less space. Developers have to sign on many more tenants to make a project work instead of landing one big name. Some Vancouver developers say the city has to take measures to encourage new commercial buildings that go beyond the proposals city planners have put together. “They need to address costs,” said Tony Astles, executive vice-president for B.C. at Bentall Real Estate. “And they need to address the length of time it takes to go through the whole process, from zoning to approvals. “It's a clogged-up system. Right now, it's very difficult to rationalize a high-rise office tower in downtown Vancouver. The costs of construction have risen so fast that rents – even though they're at their all-time high – haven't kept up.” http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080629.wrdowntown30/BNStory/Business/home
  8. I'm going to enjoy the popcorn and watch the whiners come out "http://business.financialpost.com/news/transportation/air-canada-wants-torontos-pearson-airport-to-be-a-mega-hub-but-high-costs-stand-in-the-way" "Canada has long been an afterthought for the global aviation market, an out-of-the-way destination with taxes and fees so high that some five million Canadians a year trek across the border to fly out of cheaper U.S. airports. But Air Canada and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) are determined to flip that view on its head by turning Toronto’s Pearson International Airport into a mega-hub on the scale of Amsterdam’s Schiphol, Singapore’s Changi or Dubai International Airport. Pearson is already well on its way to meeting that goal since it attracts more international passengers than any other airport in North America except John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City. Toronto’s primary airport is now the fourth-largest entry point by air into the United States, surpassing many large U.S. airports, according to National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen. But to become a true mega-hub comparable in scope and status to the Dubais of the world, a lot needs to change. Pesky taxes and fees make Pearson “the most expensive airport in the world at which to land a plane,” according to a 2012 Senate report. There’s also the problem of congestion — in the airport, on its runways and on surrounding roadways — that will only get worse unless significant investments are made in infrastructure. If these issues aren’t addressed, Pearson could miss out on an opportunity to become part of the exclusive mega-hub club — there are currently only 11 worldwide — and all the attendant economic benefits, including the creation of more than 200,000 jobs in the area. Jack Boland / Toronto Sun / QMI Agency Jack Boland / Toronto Sun / QMI AgencyToronto's Pearson International Airport is a hub for passengers coming into Canada domestically and internationally. The GTAA, which manages and operates Pearson, defines a mega-hub as an airport that processes 50 million passengers a year, including at least 20 million international passengers, and connects to 80 per cent of the global economy. Pearson is pretty close to those numbers. In 2015, it moved 41 million passengers, including 25 million international travellers, and connected to 67 per cent of the global economy. It was recently ranked 19th in the world for its connectivity — sandwiched between Philadelphia, which is not a mega-hub, and Frankfurt, which is — by air-travel intelligence company OAG. There’s plenty of potential for further growth at Pearson. Howard Eng, GTAA’s chief executive, said the airport has the largest catchment area — defined as the population within a 90-minute flight — of any airport in North America, bigger than even JFK or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Pearson also has an enthusiastic partner in Air Canada, which accounts for 57.6 per cent of the airport’s seat capacity, according to the Centre for Aviation, and has been pursuing an aggressive international growth strategy using its new fleet of Boeing 787s. To support Air Canada, the GTAA has agreed to fix the airline’s fees for 10 years in exchange for agreed-upon passenger growth targets, and will offer rebates if it exceeds those targets. “They want to be a mega-carrier and, as a result of that, they need a mega-hub to work out of,” Eng said in an interview. “We’re both aligned on the concept.” One of Air Canada’s main growth pillars is expanding so-called sixth-freedom traffic, or traffic from a second country to a third country via an airline’s home market. In Air Canada’s case, that primarily means Americans travelling from their home cities via Toronto to destinations in Europe or Asia. The airline’s stated goal is to attract a 1.5-per-cent “fair share” of the U.S. sixth-freedom market, which would add $600 to $700 million in incremental revenue, but chief executive Calin Rovinescu said it can probably do “much better than that.” “We’ve been basically increasing our sixth-freedom flying by mid-to high-teen (percentages) in each of the last two years,” Rovinescu said in a recent interview. He hopes to turn Pearson into a “world-class hub” comparable to Amsterdam, Singapore or Dubai. Related How you can nab premium flights without paying through the nose Air Canada ready to compete with new, low-cost airlines, CEO says “Those countries don’t have a large population base, but they have built very powerful hubs,” Rovinescu said. “Toronto is still relatively speaking underserved in terms of the catchment area and the market potential for it.” But in order to become a truly successful mega-hub, Pearson will need to overcome two major limitations. The first is those exceedingly high costs that drive so many Canadians to U.S. border airports — the equivalent of 64 Boeing 737s every day, according to a 2012 report by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Canada 124th out of 141 countries on price competitiveness. This is a function of Canada’s “antiquated” national airport model, according to a recent review of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) by former federal cabinet minister David Emerson. In 1994, the federal government transferred the management, operation and development of 26 major airports to non-profit airport authorities while retaining ownership of their land and fixed assets and charging them rent. The GTAA pays Ottawa $130 million a year in ground rents for Pearson. Add in government security charges and, in Ontario, a jet-fuel tax that will hit 6.7 cents a litre by April 2017, and the airport is at a real cost disadvantage compared to its competitors. Tyler Anderson/National Post Tyler Anderson/National PostHoward Eng, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) Pearson’s landing charges alone are “twice that at Boston Logan, a third more than at Chicago O’Hare,” said David Bentley, chief airport analyst at the Australia-based Centre for Aviation. “You know why that is? It’s because of the ridiculous rents that they have to pay.” Emerson’s review of the CTA concluded that the solution is to move towards a fully privatized, for-profit structure with equity-based financing from large institutional investors. “Will privatization make a difference to Canada? I think it probably would,” Bentley said. “Toronto would become more efficient in terms of its costs to airlines and, therefore, could compete better with the likes of Chicago and other airports in the region.” Eng at the GTAA will not say whether he’d prefer a share-capital structure to the current non-profit system. But he’s quick to emphasize that Pearson is already run like a private entity, paying down $500 million in debt over the past four years and investing $700 million of capital in airport infrastructure and amenities since 2010. Pearson has also frozen or reduced the airlines’ average aeronautical fees per passenger for eight consecutive years, for a total reduction of 30 per cent since 2007. “We run it like a private corporation,” Eng said. “My focus is on how we can generate the revenue in order to pay down the debt, reinvest in the airport and create the facility that’s needed to process the passengers.” The second limitation at Pearson is congestion. The airport’s passenger traffic has grown so rapidly that the airport’s infrastructure — its security and customs checkpoints, runways, de-icing stations and even the surrounding roads — are having trouble keeping up. “A lot of people say there’s no competition for airports because every city has one large airport,” Eng said. “But once you’re into the global hub status, in Pearson’s case almost 35 to 40 per cent of our traffic is what we call transfer traffic, they have a choice.” Passengers who are connecting to another destination are generally looking for the shortest connection time, he said. To that end, Pearson is working to improve the flow of passengers and luggage by offering things such as self-serve baggage drops, automated border kiosks and automatic luggage transfers for passengers travelling from certain global cities to other Canadian destinations. However, Eng stressed that Pearson also needs the government’s help to speed up security and border processing times, which are notoriously slow. Most passengers at Pearson wait 20 minutes for pre-board screening compared to five minutes for 95 per cent of passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. “We’re not asking for a special favour, (just) that they provide their processes in a manner that is equivalent to what the best airports are doing around the world,” he said. Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI AgencyTravellers at Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport The GTAA is also working with other airports in southern Ontario, including those in Hamilton, London and Kitchener-Waterloo, to encourage them to take some of the burden off Pearson by providing more short-haul, private-jet, cargo and charter flights. Another key part of Pearson’s mega-hub strategy is to improve the notoriously bad road traffic around the airport region. According to the GTAA, only 10 per cent of Pearson’s passengers arrive on public transit compared to 39 per cent in Amsterdam and 63 per cent in Hong Kong. A recent study by the Neptis Foundation found that there are a million car trips per day in and out of the Pearson region by employees and travellers. The recent launch of the Union Pearson Express rail line to downtown Toronto has helped, but “not enough,” Eng said. “We probably need various domestic lines, special lines, high-speed rail lines,” he said, adding that the GTAA is prepared to help fund the development of a ground-transportation hub at the airport, but it will need government support as well. fp1201_mega_hub_transitIf Pearson isn’t able to lower its costs and improve its infrastructure, it could miss out on a huge potential economic opportunity. According to Frontier Economics, becoming a mega-hub will increase the airport economic zone’s GDP by 75 per cent to $62.1 billion and create more than 200,000 jobs by 2030. “Airports are changing from city airports to airport cities,” said John Kasarda, director of the Center for Air Commerce at the University of North Carolina. Kasarda devised the concept of the “aerotropolis,” a notion that airports are far more than just transportation infrastructure, but rather anchors of regional business development. “The 21st-century airport is quite different than the 20th-century airport,” he said. “They’re multi-modal, multi-functional enterprises that attract a substantial amount of commercial development.” This can create a virtuous circle of expansion, Kasarda added. “Not only does the better airline connectivity, the route structure, serve as this magnet for business, but as business grows it generates greater volumes of passengers and cargo, which supports more airline connectivity,” he said. “It’s mutually reinforcing.” Smoother connections can also help keep airlines’ costs down by generating more non-aeronautical revenue from retail, restaurants and other services. “It’s a necessity, not an option,” Kasarda said.
  9. https://blog.cogecopeer1.com/why-montreal-is-fast-emerging-as-canadas-cloud-hub?utm_campaign=FY16%20Inbound%20GLOBAL%20Mar%20Colocation%20Digital&utm_content=31021264&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin So, what makes Montreal attractive for tech startups and cloud providers? The city has low power and real estate costs, making Canada’s second largest financial center more attractive to Canadian organizations. The city’s cold climate is a big advantage. One of the largest costs of running a data center is providing cooling for hardware, and having a supply of freezing cold air for much of the year helps. Montreal, with a population of a million and a half, has a plentiful supply of engineers, and is home to the largest concentration of research complexes in Canada, so is not short of skilled workers. Then there is the abundant supply of green power. It is one of the most inexpensive means of generating electricity, and for organizations requiring power hungry SANs and scaled out storage, cheap power is more attractive than the cheap connectivity offered by a city with a peering exchange.
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  12. Hello everyone, I'm an airline employee and a big proponent of YUL and it's future development. Lately I have been using Toronto's public transit system to get to the airport. Even though not as developed as ours, their subway, combined with the new 192 Airport Rocket, is really a winning combination, and has made me really step back and take at look at YUL and our airport access (just a bit better than terrible). From Kipling station the Airport Rocket is a 15 minute express bus from a metro directly to Terminal 1, 3 and Airport road near the hotels. Now before you start, yes, I know Montreal has this too in our 747 bus, directly from Lionel Groulx. However, the difference lies in that the Toronto express bus is part of their transit system, and only costs 3.00$, and a transfer from anywhere else in the network is valid. Why on earth would we charge 10$ for such a service?!?! It should almost be free! Anyway, I just wish the STM would make the 747 a regular bus line with a regular fare and transfers from the other parts of the network accepted, then we could call our airport SOMEWHAT accessible. And don't even get me started on the fact they now have direct train access......argh Rant Over.
  13. Canada ranks 2nd among 10 countries for cost competitiveness, says KPMG THE CANADIAN PRESS 03.29.2016 TORONTO - Accounting giant KPMG says Canada has proven to be second most competitive market in a comparison test of 10 leading industrial countries. In its report, KPMG says Canada lags only behind Mexico when it comes to how little businesses have to pay for labour, facilities, transportation and taxes. The report, which compared the competitiveness of a number of western countries along with Australia and Japan, found that a high U.S. dollar has helped Canada stay affordable despite rising office real estate costs and lower federal tax credits. When it comes to corporate income taxes, it found that Canada, the U.K. and the Netherlands had the lowest rates overall due to tax incentives to support high-tech and research and development. KPMG also looked at the competitiveness of more than 100 cities worldwide. It ranked Fredericton, N.B., as the most cost-effective city in Canada due to low labour costs and continued low costs for property leases. Montreal topped the list among 34 major cities in North America, followed by Toronto and Vancouver. The three Canadian cities beat out all U.S. cities. Although there have been concerns over the impact of a weakening loonie on the economy, having a low Canadian dollar has actually been "a driver in improving Canada's competitiveness and overall cost advantage," KPMG said. As a result, that has made it more attractive for businesses to set up shop north of the border than in the U.S., it said. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/canada+ranks+among+countries+cost+competitiveness+says+kpmg/11817781/story.html
  14. Quebec Tories swapped ad expenses, Elections Canada alleges TIM NAUMETZ The Canadian Press July 22, 2008 at 9:26 AM EDT OTTAWA — The Conservative Party shifted thousands of dollars in advertising expenses from two of its top Quebec candidates to other Quebec candidates who had more spending room in their 2006 federal election campaigns, the lawyer for Elections Canada has suggested. A former financial officer for the party confirmed last month in a court examination that expenses incurred by Public Works Minister Christian Paradis and former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier were assigned to other candidates. But former chief financial officer Ann O'Grady said the expenses were “prorated” to the other candidates because the firm that placed the television and radio ads billed Mr. Paradis and Mr. Bernier for higher amounts than their campaign agents originally committed. Elections Canada lawyer Barbara McIsaac probed Ms. O'Grady over records involving an eventual claim for $20,000 in radio and TV advertising by Mr. Paradis and $5,000 in advertising claimed by Mr. Bernier. The financial statements and invoices – filed in a Federal Court case concerning $1.3-million in questionable Conservative ad expenses – also showed that Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis paid a fraction of the ad production costs compared with other Tory candidates. Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis are among 67 Conservative candidates whose advertising expenditures are under investigation by the federal elections commissioner. Agents for some of the candidates took Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand to Federal Court after he refused last year to reimburse the expenditures on grounds that they did not qualify as local candidate expenses. The Commons ethics committee is also conducting an inquiry into the bookkeeping, which Elections Canada alleges allowed the Conservative party to exceed its national campaign spending limit by more than $1-million. The Canada Elections Act prohibits candidates from absorbing or sharing the election expenses of other candidates. NDP MP Pat Martin, a member of the ethics committee, said if the party did shift expenses from Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis to other candidates it would add an entirely new dimension to the controversy. “I can't get (fellow NDP MP) Judy Wasylycia-Leis to put $5,000 of my expenses into her expenses,” Mr. Martin said. “That's absolutely not allowed.” In a sworn cross-examination last month, the transcript of which was subsequently entered in the Federal Court file, Ms. McIsaac pressed Ms. O'Grady about advertising and ad production costs that were transferred from Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis to other candidates. Ms. McIsaac challenged Ms. O'Grady's explanations that the expenditures were reassigned because the candidates had been mistakenly invoiced for more than the amounts their official agents originally committed for the campaign. “I'm going to suggest to you that Mr. Bernier was less than $2,590 from his spending limit and that he couldn't afford to put the additional amount into his return,” Ms. McIsaac said to Ms. O'Grady. “That would be total supposition,” Ms. O'Grady responded. “Who knows what else would have been going on at the time? I can't comment on how Mr. Bernier ran his campaign.” In the case of Mr. Paradis, Ms. O'Grady conceded that the candidate had originally committed his campaign to a media buy totalling $30,000, was eventually invoiced $29,766 and subsequently received a “credit note” of $10,000 that was reallocated to another candidate, Marc Nadeau. “Now, again, the reason for this was that Mr. Paradis had reached his limit with respect to spending as well, is that correct?” Ms. McIsaac asked. “He had to allocate some of his money to Mr. Nadeau, did he not, because he was close to his limit?” “I would not know that,” replied Ms. O'Grady, who replaced former Tory chief financial agent Susan Kehoe several months after the election. Ms. McIsaac also questioned Ms. O'Grady over the fact that Mr. Bernier paid no production costs for his share of the advertising. Mr. Paradis paid only $233.93 for his share, even though Ms. McIsaac said other candidates paid $4,500 each for production costs.
  15. Investing in infrastructure A question of trust Chicago pioneers a new way of paying for infrastructure May 12th 2012 | CHICAGO AND WASHINGTON, DC | from the print edition FOR decades America has underinvested in infrastructure—even though poor roads, delayed flights, crumbling bridges and inefficient buildings are an expensive burden. Deficiencies in roads, bridges and transport systems alone cost households and businesses nearly $130 billion in 2010, mostly because of higher running costs and travel delays. The calculated underinvestment in transport infrastructure alone runs to about $94 billion a year. This filters through to all parts of the economy and increases costs at the point of use of many raw materials, and thereby reduces the productivity and competitiveness of American firms and their goods. Overall the American Society of Civil Engineers reckons that this underinvestment will end up costing each family in the country about $10,600 between 2010 and 2020. Yet though investment in infrastructure would bring clear gains in efficiency, there is little money around, and all levels of government are reluctant or unable to pile up more debt. Traditional sources of funding, such as the (flat) tax on petrol, have delivered a dwindling amount of revenue as soaring prices at the pump have persuaded people to drive less. The federal government has been unable to get Congress to agree on other ways to generate new sources of funding for transport, to the point where money for new highways has almost dried up. For years America has talked about a federal infrastructure bank, which would blend private and public finance and would yield returns over a long number of years. Various other countries have tried the idea, but it has never caught on in the United States. Barack Obama wants $10 billion in funding as initial capital for a national infrastructure bank as part of his jobs plan. So far the idea has gone nowhere in Congress. In March the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, announced that his city could not wait for such help from elsewhere and will go it alone. With the speedy approval of the city council he created a new breed of infrastructure finance known as the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT). The trust is not so much an infrastructure bank with money to hand out, but a city effort to match public infrastructure needs to private investors on a case-by-case basis; something more like an exchange. The city will finance the running costs of the trust itself to the tune of $2.5m. Several financial institutions are already lined up to make investments totalling $1.7 billion, among them Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Ullico, Citibank and JPMorgan. The background to this is that Mr Emanuel wants to spend about $7 billion to rebuild the city of Chicago—on everything from streets, to parks, to the water system, schools, commuter rail and the main airport. Tom Alexander, a spokesman for the mayor, says the city cannot ignore the future as it deals with the present. But raising the money needed for new investment, while maintaining the current infrastructure, is a daunting task. The CIT allows Mr Emanuel to tap the private sector for money, rather than just raising taxes and borrowing. The private sector will invest money in projects and get it back in the shape of tolls, user fees, premium pricing or even tax breaks. The first project is an investment of $225m to make city buildings more energy-efficient. This is expected to reduce annual energy costs by $20m, and the savings will then be used to pay back the investors. The CIT will provide some capital, bond financing and grants. It will also offer tax-exempt debt to entice investors. Returns on investment could vary from 3% on tax-exempt bonds to 8% for equity partners. Private involvement should, in theory, improve the quality of projects that get undertaken. A politically-expedient but financially dubious project would be unlikely to generate enough money to interest private investors. Padding, short cuts or shoddy construction are less likely to be tolerated. And city leaders might in turn overcome their aversion to the efficient pricing of public resources such as parking and busy roads. At the moment, investor appetites are keen and the supply of potential projects looks ample. The project is causing some anxiety in Chicago, though. Although the new trust would leave all the resulting investment under public ownership, the city’s recent bitter experience with a bungled 75-year lease of its parking meters under a previous mayor has left residents fearful. And with reason. For example, experience with public-private partnerships shows that cost-benefit estimates can sometimes prove wildly optimistic. When projects go bad—leaving half-built roads and schools—they become a public problem. Private investment might well end up being recouped in higher user fees. Mr Emanuel is well aware that other cities are watching this experiment with interest. The mayor is a hugely ambitious man, who is undoubtedly keen to leave a lasting legacy, and who some believe may want to remain as mayor for a period of Daleyian proportions. He, of all people, will want to build something that other cities will want to copy, not avoid. http://www.economist.com/node/21554579
  16. A cautionary tale: Cheap glass window wall is not suitable for our climate http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/11/13/tor-glass-walled-condos.html Thermal Window Failure: How it Happens A Developer's Change of Heart Engineering Buildings to Perform Audio and Video Highlights Many of the glass condominium towers filling up the Toronto skyline will fail 15 to 25 years after they’re built, perhaps even earlier, and will need retrofits costing millions of dollars, say some industry experts. Buyers drawn to glass-walled condos because of the price and spectacular views may soon find themselves grappling with major problems including: Insulation failures. Water leaks. Skyrocketing energy and maintenance costs. Declining resale potential. Glass condominiums — known in the industry as window walls — have floor-to-ceiling glass, so essentially the window becomes the wall. Window walls generally span from the top of the concrete slab right to the bottom. The slow-motion failure of Toronto's glass condos http://www.cbc.ca/toronto/features/condos/ Over the past decade, Toronto's building boom has been dominated by tall glass condo towers. They've transformed the look of city skylines all over the world – especially here in Toronto, where according to Emporis.comwe've built more towers per capita than any other city in North America. But it may be a trend that puts style over substance. A small but growing chorus is sounding the alarm about the future of these buildings. Building scientists have known for a long time that glass-walled structures are less energy efficient than the stone and concrete buildings that were put up forty of fifty years ago. But the market demand for glass combined with the relatively low cost of glass-wall construction means the building industry has been happy to oblige. However, industry insiders warn that as energy costs climb, glass towers may become the "pariah" buildings of the future. In these stories, we explore the hidden costs of building with glass and the slow-motion failure of window walls. We also look at why the Ontario Building Code failed to make energy performance a priority, and meet a developer who is reconsidering the construction of such buildings. Building science consultant and University of Waterloo professor John Straube wrote a paper called Can Highly Glazed Building Facades be Green? View Paper [1MB .pdf] http://www.cbc.ca/toronto/features/condos/pdf/condo_conundrum.pdf John Straube John Straube, a building science consultant and professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo says glass condos are a "perfect reflection" of a society that's found it easier to throw things away than to build them to last. "We have a hard time," says Straube, "thinking five years when we buy a laptop, ten years when we buy a car. With these buildings – both the skin and the mechanical systems are going to have to be redone in a 25-year time frame. The concrete structure will be there a long time but in 20, 25 years time, we are going to see a lot of scaffolding on the outside of the buildings as we replace the glazing, sealants and the glass itself." Although falling glass from the condo balconies has attracted most of the public attention during the summer of 2011, building scientists warn that the long-term failure of the glass structures – although less sensational – is much more serious. More: how thermal window failure happens Window-wall systems Most of them are built using window-wall systems which have next to no insulation value, except for a half inch of heavy gas between the two panels of glass. As John Straube points out, what glass does really well is conduct heat. "A little experiment anyone can do at home is get a glass for drinking. Pour boiling water into it, and try and pick it up. You'll burn yourself." Straube, along with building science colleagues like Ted Kesik at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto, warns that as energy costs climb, the costs of heating and cooling glass towers will increase the monthly fees. Kesik wrote a paper called The Glass Condo Conundrum (250KB .pdf) on the potential liabilities of glass towers. The Glass Condo Conundrum It's not just the energy costs. Glass structures require major maintenance much earlier in their life cycle than a traditional structure made of precast or brick. Straube warns maintenance costs will skyrocket in 20 to 25 years' time as the buildings age. The windows will begin to fog up, and the cost of replacing entire walls of glass will be prohibitive on highrise structures that can only be accessed from swing stages. Building scientists talk about the life cycle of a building, akin to a human life cycle, language that encourages people like Straube to see a building as an organism. "It has lungs," says Straube, "it has veins, all of that stuff – it has a structural skeleton." To Straube, a building is a living, breathing thing, enclosing the people who live inside. Building with glass walls is to miss the main point of a building, says Straube – sacrificing the protection that is a building's first duty for a beauty that is only skin-deep. "It's almost derogatory in my world," says Straube, "to forget about everything else that's part of experiencing a building. I like to think what is this building going to be like on a dark and stormy night. In our climate particularly, we care about that. It's life and death." Audio Introduction Matt Galloway spoke with Mary Wiens about the series. Listen (runs 6:11) Part One Mary Wiens introduces us to people concerned about the hidden costs of glass walls. Listen (runs 6:48) Part Two A developer of glass towers tells us why he will never put up another one. Listen (runs 6:28) Part Three Mary Wiens asks engineers about the rise, and repair, of the glass towers. Listen (runs 6:38) Part Four Mary Wiens tours a new condominium with a young couple and their real estate agent. Listen (runs 6:50) Part Five Mary Wiens tells us about a solution that has helped produce more efficient cars and appliances, an approach that may have potential for condominiums as well. Listen (runs 6:59) Video Part One: How glass fails John Lancaster talks to David House about the potential problems facing owners of glass condos in Toronto. Watch (runs 3:16) Part Two: Hidden costs Kamela and Jason Hurlbut are looking for their first dream home but there are hidden costs to living in Toronto's glass condos. Watch (runs 3:19) Part Three: The ripple effect If I can't sell my condo, I can't buy your home. John Lancaster looks at the possible ripple effect in Toronto's real estate market. Watch (runs 3:48)
  17. Dana FlavelleBusiness Reporter Dana Flavelle Business Reporter There’s a bill before the U.S. Congress that would allow Americans to bring back $1,000 worth of Canadian goods duty-free after just a few hours of shopping across our border. Meanwhile, Canadians can’t bring back anything from the U.S. duty-free until they’ve been away for 24 hours. Even then the limit is $50. This protectionism is one of the reasons U.S. retailers who open up shop in Canada can charge higher prices here than in their home market, an economics professor says. “There are two reasons prices are higher in Canada,” said Ambarish Chandra, a professor with the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. “It is more expensive. Retailers here have to pay higher taxes and have somewhat higher costs. But a larger part of it is because they can get away with it.” Canadians can complain all they like but unless they do more cross-border shopping, retailers here will charge whatever the market will bear, Chandra said. The same barriers exist online: Canadians are charged duty on items shipped across the border. The Consumers Association of Canada says it has lobbied Ottawa to raise the limits, noting the maximum exemption - $750 after a week-long stay - hasn’t changed in more than 15 years. But the consumer group says its efforts are always opposed by Canadian retailers. The Retail Council of Canada denies it has lobbied the government on this issue. “In an age when you can shop around the world, travellers’ exemptions would be the least of our concerns,” said council president and chief executive Diane Brisebois. “We have not had any conversations with the government about exemptions.” Ottawa doubled the exemption for 48-hour trips outside the country to $400 from $200 in 2007, but has no plans to make further changes at this time, said a spokesperson for federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. “We continually monitor the adequacies of the travellers’ exemption for Canadians. This includes taking into consideration the impact of any further modifications on the government’s budgetary balance and the impact on Canadian retailers,” the minister’s office said in a written statement. The U.S. currently allows $200 for same-day shopping. The issue of retail price parity arose again this week after some Canadian customers complained U.S. retailer J. Crew is charging higher prices in its new Canadian store and on its Canadian website than in its U.S. stores and on its U.S. website. The difference in the stores averages 15 per cent; the difference online is up to 40 per cent, once taxes and shipping are included. Canadians have been railing about price differences between the two countries ever since the Canadian dollar rose to parity with the U.S. greenback in 2007 after years in the doldrums. “It’s come to the fore again because the Canadian dollar is so strong and so many U.S. retailers are coming here,” said Lynn Bevan, a partner with the consulting firm RSM Richter in Toronto. Bevan said retailers who bring their operations north of the border face a slew of higher costs, from duty and freight to real estate and labour. Overhead costs in Canada are spread across fewer stores, and in some cases the Canadian business is separately owned and must pay royalty and other fees to the U.S. parent. “It’s not like Canadian retailers are making out like bandits,” she said. Prices were on average 20 per cent higher in Canada than in the U.S. on a broad range of goods from DVDs to luxury cars to golf balls, according to a survey last April by Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. The only times the price gap has closed in the past four years are when the Canadian dollar has dropped below the U.S. greenback, Porter said. http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1043928--canadians-need-higher-duty-free-limits-prof-says
  18. Honeywell to shut Montreal plant, shift jobs to P.E.I. and U.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS Published Thursday February 28th, 2008 MONTREAL - Honeywell International is closing its 81-year-old Montreal repair and overhaul facility that employs 200 people as it shifts work to Prince Edward Island and the United States. The facility is being shut over the next six months because of a reduced demand for auxiliary power units on older model planes and the U.S. Air Force's decision to complete the work in house, Honeywell spokesman Bill Reavis said Thursday. Honeywell's decision follows the company's efforts to manage its costs in a competitive global aerospace industry, he said. Employees, including the 130 union workers, will have an opportunity to apply for other positions in Honeywell after the work is moved to Summerside, P.E.I. and several facilities in the U.S. More than 100 people work at Honeywell's P.E.I. facility.
  19. Canada may be a hotspot for retail expansion, but lease costs in the country’s fanciest downtown shopping districts are still a relative bargain compared to other global centres. Toronto’s Bloor Street area was the priciest in Canada at $291.66 (U.S.) a square foot, according to Colliers International. Toronto is the only Canadian city to make the Top 50 in the report, coming in as the world’s 37th most expensive retail leasing market. The most expensive space in the world can be found on Fifth Avenue in New York, where lease costs are $2,150 a square foot – gaining 70 per cent over last year. The top five is rounded out by Hong Kong’s Russell Street ($1,510, up 25 per cent), Paris’s Avenue des Champs-Elysees ($1,310, unchanged), London’s Old Bond Street ($962, unchanged) and Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse ($955, up 14.2 per cent). Ste-Catherine Street West in Montreal was the second most expensive Canadian location, at $204.15, a drop of 4.5 per cent. Saskatoon saw the biggest jump in Canadian lease rates, with Broadway Avenue gaining 25 per cent to $34.03. Other Canadian sites included: Calgary’s Uptown 17th Avenue at $53.47 (down 26 per cent), Downtown Edmonton at $43.75 (unchanged), Halifax’s Sprig Garden Road at $48.61 (unchanged), Ottawa’s Byward Market at $38.89 (down 20 per cent), Vancouver’s Robson Street at $194.44 (unchanged) and Victoria’s Government Street at $53.47 (unchanged). “After two successive years of lackluster growth, the world’s top retail streets once again regained their vitality, as reflected by a general rise in rents in many of the world’s premier shopping districts,” the report states. “As the lingering effects of the global downturn faded during the latter half of 2010, rising demand for the world’s most prime retail real estate was evident in many countries as many new retailers sought to establish a foothold in the world’s most prestigious avenues.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/canadas-retail-space-still-a-deal-report/article2050037/
  20. Read more: http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/new-green-tax-to-make-electronics-more-expensive-1.957018#ixzz26druCxzC Things just got more expensive again in this province I wonder what else is left for Quebec to tax us on? Quebec could make life harder for consumers buying stuff at Zara, H&M and others, by having a tax on clothes made in China, Bangladesh and other countries.
  21. APRIL 6, 2009, 9:17 PM By JIM MOTAVALLI G.M.’s P.U.M.A. prototype in Manhattan. General Motors may be so short of cash that bankruptcy is among its dwindling options, but the company is still in the business of creating dreams. Its latest dream, the P.U.M.A. mobility pod, to be unveiled Tuesday in New York, is pretty far out — and as such, requires no big immediate investments. Indeed, Larry Burns, G.M.’s vice president for research and development and strategic planning, said the P.U.M.A. prototype cost “only one half of one percent of G.M’s typical engineering budget” for a year. Of course, the P.U.M.A. (for Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) is not really a car, and it’s not really being introduced, except as a bit of blue-sky thinking about better ways to move around crowded urban areas than driving an automobile. Mr. Burns has used the phrase “reinvention of the automobile” before, in relation to fuel-cell vehicles like the G.M. Sequel. But the P.U.M.A., a joint project with Segway, the New Hampshire-based creator of self-balancing two-wheel scooters, is quite different. Think of a larger, two-passenger, sit-down version of the Segway PT, with two gyroscopically balanced wheels. The prototype has minimal bodywork, but podlike enclosures (which look like computer mice on wheels) are imagined for production. If it gets that far. If all of this conjures visions of a rickshaw, well, the prototype does somewhat resemble one. Mr. Burns imagines Singapore, which has rickshaws, as one possible early market. The P.U.M.A., which will be displayed at the New York International Auto Show (which opens to the public on Friday), is an electric vehicle powered by lithium-ion batteries. James D. Norrod, the president and chief executive of Segway, says it has a 35-mile range and 35 m.p.h. top speed. A three-hour charge costs, not surprisingly, 35 cents. It is, in essence, a neighborhood electric vehicle, or N.E.V., whose limited speed keeps it off highways (and, in most states, off roads with speed limits over 35). Mr. Burns said that six P.U.M.A.’s would fit in a standard parking space. A new N.E.V. — many are little more than glorified golf carts— is not going to reinvent the automobile. Despite the claims by proponents of such vehicles that they serve the driving needs of many millions, they have failed to make much of a dent in the car market. Ford abandoned its Neighbor N.E.V. when it sold the Norwegian company that made it, Think Nordic, at the end of 2002. Fewer than 6,000 Neighbors were sold in the United States that year. Chrysler still sells Global Electric Motorcars vehicles, which have had some success in gated communities. In a meeting Monday with editors and reporters at The New York Times, Mr. Burns pulled out his cellphone to make a point: Project P.U.M.A. vehicles would be designed to tap into the two-way communications made possible by G.M.’s OnStar technology, which has six million North American subscribers. The vision is expansive: using “vehicle to vehicle,” or V2V, communications, these “100 percent digital” devices would communicate with one another over a quarter-mile range to prevent collisions, eventually allowing what G.M. calls “autonomous driving and parking.” Mr. Burns imagines a hands-free urban driver ignoring dense city traffic to concentrate on sending text messages from a PDA clipped in to serve as a dashboard, while the mobile Internet pod moves toward its destination. “My daughter sleeps with her iPhone in her hand,” Mr. Burns said. “At this point, is using a cellphone the distraction, or has driving become the distraction?” There’s more: the pods would also be equipped to communicate with the smart grid of the future (as is the Aptera EV, another podlike electric vehicle that is due to be introduced in the fall), returning electricity to utilities during times of peak demand. That’s not V2V, it’s V2G — vehicle to grid. NYT_VideoPlayerStart({playerType:"article",videoId:"1194839263765",adxPagename:"wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/video"}); The Segway PT costs $5,000, so the more capable 600-pound P.U.M.A. would presumably be priced considerably higher, though Mr. Burns declined to speculate where the sweet spot might be. “This is a prototype, not a product,” said Mr. Norrod of Segway. “We have not made a decision to commercialize it.” Mr. Burns concluded his remarks by offering a glimmer of what his company could become if it managed to transform the urban roadscape. “We were the S.U.V. company, and we accept that,” he said. “We want to become the U.S.V. company — known for ultra-small vehicles.” Copyright 2009 The New York Times CompanyPrivacy PolicyNYTimes.com 620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018 http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/06/gm-conjures-up-a-people-moving-pod/?pagemode=print
  22. Source: Thrillist Sure, sure, sure. This war’s been waged a thousand times, but we found 10 reasons why Montreal trumps the “t-dot” (which is a stupid name, btw) and we didn’t even have to use low-blow examples like Rob Ford, Toronto's "sports" teams, or that shining moment when former mayor Mel Lastman called in the military that time it SNOWED IN THE WINTER. 1. Better bagels, poutine, smoked meat, and sandwiches. Let’s just start by getting this out of the way. Montreal is home to one of the best sandwiches in the world, the best bagels in the world, the greatest poutines, and the best smoked meat. Eat that Toronto. 2. You can drink anywhere in Montreal, all the time. Yes, you can legally drink in public in Montreal as long as you’re eating food. And since Montreal has the best Canadian food in the country, that technicality is pretty much a friendly reminder. Heck, you can’t even drink alcohol on a licensed patio in Toronto after 11p. 3. Obtaining alcohol to drink in public is easier. In Montreal, wine and beer are sold in dépanneurs, the greatest corner stores in the world, until 11p, the time most Torontonians are climbing into bed. Also? The beer here is better in general. 4. "Joie de vivre". People from Toronto don’t even know what this means, partly because it’s French, and partly because Montreal is legitimately one of the happiest places in the world, and Toronto isn't. And on that subject... 5. Fun isn’t illegal in Montreal. This is not hyperbole. Montrealers are often found frolicking joyously in parks whilst flying kites, having civilized outdoor dinner parties wherein alcohol is consumed, or joining a hippie drum circle on the side of the mountain. All of the above are literally illegal in Toronto. Toronto has a problem with fun (for those too lazy to follow that link, it's a Toronto newspaper describing how the city's denizens have to go to Montreal to have anything resembling a good time). 6. All the best parties happen in Montreal. People from around the world come to Montreal for the Jazz Fest, Osheaga, Just For Laughs, Igloofest, etc., or to just take in Montreal’s famously awesome nightlife scene. 7. Montreal has a mountain Sure it ain’t no Mt. Everest, but at least our mountain isn’t made of garbage (Chinguacousy Hill, I’m looking at you), and it means we have way better snow sports. 8. The cost of living will cost you almost nothing. Montrealers live in beautiful, penthouse-sized apartments with large balconies, and it costs them what a Torontonian pays for their monthly subway pass. And talking of the subway... 9. Montreal’s award-winning metro system actually makes sense. Who in the hell designed Toronto’s subway system? The impractical waste of money that is called the TTC basically amounts to a straight line running through a narrow “U” shape. And a monthly pass costs about twice as much as one in Montreal. 10. Montreal isn’t a sprawling suburban wasteland. The Greater Toronto Area is where Torontonians who have given up on life go move into cookie-cutter houses and burden themselves with the worst commute in North America.
  23. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/independent+Quebec+might+benefit+from+currency+report/9637904/story.html An independent Quebec might benefit from its own currency: report Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois said an independent Quebec would accept the loonie, along with Canadian monetary policy, and consider asking for a seat at the Bank of Canada. Photograph by: Jonathan Hayward , THE CANADIAN PRESS An independent Quebec might be better off with its own currency rather than following Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois’s suggestion that it keep the Canadian dollar, a report says. A Quebec currency and separate monetary policy could bring “potential benefits” in the long term to Quebec, Paul Ashworth and David Madani of Capital Economics said in a research report. “The basic problem Quebec faces is that it is a manufacturing-orientated province tied to the resource-rich provinces in the west. The energy boom has boosted the economic performance of those western provinces, saddling Quebec’s manufacturers with a high exchange rate and higher than needed interest rates.” A Quebec currency would presumably depreciate against the Canadian and U.S. dollars, particularly if interest rates were lower than the rest of Canada. The resulting boost to Quebec competitiveness should trigger a rise in exports and a reduction in imports, the report said. But a referendum on separation would have negative consequences — including on investments in Quebec and higher yields on Quebec provincial debt — while a new Quebec currency would bring additional challenges, the economists noted. “If the Quebec currency depreciated in value against the Canadian dollar, then it would make it harder for the new government to repay any debt still denominated in Canadian dollars. The same goes for Quebec households and businesses that had borrowed Canadian dollars.” Separation would bring the loss of equalization payments — $9.3 billion this year, equivalent to about 2.5 per cent of Quebec GDP — while contending with higher debt servicing costs. “The bigger problem is the legacy of provincial debt, equivalent to 49 per cent of Quebec GDP. Assuming that an independent Quebec assumed responsibility for a per capita share of federal debt, too, we estimate that its overall debt burden would rise to 89 per cent of GDP. Under those circumstances, Quebec might find its borrowing costs rising, which would only add to the budget deficit and, in conjunction with the loss of equalization payments, force the new government into a sizable fiscal consolidation. “The risk of default would also be greater if an independent Quebec allowed the Bank of Canada to control monetary policy, since it couldn’t resort to printing more currency.” On the campaign trail last week, Marois said an independent Quebec would accept the loonie, along with Canadian monetary policy, and consider asking for a seat at the Bank of Canada. Her comments sparked discussion over the economic costs of sovereignty even though polls show support for independence running well below 50 per cent. Capital Economics, known for its bearish views of the Canadian housing market, weighed in on Wednesday. “Politicians who are striving for independence, whether it is in Scotland or Quebec, know that talk of adopting a new currency makes the electorate very nervous, so they have a tendency to argue that the new sovereign state would be able to keep its existing monetary arrangements,” the economists wrote. In any event, Quebec should be looking to adopt a looser monetary policy than the rest of Canada, the report’s authors said. “The evidence is overwhelming that interest rates should be set lower in Quebec, to provide more support to the depressed economy.”
  24. (Courtesy of Public Mobile) Thing is they are going to use CDMA G-Band. They are targeting the 38% of Canadians who do not have mobile phones. Seems interesting. Only way this can work if their plans are like $10/month or something.