“(Lumber Futures) have gained 12 percent since the end of January, the most among 35 raw materials tracked by the Rogers International Commodity Index. West Fraser said exports to China ‘picked up substantially’ in the first quarter from the fourth quarter. Shipments climbed to a record in 2011, government data show. US starts rose 1.5 percent last month from December to a 699,000 annual rate, the most for a January since 2008 and a sign that residential real estate is stabilizing..”
The March edition of Vancouver Magazine has a great little Q&A with author Charlotte Gill, who passionately planted 1.5 million trees during a tree-planting career that spanned 17 years. Her memoir, Eating Dirt, has been shortlisted for three Canadian literary awards – the Q&A is available online here.
Vancouver is reported to be one of the least affordable cities in the world. Inside the city, the widening gap between rich and poor is reflected most starkly in challenges with affordable housing, especially in the downtown eastside. The ‘poorer’ neighborhoods of the city increasingly find themselves the target of ‘gentrification’… defined as “the social, economic, and cultural transformation of a predominantly low-income neighborhood through the deliberate influx of upscale residential and commercial development. Encouraged by municipal development policies, economic incentives for investors, and the mythical pull of the creative city, urban land is purchased and developed at low cost for middle-class buyers” (source). The fallout associated with the “violence of gentrification” that is taking place in the current pattern of ‘urban renewal’ in Vancouver is explored in the very interesting full story here.
Spent yesterday in the Fraser Valley tagging along on some great visits to several of Dakeryn’s local customers. It was refreshing to get out of the office, meet people, and walk through some lumber yards – albeit in the pouring rain. We capped the day with a tour of our custom manufacturing plant Mountain View Specialty Products – who happened to be on a DakDek run destined for the New England market (2×6 Premium Select Decking – WC 200 pattern). I snapped a couple photos of the final product as it came off the chain below.
“The largest known insect infestation in North American history.”
That’s how the Canadian Forest Service describes the infestation of the mountain pine beetle. The challenge of affecting an interception in the prolific reproductive cycle of these little buggers has had scientists scratching their heads for a long time.
Meanwhile, in Canmore, Alberta, the infestation of bunnies in district woods has inspired locals to come up with creative — some say radical — population control strategies. Trapped rabbits are being delivered to volunteer vets for a delicate shave and snip – a ‘painless procedure’ – before being released to local retirement sanctuaries where they live out their hippy hop days, albeit with less hump. Wild life veterinarians are examining the early results of the Canmore experiment to see if there are applicable strategies in woods overpopulated with pine beetle.
“The ministry lacks clearly defined timber objectives, without which it cannot ensure management practices are effective; existing management practices are insufficient to offset the trend of timber supply and declining biodiversity in some areas; monitoring of timber results is insufficient to measure whether existing objectives are being met.”
A structural engineering associate in Vancouver forwarded links to this daring design for a luxury residential tower at 1400 Howe Street. It’s already attracting attention from skyscraper enthusiasts here while awaiting approval from the city. By the looks of the application, it’s unlikely the multi-storey structure will be wood-frame — impressive nonetheless!