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Is it that time of year again already? Unfortunately yes....
(NC) Do you feel that? There's that recognizable chill in the air. Fall's back with its shorter days and changing leaves. It's time again to shut down the cottage for the winter.
You spend so much time and money on your family cottage, that it only makes sense to do all you can to protect it. By being as thorough as possible, you'll not only keep out the weather and little critters, but according Desjardins Insurance, you'll also keep your property insurance costs down by reducing the chance of damage over the winter and any resulting claims.
Keep in mind that on average closing your cottage can take up to four weekends. Aim to be finished by the Thanksgiving weekend because the cold and frost tends to arrive earlier in cottage country. Here's a brief check list to help you stay organized:
• Take a good look around your entire property. Identify anything that may need an emergency repair before you close for the season and make sure there's time to get it done. A good example is roof repairs because snow and ice over the winter could make the problem much worse.
• Animal and weather proof your place:
- Clean out the gutters and the chimney. Before you leave for the season, be sure to cover the chimney to keep out the weather and animals.
- Check for and seal any small openings.
- Secure and seal all the windows and doors.
• Make your cottage burglar-proof. Ultimately, you want to your place as uninteresting as possible. If you have a gate at the entrance of your driveway, chain it up. Tidy up outside, packing up all outdoor furniture and removing any fire hazards. Inside, close your blinds, curtains and/or shutters.
• Clean out your kitchen and fridge. Canned food can expand and possibly explode over the winter and other food items can attract mice. Leave your cupboards spotless so that you won't come back to any surprises in the spring. If you'd rather not bring it all the way back to the city, consider throwing an end-of-season party for your neighbours or donate it to a local food-bank.
• Turn off the water, electricity and in some cases the natural gas. Be sure to drain the pipes to prevent freezing and cracking. Pouring environmentally friendly non-toxic antifreeze (used in RVs) into your toilets is a good idea if you're unable to drain them completely.
• Last but not least — enjoy the winter!
For more tips on how to save money on your cottage insurance, visit Desjardins Insurance at www.desjardinsinsurance.com.
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Edmonton city council hears from developers, homeowners, school trustees about infill report
By Michelle Bellefontaine, CBC News Posted: Aug 19, 2014 9:08 PM MT Last Updated: Aug 19, 2014 9:15 PM MT
Edmonton city councillors recommended changes to zoning in mature neighbourhoods Tuesday to allow for more infill development.
That was after hearing from nearly two dozen developers, school trustees and potential homeowners about a report that could dramatically change how and where new homes are built in the city.
The changes, which will come back to council early next year, include revisions to the RF1 (single detached residential) zones to allow for the construction of garage suites and “skinny” homes. Councillors are also considering larger changes to the zoning regime.
The changes are being recommended to increase the number of people who live in the city’s mature neighbourhoods by allowing infill projects like duplexes, triplexes and garden and garage suites.
To make that happen, the 2014 Edmonton Infill Roadmap contains 23 actions, including changes to regulations, zoning and the city’s approval process.
Developer Doug Kelly told council that allowing infill development has huge growth potential.
“There are over 100 mature neighbourhoods as defined by the city,” he said. “This comprises approximately 26,000 acres of land and, in my estimation, about 80,000 unsubdivided 50-foot lots.
“If you were to rezone all the RF1 zones to RF3 (small-scale projects with four dwellings or less) zones in all the mature neighbourhoods at once, you would immediately increase the potential of accommodating at least 250,000 people.”
Changing city, changing housing needs
Changing demographics and growth pressures are behind the city’s desire to create more infill. The goal is to have at least 25 per cent of new growth occur downtown and in mature neighbourhoods, as well as around transit hubs.
People in mature neighbourhoods are getting older. Younger families need to move in to keep schools going, but a lack of affordable housing forces them out to far-flung suburbs, council was told.
Younger people may not want single family homes and seniors may not be able to maintain a house any longer, but they may want to stay in the same neighbourhood in a smaller dwelling.
Some may want to have their aging parents living nearby in a garden suite; homeowners may want to convert a garage into a rental unit to help pay the mortgage.
Carmen Douville lives in a central neighbourhood and calls herself a member of Generation Y.
Douville wants to live in an area close to transit, with services and stores within walking distance. But she told council that the cost of buying a home in that kind of neighbourhood isn't affordable while she is still paying student loans.
“I have no desire to purchase a 2,000 square foot home in the suburbs,” she said.
What she does want, is an 800 to 1,200 square foot townhouse or multi-unit home that is progressively designed and made with quality materials, she added.
She said that some infill designs she sees are either “cheaped-out, vinyl-clad disasters” or highly designed units that start at $700,000.
“Is it too much to ask for a simple but well-designed, reasonably priced home in a central area?” she asked. “There is a market that is being missed.”
Blanket zoning change proposed
Councillors on the executive committee also received a report about the potential effect of eliminating RF1 zoning in mature neighbourhoods, and replacing it with RF3 zones.
A number of presenters, including Doug Kelly, spoke in favour of this as a way to treat all mature neighbourhoods equally.
“The so-called upper-income areas would be treated the same as the not-so-wealthy areas," Kelly said. "Glenora, Parkview, Laurier would be treated the same as Calder, Denton and Kenora.
“There should be no fear of property values going down. In fact, property values will probably go up.”
Bev Zubot from the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues said that the city should consider creating a non-profit neighbourhood development agency.
The agency could create the type of housing that people want but the market is slow to build, she suggested.
Zubot said that such an organization could be a “game-changer” in the city and put infill on the sites of abandoned strip malls or gas stations.
Top Fire prevention tips
Protect yourself from tragedy
(NC) – According to Fire Prevention Canada, on average eight Canadians die
from fire every week despite the fact that fewer fire losses are reported in Canada. The non-profit organization has put together the following key fire safety tips to help Canadians protect themselves from such tragedy.
Tip 1: Prevent cooking accidents
Taking precautions to prevent cooking fires will significantly help protect your family and home against fire. Cooking related fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires in Canada, resulting in many deaths and hundreds of injuries each year according to Fire Prevention Canada. Don't leave cooking appliances unattended when in use and be very cautious when cooking with oil. All cooking fires are preventable, so remember to select the proper heat for the food being prepared and keep your stove top clean and clear at all times.
Tip 2: Prevent smoking accidents
Smoking is another significant source of home fires. In fact, Fire Prevention Canada states that careless smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths. A smoker falling asleep in an upholstered chair or bed is the most common occurrence. Never smoke or allow someone to smoke when they are under the influence of medication, alcohol or drugs.
Tip 3: Get a monitored smoke detector
Lastly, having a monitored smoke detector will alert you to the presence of fire and smoke, giving you crucial notification to escape if needed. Smoke alarms are the first line of defense against a deadly fire, asserts Fire Prevention Canada. The sound of a smoke alarm is your warning to leave the building. By developing a fire escape plan and practicing it often, you will be prepared to react correctly if a fire strikes.
It's crucial however to ensure that your smoke detector is functional. According to Patrice De Luca, V.P. of Marketing and Customer Care for Reliance Protectron Security Services, 41% of residential fires where the smoke alarm did not operate, the problem was due to the battery. “Smoke detectors can save lives, especially if they're connected to a Reliance Protectron monitoring centre, because when the alarm sounds in your home, our monitoring centre is immediately notified,” he explained. Monitored smoke detectors also eliminate the worry of having to remember to replace the batteries. More information on fire prevention is available at www.fiprecan.ca and www.protectron.com.
July 2014 Edmonton Real Estate Housing Statistics
Edmonton, August 5, 2014: The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton reports that the Single Family Detached (SFD) average price in July was down 2% from June at $426,716 and the All Residential average price was off 2.6% from June at $362,091 in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). Condo prices were stable month-over-month at $254,654 and duplex/rowhouse average prices rallied with a 5% lift to $360,309.
“Like the shortening summer days and the appearance of fall fashions, real estate prices begin to soften at this time of year,” said REALTORS® Association President Greg Steele. “Despite the seasonal slide, prices in the Edmonton area are still up when compared to the same month last year. The local market continues to be very active and REALTORS® report having a busy month.”
Year-over-year, the average SFD price was up 3.9% compared to July 2013 and the All Residential average price was up 3.3%. Average condo prices were up 4.6% from a year ago and duplex/rowhouses were up 9.2%.
Residential sales were up year-over-year from 1,835 in July 2013 to 2,013 (up 9.7%) with SFD sales (1,179) up compared to the same month last year by 4.8%. Condo sales of 639 units were up 15.4% and duplex/row house sales were up 27.7% compared to July 2013. Current month sales are adjusted to account for late reported sales.
“The demand for real estate remains strong and in line with other market fundamentals,” said Steele. “Fortunately, year-to-date listings are also up compared to last year and there is adequate supply with over 5,600 residential properties in inventory.”
The average days-on-market was up slightly to 46 days in July as compared to 41 days in June. The sales-to-listing ratio was 69%: slower than the 75% last July.
REALTORS® represent buyers and sellers of residential, commercial and industrial property throughout the greater Edmonton region and from Cold Lake to Drayton Valley, from Westlock to Wetaskiwin. There are just over 3,200 REALTOR® members of the association serving over 40,000 clients a year.
1 Census Metropolitan Area (Edmonton and surrounding municipalities)
3 Average prices indicate market trends only. They do not reflect actual changes for a particular property, which may vary from house to house and area to area. Prior period sales figures have been adjusted to include late reported sales and cancellations and therefore reflect a more accurate view of the period than previously reported at month end. The RAE trading area includes communities beyond the CMA (Census Metropolitan Area) and therefore average and median prices may include sold properties outside the CMA. For information on a specific area, contact your local REALTOR®.