Burnaby features lakes, ocean access, delicious dining and more

Summer fun in Burnaby

With summer less than a week away, it’s easy to get into a vacation state of mind. Where to go? What to do? Though those questions may be a little weightier given the last year or so, one way to solve the vacation destination dilemma is to stay a little closer to home.

OK, maybe not in your immediate backyard, but how about a short road trip or ferry ride to somewhere that will have wide appeal for you and your fellow travellers?

If you’re hoping for lakes, ocean access, great dining and incredible shopping options, think Burnaby.

Centrally located with easy access to all points in the Lower Mainland and right next door to Vancouver, Burnaby is an affordable, activity-filled, best-kept holiday secret.

“Burnaby has a lot of major attractions and draws,” says Ravina Sidhu, marketing manager for Tourism Burnaby. “It is a lot less busy than downtown Vancouver. It’s more laid back and a little more casual, and it also works as the hub for Metro Vancouver.”

Sidhu says that shopping is one of the city’s main pillars, with the Metropolis at Metrotown being the largest mall in B.C.

The transformation of Brentwood Town Centre into The Amazing Brentwood offers yet another unique lifestyle destination for vacationers by bringing in new shops like H&M Home, Sporting Life and Urban Outfitters and eateries like the Basil Box Thai restaurant and the delicious bakery/café Small Victory, along with an ongoing rotation of food trucks.

“They’ve taken that neighbourhood mall and made it bigger and better,” Sidhu explains. “There’s a central plaza. It’s a nice mix of indoor/outdoor retail. If you want to do some shopping inside on a rainy day, you’re able to.

It reminds me of The Grove in Los Angeles. It’s a very West Coast mall feel. There’s nothing like it in B.C.”

For a neighbourhood vibe, stroll The Heights on Hastings Street where you’ll discover great multi-cultural restaurants, bakeries, and one-of-a-kind boutiques.

A centre for the Italian community, you can dine in at Anton’s Pasta Bar, get take-out from Cioffi’s Italian Deli or get great imported groceries from De Benedetto.

Italian fare is just one example of the range of dining options in the city.

“You can get everything from an African curry to a Malaysian soup to pasta or Thai food. There’s a whole gamut of experiences to have,” Sidhu adds.

She explains that “because Burnaby is made up of 25 per cent parks, it’s really easy to do take-out from a restaurant and do dine al fresco.”

Given the expansive and diverse green space in Burnaby, visitors will likely be tempted to do more than just picnic.

Burnaby Mountain boasts challenging bike trails and a bike skills park for all levels of ability, from beginner to advanced. Head down to sea level for urban biking trails, easily accessible nature walks in and around the Deer and Burnaby Lakes.

Or, rent a kayak, canoe or pedal boat to enjoy the tranquility of Deer Lake with the Metrotown’s vibrant skyline on the horizon.

“There are also many outdoor activities that are easily accessible around the city,” Sidhu states. “You can hike up Burnaby Mountain; it is beautiful and rewarding, but if you want an easier adventure, there are trail walks around Burnaby Lake or Deer Lake Park.

You can even head up to the ocean at Barnett Marine park. There is a beautiful path to walk along there or down by the Fraser River at Fraser Foreshore Park.”

For beer enthusiasts, Burnaby’s extensive transit system—two Skytrain lines and comprehensive bus routes—comes in handy after an evening of beer tasting at one of Burnaby’s three major craft breweries: Steamworks, Dageraad and the recently opened Studio Brewing. All have tasting rooms, patios, and though no restaurants, food trucks are on-site for the weekends.

When seeking accommodation, visitors will find that Burnaby hotels range from luxury at the Delta Hotels Burnaby to stylish boutique-style at Element Vancouver Metrotown to affordable family-friendly suites at the Accent Inns Burnaby—all close to transit for those opting to leave the car behind as they sightsee.

“We have many great options for hotels in Burnaby that work for every price range,” Sidhu confirms.

Sidhu adds that this summer, Burnaby is offering visitors a gift of a $50 gift card for Metropolis at Metrotown or gasoline for staying at specific accommodations.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

There’s a world of experiences waiting for you this summer, right here in BC

Be open to new adventures

Find hidden gems in the city. Uncover little-known treasures in Metro Vancouver and Victoria to experience both cities in a whole new light.

Connect with Indigenous cultures. Visit ancient coastal villages with an Indigenous guide and discover connections to something bigger. Wake up in nature. Let the serenity of nature lull you to sleep in a cabin, lodge, luxury yurt, or tent and wake up in the great outdoors.

Be moved by wildlife. Hire an experienced guide for your best chance to see and learn about BC wildlife in its natural habitat. Stand in awe of the mountains. Make a mountain town your home base and let locals show you how best to explore new terrain.

Discover new roads ahead. Pack up the car, pick your destinations and take the road trip of a lifetime on one of B.C.’s scenic touring routes. Follow an ale trail. Find your new favourite local flavours as you explore urban patios, rural farms, and everything in between on B.C.’s ale trails.

Taste your way to unique places. You’ll have plenty of choices touring, sampling, and snacking at wineries in our nine dynamic wine growing regions. Cast in new waters. Step into a world of wilderness and tranquility as you cast a line in the bountiful waters of B.C.’s oceans, lakes, and rivers. Take your game farther. Hit the links against breathtaking backdrops from the coast to the mountains to the desert on golf courses across B.C.

Habitat for Humanity Kamloops offering up '69 Barracuda in raffle

Habitat car raffle a Classic

If you are going to conduct a car raffle, you cannot go wrong in offering up a 1969 Barracuda convertible.

That’s what the winner of the third annual Habitat for Humanity Kamloops Classic Car Raffle will be driving away in when the winner is announced in December. Ticket sales start today.

The organization’s executive director, Bill Miller, said Habitat for Humanity Kamloops will always put a 1960s convertible up for grabs, because there is no better decade for those kinds of cars.

“I’m of an age where I remember nostalgically the 60s cars, and there’s a lot of people that remember back when, and some of them had the convertibles,” Miller says. “It just stands us out from everybody else.”

The organization normally receives its car from Tappen’s Rust Bros Restorers, which is featured in the reality TV show Rust Valley Restorers, but this year’s ride came from a private donor. Rust Bros Restorers still did the refurbishing work, however, and the Barracuda, whose exterior and interior colour is Blue Fire Metallic, is valued at $62,000.

The Classic Car Raffle is Habitat Kamloops’ biggest annual fundraiser. The organization covers a vast region that stretches from Lumby to Golden to Prince George to just east of Hope, so every dollar is crucial when it comes to helping people get into attainable housing.

“There’s a huge demand out there, so we’re trying to leverage as many resources as we can to build as many houses or townhouses or apartments that we can,” Miller says. “The fundraiser provides us the revenue base to be able to facilitate more housing.”

Habitat for Humanity Kamloops recently opened its second ReStore, in Salmon Arm, on May 1, it will be starting construction on four houses in Blind Bay this summer, and it is in the process of applying for building permits on a 21-unit project in Salmon Arm.

“We’re trying to increase the inventory,” Miller says. “With house prices going the way they are, it’s getting tougher and tougher for a lot of families to get into housing. So hopefully we’re going to be able to bridge that gap. That’s what we’re working towards, and the raffle helps us get there.”

If the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted in time, the charity will draw the winning ticket during a 50s and 60s themed dance in Salmon Arm on Dec. 11.

Tickets are available online and at the ReStores in Kamloops and Salmon Arm. The car will also be making appearances at a handful of the charity’s retail partners this summer. Tickets will be available for purchase at some of those businesses as well.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Customer service, family are at heart of plumbing, HVAC business

Milani expands to Kelowna

When Dimitrio Milani arrived in Vancouver alone at age 13 in 1928, it was with the purpose of helping support his family back in Italy. The hardworking, ambitious, enterprising teen successfully fulfilled his duty and went on to create a legacy for future Milani generations with the drainage business he founded in 1956.

Thirty years on, in 1986, his son Vern Milani stepped in to buy the business from his father having worked with him since childhood and went on to expand Milani Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning to more than 100 trucks that provide retrofit installations and repair services all over the Lower Mainland.

“I started working with him at the age of eight every day after school and summer holidays,” Milani says. “I started working full time as soon as I got out of high school. I think from an early age I saw how fulfilling it was for him. My dad was a very good man, and it was fulfilling for him to work with the public, help people out, to work with his hands and just give good service.”

Over the last five years, the third generation, sons Alexander and Christopher, has joined the company after completing their business degrees.

Family and service are at the heart of the Milani approach to business. The commitment to great customer service is steeped in the core values that Milani believes has allowed their company to flourish.

“Our mission statement is to exceed customers’ expectations,” he says. “We have our core values which are PIPE: passion, integrity, professionalism and empathy. We say what we do, and we do what we say. We follow through and do things with integrity.”

Just as important, Milani says, is for people to know that the company has deep roots in B.C. that ensure that it is going be around not just for the now but in the future. He believes there is comfort for customers knowing that they can depend on Milani to not just show up but to do stellar work, be it installing new air conditioning systems or resolving a plumbing issue.

“Plumbing, gas, heating and air conditioning can be disastrous if it’s not done properly,” he says. “So, you want a good, honest company that’s going to do your work for you that you can rely on. And that’s us. We do that, and that’s what we bring to the table.”

With expanding into the Kelowna area this May, Milani hopes that homeowners will come to recognize what the Milani brand represents. Some advance research did reveal that the welcome mat would be rolled out as their reputation had preceded them.

“I had driven up in the past into Kelowna [in a Milani truck] and parked. Within a couple of days, I had a number of people coming up to me saying ‘I didn’t realize Milani was up here. Can you come and take a look at my furnace,’’’ he says.

The expansion seemed like a natural progression for the company. For any planned work, a Milani representative will meet with the homeowner, provide an assessment, a price and make arrangements from there. Milani says their prices are competitive, describing them as mid-range.

“We’re not going to be expensive, but we are going to be great at what we do. This is a substantial investment. People need to realize they don’t want cheap. They want good,” Milani says.

Good means that the technicians, AC or heating units, and materials are dependable, and that the company stands behind its work. No one wants to lose their air conditioning at the height of summer with temperatures in the 40 C range.

Though the Milani Kelowna team is in place, the company is still looking to expand its staff there hiring more heating, AC and plumbing technicians.

“We’re hoping to find people who care, are knowledgeable and have the skills to do the job right,” Milani says. “People who fit the values of the company.”

For more information about Milani’s services, to book a consultation for an installation or to enquire about positions available in Kelowna, visit www.milani.ca.

Institutions now feeling more confident than ever about Bitcoin

Institutions bet on Bitcoin

Cryptocurrency isn’t just the domain of technology whizzes anymore.

With so much money being printed as a result of COVID-19 financial relief, corporations and institutions are worried about inflation.

Searching for safe stores of value to hedge against inflation, they’ve landed on bitcoin.

Bitcoin is digital money that doesn’t exist in any physical form (as in bills or coins) and is not owned by banks or governments. Because there are a finite number of bitcoin that will ever exist (21 million to be precise), it will retain its value in the long run.

Institutions are now feeling more confident about bitcoin and are pouring money into it.

Despite initial skepticism around the legitimacy of bitcoin, it is the best performing asset of the decade. Its value has grown 200% per year over the last 10 years.

Established business intelligence firm leading corporations in the accumulation of bitcoin

Michael Saylor, the founder and CEO of MicroStrategy, a leading business intelligence firm, has said multiple times that he believes bitcoin is the simplest way to protect the value that MicroStrategy has created for shareholders.

Saylor and MicroStrategy announced that, as of April 2021, they had accumulated a total of 91,579 bitcoin, which they spent $2.226 billion to acquire. That bitcoin is now worth $5.3 billion, with MicroStrategy essentially capturing a $3 billion increase in value through their bitcoin investment.

Since then, we’ve seen a flurry of macro traders, corporations and institutions begin to invest in bitcoin.

Among the established names bringing bitcoin into the mainstream are Paypal, which launched the capability of buying and selling bitcoin on its platform. NBA team the Sacramento Kings have offered bitcoin salary options to all its players. And notably, Tesla made headlines when it purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and announced it would now accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

Citibank has speculated that bitcoin could become the currency of choice for global trade, and Deutsche Bank says that bitcoin’s market cap of $1 trillion makes it too important to ignore.

Institutions and corporations are holding, not selling bitcoin

Institutions aren’t just looking to bitcoin as a short-term strategy.

Some businesses, such as MicroStrategy, have said that they don’t intend to ever sell bitcoin. They see it as the world’s reserve asset and are playing an accumulation game.

It won’t be surprising if we continue to see more businesses and institutions buying bitcoin this year and beyond to protect themselves against inflation.

Fear of inflation is what ultimately drives capital flows and why we’re seeing more money pouring into bitcoin.

As more and more large institutions begin to provide their customers with access to bitcoin and buy it for themselves, it reduces the availability of bitcoin and increases the price for retail investors.

The easy way to buy bitcoin in Canada

Although major institutions are investing millions or billions of dollars into bitcoin, it is still accessible to regular investors.

Canadian cryptocurrency brokerage Netcoins makes it easy for anyone to buy as little as $10 in bitcoin using its secure, user-friendly platform.

All Netcoins users need to do is simply deposit Canadian dollars into their Netcoins account to buy bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrency of their choice). They can deposit via e-transfer, online billing or bank wire for zero fees.

Even if you aren’t quite ready to buy or sell yet, Netcoins has some features that allow you to either watch the price closely or set limit orders, whereby a trade is executed only when certain parameters are met (including buy or sell trades at user-defined price points).

These features, alongside the standard instant trading Netcoins offers, allows users to start investing in cryptocurrencies, easily and quickly within a safe environment. Owned by BIGG Digital Assets, Netcoins offers its users and investors more transparency into its finances and operations.

To learn more and to get started buying bitcoin easily, visit netcoins.ca.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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Buying and selling Bitcoin just got easier thanks to Netcoins

Buying, selling Bitcoin easy

Cryptocurrency pioneer and president of Netcoins, Mitchell Demeter, was drawn to Bitcoin through his interest in gold.

“It was a gold bug to begin with, but when I looked into Bitcoin, it had the same underlying principles as gold. I’d say it has even more advantages. It’s digital and can be sent all around the world,” Demeter says.

Bitcoin is digital money that doesn’t exist in any physical form (as in bills or coins) and is not owned by banks or governments. While it was the first cryptocurrency invented in 2008, Bitcoin paved the way for thousands of other digital currencies. However, Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency in part because it holds the biggest market share.

“Bitcoin was born out of the 2008 financial crisis. During that crisis, a lot of people looked at the existing system and started to understand there were a lot of problems with it,” Demeter says.

As a result, Bitcoin was created to offer the ability for two parties to exchange digital money directly with each other without going through a financial institution. This process of bypassing the middleman is what’s often referred to as “decentralized finance.”

A key characteristic of Bitcoin is that it is limited in supply. There is a cap on Bitcoin’s supply at 21 million to help it retain value in the long run. This stands in stark contrast to the dollar, which is unlimited in supply.

This appeals to investors who are concerned about the amount of money printing happening today. As banks continue to print money at unprecedented rates, the excess supply is expected to eventually devalue the worth of a dollar in the long-term.

“If the choice is between holding dollars that are intentionally being devalued or holding an asset with a finite supply, people have that lightbulb moment. They realize they don’t want to hold their wealth in a currency that’s depreciating over time,” Demeter says.

Demeter’s lightbulb moment came when deciding to purchase bitcoin in 2013, he realized there were significant hoops to acquiring bitcoin, which involved wiring money to Slovenia and waiting weeks for confirmation.

“The fact that you could have a scarce digital asset was revolutionary. The fact that it was limited made sense. From there, I started buying it. It was difficult because there weren't many places to get it,” Demeter says.

“Right away I recognized it as an opportunity for business. I created a brokerage where I could help Canadians buy and sell cryptocurrencies.”

Demeter became a pioneer in the cryptocurrency industry, co-founding Cointrader Exchange, one of Canada’s earliest online digital currency exchanges (which was acquired in 2015). He’d go on to gain worldwide attention for launching the world’s first Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver.

Continuing on his mission to make cryptocurrency accessible to all Canadians, Demeter joined Netcoins in 2017, officially becoming president in August 2019. Now Netcoins is one the easiest and safest ways to buy cryptocurrency in Canada.

“Netcoins is the product of eight years of experience within the cryptocurrency industry. We have been working hard to make it as easy as possible for Canadians to buy, sell and understand cryptocurrency. People will find that the process of buying and selling cryptocurrency is similar to the process of buying and selling stocks through an online brokerage,” Demeter says.

With as little as $50 dollars, Canadians can sign up to the Netcoins platform and begin buying and selling cryptocurrency. First, users will need to verify their identity as this is a legal requirement given they are a money services business. Once verified, getting started with cryptocurrency investments takes only a few minutes.

A unique characteristic of Bitcoin is that it doesn't have to be purchased whole. Rather, it can be bought in fractions. In fact, bitcoin is divisible up to one hundred millionth of a bitcoin, or eight decimal places down. This allows people to enter the market with small amounts of funds.

However, not everyone might feel ready to invest right away. The lack of regulation in the cryptocurrency world can leave it vulnerable to bad actors. That’s why Netcoins is proactively working with the BC Securities Commission and national regulators to help create a regulatory framework—one that will work for businesses and provide consumers with additional protection.

“We want people to know that with us, cryptocurrency is easy to understand, easy to buy and sell,” Demeter says.

To learn more and to get started buying Bitcoin more easily, visit netcoins.ca.

Habitat Kamloops' raffle winner drives away with $102,000 car

Winner California dreamin'

Brian Saunders is longing for the time he can cruise down a winding ribbon of asphalt along the California coastline.


The Burnaby school teacher is the 2020 winner of Habitat for Humanity Kamloops’ Classic Car Raffle. Saunders got the keys for the dark cherry red, 1968 Beaumont convertible delivered to him in early January by the Rust Bros, who restored the classic muscle car. The Rust Bros are stars of the History Channel and Netflix reality car show Rust Valley Restorers.

“Once things with the pandemic change a bit, I want to drive down the coast to L.A. It’s the perfect car for that,” says Saunders, who purchased his ticket online.

“When the ad popped up, I knew Habitat for Humanity Kamloops was a good charity, and I bought a ticket,” he says. “But I really didn’t consider winning it.

“Just like most raffles, you pay for the joy about thinking if you did. You are buying the dream for a few weeks.”

When he got the phone call a few weeks ago that his ticket had been drawn, the reality did not sink in right away that he would soon be getting the keys to the restored, rare classic valued at $102,500.

“I thought it was a scam. I didn’t think it was real,” he says.

Money raised from the raffle goes towards Habitat Kamloops’ ongoing efforts to develop attainable housing in B.C.

That is what drew Mike Hall, star of Rust Valley Restorers, to partner with Habitat Kamloops to supply a total of five cars from his shop in Tappen for the Classic Car Raffle.

“They (Habitat Kamloops) do a lot of good things for people, and I thought it would be really nice if we could be involved,” Hall says. “Everyone deserves a nice place to live. And there’s a lot of people who sadly don’t.”

Hall added he’s proud of the efforts of his Rust Bros team to transform the car that was part of his collection.

“It didn’t look like this when the folks at Habitat Kamloops first saw it. It was rough,” Hall says. “It needed pretty much everything, including a whole new front end.

“They only made 47 of these. It’s a 327 Beaumont custom rag (convertible), so it was a pretty rare Canadian car.”

With this year’s Habitat classic car delivered, work will soon start on next year’s prize—a vintage Barracuda.

“They’ve got me pretty busy already,” Hall says. It’s a great partnership. We get to build some cool stuff, someone gets to win a rare and valuable car for just a $25 raffle ticket, and people get a nice place to live.

“So, as far as I can see, it’s a win, win, win.”

The delivery of the 1968 Beaumont will be featured on an episode of Rust Valley Restorers later this year.

For more information, visit habitatkamloops.com.

Self-Management BC helps chronic health sufferers develop skills

Health coaching will help

Good health is easy to take for granted, that is until you no longer have it. Living with a chronic health condition presents challenges one doesn’t think about until faced with them. Those issues can seem minor to others, but overwhelming to the person coping with the illness.

Whether trying to organize treatment options or starting a new regimen, figuring out a way forward can be daunting, even when surrounded by family members with the best of intentions.

Self-compassion is what people need, says University of Victoria Professor Patrick McGowan, Director of Self-Management BC, which offers a health coaching program for people with living with chronic conditions.

“We say that self-compassion is an important thing especially during this time when people are so isolated,” McGowan explains. “Self-compassion means taking care of yourself and thinking ‘yes, I’m worth it. I should do something good for myself.’”

Health coaching is an easily accessible, simple and practical way to achieve that all-important self-care by developing self-management skills to navigate the daily challenges of a chronic health condition. 

The three-month, provincially funded, BC Health Coach program is conducted by phone with a trained volunteer coach who also has experienced chronic health issues. 

“Coaches are people coping really well with their health challenges and have an interest in helping somebody else,” McGowan says.

Participants are matched according to gender and age, and, if possible, similar interests. 

Once a week, for about 30-45 minutes, the coach will chat with the participant about how their condition has been affecting their daily life. They’ll ask questions about their health, their medications and the things they’re supposed to be doing. 

“People will usually identify something they’re having a problem with,” McGowan says. 

“Here’s where we show the person the problem-solving process. There’s a way to solve the problem to get the answer. People don’t always know how to solve problems very well.” 

Both the participant and the coach receive a comprehensive resource book Living a Healthy Life: With chronic health conditions or chronic pain which supports the coaching process and references real-life situations and solutions. It’s also a way to have the participants start exploring resources.

McGowan says that the book is “one way to get people to find information for themselves, and especially to learn how to problem solve.” 

Through the conversation an action plan can be formulated to easily achieve a certain goal; for example, going to the pharmacist to ask a question about their medication. 

Making small steps builds confidence, McGowan asserts. 

“People who are more confident usually do things,” he says.

It’s important to note that the coaching is completely health focussed, meaning it is not life coaching. Nor is it an intense psychological intervention. The objective is to start and sustain healthy behaviours. 

“This is a peer health coach who shows people self-management strategies: problems solving, how to start something or make a difficult decision. The participant has the chance to learn these skills and then move on at the end,” McGowan explains.

However, if a participant feels they need more than the three months, Health Coach BC will look at extending it for another three-month term.

McGowan is careful to point out that during the program, the coaches and participants don’t meet in person. The coaching is conducted solely by telephone and they must agree to that. “It’s not a dating service or a buddy service,” he says. “But if at the end of the program, it’s up to them if they want to make arrangements to have a cup of coffee together.”

He adds that sometimes people do meet up but it’s rare because everyone is situated all over the province.

The most important outcome of this coaching connection, McGowan says, is that the participant develops skills, so they manage their chronic health condition to be happier in their life.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Habitat for Humanity Kamloops opening ReStore in Salmon Arm

Salmon Arm getting ReStore

Good ideas tend to spread.

And Habitat for Humanity Kamloops is preparing to open another ReStore in Salmon Arm next spring.

Habitat Kamloops was established in 2006, with the ReStore opening shortly afterwards. And since then it has become a trusted centre for donations from the community—homeowners, contractors, retailers and manufacturers—of new and used furniture, large and small appliances, household goods and building materials that are then sold to the public at greatly reduced prices.

“The public can come to the ReStore and save anywhere from 40 to 60 per cent below retail,” says Bill Miller, Habitat Kamloops’ executive director. “The original intent was for the Restore to generate enough revenue to cover the operating expenses of Habitat Kamloops and its efforts to help families, seniors and veterans get into attainable housing.”

The new ReStore location in Salmon Arm will play that role as well, and more, when it moves into the 8,500-square-foot site, the former Kal Tire building, just off Highway 1.

“It’s a great location,” Miller says, adding that part of the secure exterior will serve as a staging area for Habitat Kamloops building projects in the community. This was a large part of the decision to choose Salmon Arm for the new ReStore.

“Habitat Kamloops covers four regional districts in the interior of B.C. Our broad service area creates the opportunity to better serve other communities like Salmon Arm where we are working on a seniors’ housing project, plus other projects nearby in Enderby, Sicamous and Blind Bay.”

Part of the ReStore’s success has been the impact it has had on the surrounding communities.

For one, it diverts quality used goods and materials from landfills. But the Kamloops Restore is also stocked with donations of brand-new items from the generous businesses in the community.

“We have businesses like Urban Barn, which is a major contributor, donate brand new, high-end furniture that hasn’t even hit their showroom floor, and we sell it a substantially reduced price,” Miller says.

Other larger donors include hotels in the region that can routinely have commercial grade furniture to re-home as each property undergoes a renovation.

But the benefits of the ReStore don’t end there, as it creates jobs, volunteer opportunities and economic activity.

Habitat Kamloops employs up to 15 people at the original store.

Initially, the Salmon Arm ReStore will employ as many as eight people, and will require about 30 to 40 volunteers.

“When Habitat Kamloops comes into a community and spends a dollar on a project, the economic spinoff there is four times that,” Miller says. “That can add up very quickly when you are involved with a million-dollar build.

“Communities like to see us bringing our business to their communities because we bring them something positive, in terms of affordable housing and economic activity.”

More information about Habitat Kamloops’ ReStore and the ReStore can be found here.

Energy efficiency of buildings should be important election issue

Retrofits big election issue

While pandemic-related health policies are front and centre in this election campaign, it’s important not to lose sight of other critical issues that will impact us long after a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine is widely available. Climate change is a crisis that is not going away, as demonstrated by recent wildfires. The British Columbia Real Estate Association recognizes the importance of this issue and has a specific recommendation to address greenhouse gas emissions from our current building stock.

While proposed changes to the 2022 BC Building Code will set higher standards for energy efficiency in new buildings, much can be done to address emissions from existing buildings. By providing incentives so that building owners can make informed decisions on energy retrofits, the government can accomplish many of its climate change goals, stimulate economic activity and create new job opportunities.

There are already financial incentives available from governments, utilities, financial institutions and suppliers. BCREA is looking to the provincial government for long-term, sustained funding to support property owners now and into the future, and those incentive programs are expected to be available to owners of existing commercial, purpose-built rental, multi-family strata and single-family properties.

This is a timely initiative, as home needs are evolving and many homeowners are considering renovations. Because of COVID-19, homes also function as offices, schools and primary entertainment centres. But there’s more to consider than immediate need.

When planning a renovation, property owners should also consider energy efficiency. The objective should be to improve air tightness of the building envelope, reduce heat loss and improve the efficiency of mechanical systems. Current incentive programs allow for experts (energy modellers) to assess the building and determine the best combination of energy efficiency measures (windows upgrade, additional insulation, improved air tightness or upgraded mechanical systems, for example) to get the most bang for the buck. This also includes accessing the best package of incentives within the property owner’s budget. Having competent contractors to complete the work is an absolute necessity, as well as monitoring the effectiveness of the improvements.

BCREA believes that the most progressive, sustainable step the government can take for the real estate sector is to continue these incentive programs, expand them where possible, and develop a public outreach program for consumers and homeowners to educate and inspire action. When more property owners make informed decisions to reduce their carbon footprints and cut energy costs, the entire province benefits.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Kamloops Chamber offers take & bake option for this year's show

Business awards get creative

Kamloops Chamber of Commerce and MNP opened the nomination period for the 34th annual Business Excellence Awards on March 13.

A few days later, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of B.C. and the world.

The novel coronavirus is not going to stop the Kamloops Chamber from honouring its best and brightest businesses and people, but the awards show will have a different format when the event is held on Saturday, Oct. 24.

“We really felt like we couldn’t just let it go, and we felt it would be important to recognize businesses who’ve worked really, really hard over the last year and a half,” chamber executive director Acacia Pangilinan says.

This year’s awards will feature a take and bake option for those wishing to take part in the event but, at the same time, remain in the safety and comfort of their own home. Guests will choose one of four seasonally inspired menu options curated from a roster of local chefs and either pick it up or have it delivered to their home. They will then prepare their meal and take in the awards show via Facebook Live.

The award finalists, sponsors and dignitaries will be in attendance at the four participating restaurants but socially distancing to keep everyone safe.

The participating restaurants are BARSIDE Lounge & Grill, Cordo Resto + Bar, The Noble Pig and ROMEOs Kitchen + Spirits, and they will be the primary benefactors from the event’s ticket sales.

“It’s really neat, because we tried to get in different parts of the community,” Pangilinan says. “There’s a group over on the North Shore. There’s a group of people up in the Aberdeen area, and then there’s two restaurants downtown.

“So the show’s really taking place throughout the entire community, which will be a first for us. Normally the event would be a 400-person gala in a ballroom.”

There are three finalists each in 14 award categories, which range from Business Person of the Year to the Technology Innovator Award.

“It’s really important for us to take a moment to recognize some of the businesses and key people in our community that have worked really hard to stay afloat in the pandemic,” Pangilinan says.

At-home take and bake options for the 34th annual Business Excellence Awards, presented by MNP, can be purchased here. Orders must be made by next Tuesday, Oct. 13.

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