Reno World

An interesting promotional piece in Saturday’s National Post (which doesn’t appear to be available on-line), features a plan underway to “reinvent the renovation process,” with Canada’s first home improvement centre – Improve, Inc. – a “one-stop shop for home improvement needs.”  The model is already popular in Europe and Asia – think year-round home show – a ‘super mall’ – with hundreds of home improvement vendors under one roof  – “from floors to fences, and countertops to contractors” – all dedicated to home renovators’ needs.  A state of the art Toronto location will be the first, a ‘showpiece’ – opening next year – “to wow vendors and shoppers alike” .. with an eye to future locations in major cities across the country..

Office Opener

Dakeryn partners, employees, and distinguished guests officially cut the ribbon on our new office last night.  Industry friends and family alike mingled over refreshments and tasty hors d’oeuvres, while checking out our new working digs.  A great evening!

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BCWLA Smoker Wrap

Thomson’s first priority was to address the unfolding Burns Lake tragedy and the devastating impact on the people of Burns Lake.  There’s serious concern for both the immediate and long term futures of the community.  Thomson then touched on B.C.’s recent trade mission to China, India, and also Japan – having led the forest delegation.  While acknowledging that credit tightening policies in China have contributed to a slowdown, he was upbeat about continued growth opportunities.  Re. Japan, he said this ‘mature market’ would see renewed demand for J-Grade when post-tsunami construction shifts to building permanent homes.  He also noted the honour at having been in Tokyo, to announce $4.5 million in funding to construct wood framed buildings – a “legacy project” – as part of Canada’s relief efforts.  By this point his audience at the smoker was likely craving a more revealing ‘insider’s’ report on his travels, but it wasn’t to be!

Thomson then plugged the provincial government’s jobs plan, telling us to ‘stay tuned’ for strategies specific to the forest sector, to be revealed in the coming weeks.  In the face of ongoing arbitration in the Interior, he was pleased with the recent extension of the softwood lumber agreement with the U.S. – but didn’t elaborate.  Finally, he talked about the inevitable tightening of timber supply, citing growing pressures on annual allowable cuts as salvage logging of beetle-killed pine dwindles.

The highlight of the evening was President Carl Dobler’s announcement of a $5,000 donation to the people of Burns Lake on behalf of the B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association.  The donation was matched by the North American Wholesale Lumber Association.  Steve Thomson added his $500 honorarium from the BCWLA, bringing the donation total to $10,500.

Missing in Action

So far there have been no sightings around our office of the two missing Cubans, who reportedly defected just prior to their last Olympic qualifying match for women’s soccer this week in Vancouver.  This tournament has produced numerous storylines, led by the Haitian team, inspired to their first victory by a local under-eleven team’s fundraising.  And after checking into their hotel just in time for a gang-style shooting, the U.S. team has been the class of the tournament, pummeling their first three opponents by a combined score of 31-0.  The crucial semi-finals are next up on Friday; only the winners move on to the biggest stage, in London this summer.  The U.S. team is heavily favored to defeat Costa Rica, while Canada needs to defeat Mexico to make Sunday’s final a hot ticket.  The Canadian team features Christine Sinclair, who is regarded by many as the best woman player in the world today.


The British Columbia Wholesale Lumber Association Smoker is scheduled for this Wednesday, January 25th at the Vancouver Rowing Club, Stanley Park.  The trend of big names at this annual event continues, with the Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations scheduled to speak.  Should be smokin’!  Ticket info is available at the BCWLA website here.

U.S. Starts..

No doubt the 4.1% drop in December housing starts was surprising based on encouraging home-builder sentiment of late .. however there are positives “behind the numbers.”  Turns out “the main reason for the monthly decline was a more than 20% drop in construction of multifamily homes.. single-family construction was actually up 4.4% from a month earlier and reached the highest level since April 2010 – a time when builders were ramping up construction in response to a government tax credit for first-time home buyers.”

Behind the Numbers: Housing Starts Fall

Snow in the City

Snow falling in chilly Vancouver today served to remind us it’s wintertime!  Up to now, weather conditions have been unseasonably balmy this winter – not only here but right across much of Canada and the U.S.  An article in today’s Wall Street Journal here looks at how mild weather provides a boost to economic activity all ’round.. with housing being the “prime beneficiary” .. while pointing out that when weather doesn’t follow normal trends, economic data can misrepresent true activity levels.

Wintertime - The Fraser Valley, British Columbia - photo by E J Harder