Archive for April 2011

Industrial land, it’s in demand   Leave a comment

I’m trying to figure out why Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter are wasting space in the middle of the Angels’ batting order (hitting .178 and .210, respectively), while better youngsters like Howie Kendrick and Peter Bourjos are batting lower and not getting as many at-bats.  It’s simple – the higher up in the order you bat, the more at-bats you’re going to get.  Thus, as a manager, don’t you want to putyour BEST hitters at the top?

I was going to do a post about each MLB team’s batting order, but the one above really bugged me, and I changed my mind.  I don’t think I need to dissect EVERY batting order, especially this early in the season, but as a Bourjos owner in a couple of fantasy leagues, it drives me nuts.

Instead, to cap off a snowy Friday (IT’S APRIL 29TH!!!), I’ll quickly link up a Red Deer Advocate article that discusses future land use.  In most of my Belterra-related articles, I’ve focussed on the residential side of things; this short article discusses a 108-acre industrial park.  Several groups are interested in it, and I definitely like stories that this… for obvious reasons.


Five groups interested in industrial park

By Advocate staff – April 29, 2011

Red Deer’s Land and Economic Development manager is pleased with the interest shown in the city’s newest industrial park.

The city began accepting proposals for development in Queens Business Park last month. Up for grabs are approximately 103 acres of industrial land and five acres of commercial land in the first phase of the 289-acre parcel west of Hwy 2 and south of Hwy 11A.

Howard Thompson said the proposals received to date have been good ones, both in terms of the quantity of land sought and the quality of the development proposed. He said he could not elaborate at this time, but added that the city is in discussions with five different groups.

“I think it bodes well for the outlook on the economy,” said Thompson of this early buy-in at Queens Business Park.

The city continues to accept proposals for development in the park, with information available at City Hall or on the city’s website.

Prospective buyers are required to specify the size and location of the land they are seeking, as well as its intended use and details of the proposed development.

Prices range from $486,000 for a 1.62-acre lot to $2.2 million for a 5.65-acre parcel, with these based on a figure of $300,000 per acre for industrial land and $425,000 an acre for commercial property —plus a premium for land on corners or with favourable exposures.

Services for Queens Business Park are expected to be installed this summer on a staged basis, with land available for construction as early as this fall.

Posted April 29, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Ponoka – a town on the grow   Leave a comment

Easter really wore me out.  Seriously.  I was exhausted yesterday – early wake-up. brunch, Easter egg hunt, dinner… I’m getting too old for this stuff.

So after an early turn-in last night, I’m charging into the workweek, and I found an article from the Red Deer Advocate I wanted to share with you today.  I’ve mentioned – probably several times by now – that Belterra Land Company is syndicating a piece of land in Red Deer for investment purposes.  This particular parcel of land was annexed into the City about 18 months ago.  This was, and is, very important to the company because it provides insight as to its potential future value.  The Belterra project is located on the east side of the city, within the recently-expanded city limits.  The City is in the process of determining how this land (in addition to the other land that was annexed in Ocotober 2009) will be used as part of its Area Structure Plan.

I’m pretty sure I’ve also mentioned that Belterra likes central Alberta.  It is my personal belief that the Canadian economy is on its way to recovery, and that process is greatly aided by the strengthening oil and gas industry.  Thus, provinces like Alberta, and cities like Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray… and Red Deer… are important cogs in the recovery machine.

And as Red Deer is an important service hub along the Calgary-Edmonton transportation corridor, so too are the smaller cities and towns for cities like Red Deer.  They can provide specialized services, secondary services, housing, and manpower.  Today’s case in point is the town of Ponoka, located about 60 kilometres north of Red Deer.  It’s not just the larger centers out this way that have to do medium- and long-term planning for future growth.  Ponoka received approval from the province to annex 800 acres located south and west of the town.  Here is the link to the story, and I’ve copied it below, all bolding mine.


Ponoka annexes 50-year land supply

By Paul Cowley – Red Deer Advocate


April 22, 2011 7:06 AM

The Town of Ponoka’s bid to annex about 800 acres of surrounding land has been approved by the province.

Located on the south and west sides of the town, the five quarter sections will provide a 50-year land supply and enough growth area to support a population of 13,000, about double the current population.

Most of the land is located on the west side of the town and extends as far as Hwy 2. That chunk is considered a high priority because it provides room for commercial and industrial growth right next to the highway corridor.

“We’re down to the last parcel in our industrial area now and (annexation) will open some more industrial land for the community,” Ponoka Mayor Larry Henkelman said Thursday. “We have inquiries every day about industrial land.”

The connection to the highway corridor will also give the community valuable exposure. “Definitely, it opens up a whole new market for the town.”

Another quarter section is located on the south side of town and will include land for a regional agricultural event centre and room to expand the Ponoka Stampede facilities.

The main building of the $10-million Ag Event Centre is nearing completion and the site has already been picked as the new home for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame.

“There’s going to be a big demand for hotels and restaurants,” said Henkelman. “It’s just going to bring another whole market to the town.”

An additional quarter section will be added to the southeast corner of the town and will be used for residential growth.

Ponoka first proposed annexing more than 20 quarter sections of land on all sides of the town from Ponoka County in 2008, but faced opposition from landowners. The town later reduced the size of the annexation request and removed a county subdivision where neighbours were opposed to annexation from the application area.

Henkelman said as the process went on, landowners affected by annexation worked well with the town. “We appreciated working with them and getting their 100 per cent consent.”

Posted April 25, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Red Deer ranks in top ten North American "micro-cities"   Leave a comment

I have to hustle to a BNI chapter meeting this morning, so this post is going to be a super-ultra-quick paste job courtesy of the Red Deer Advocate (link here; all bolding mine).  I don’t think there’s anything I need to add to the discussion, other than it just helps show – yet again! – why central Alberta is a great place to invest these days.


As micro cities go, Red Deer is looking good

By Paul Cowley / April 21, 2011

Seemingly interminable winter aside, Red Deer ranks highly for its quality of life, according to a survey published by fDi magazine.

The city cracks the top 10 at eighth spot in the category for micro cities with a population under 100,000. North Vancouver tops the list in which Canadian cities ranked well, taking nine out of 10 spots. Only Meridian, Idaho, in second spot, broke the Canadian streak.

The Cities of the Future ranking list is a based on independent data gathered from 405 cities in North and South America. The information was grouped into six categories: economic potential, human resources, cost effectiveness, quality of life, infrastructure and business friendliness.

Cities were grouped into major cities with a population over 750,000, large cities over 250,000, small cities over 100,000 and micro cities.

A five-person panel judged quality of life by looking at life expectancy, infant mortality, hospital bed ratios, education levels, gross domestic product, unemployment, household incomes and the percentage of residents below the poverty line. Crime rates, the perception of corruption and local computer download speeds were also compared.

Red Deer Chamber of Commerce president Bruce Schollie said recognition like this is useful when trying to promote a community.

“It kind of grabs people’s attention. It just puts you in a club where you’re going to get more recognition and more attention from investors.”

The ranking also carries some weight because of the size of the survey area and the number of cities included. The fact Canada did well in many categories also helps communities like Red Deer.

Top 10 micro cities of the future, a list chosen by scoring all six categories, was headed by Greenville, South Carolina. Fredericton, N.B. and Waterloo, Ont., ranked second and third, and Kamloops, B.C. took the ninth spot. Red Deer did not make the top 10.

Overall, quality of life was a strong category for Canada’s bigger cities. Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Edmonton all made the top 10 list for major cities.

Toronto and Montreal finished fourth and sixth in the list for major cities of the future. New York came out on top.

fDi Intelligence is a specialist division from the Financial Times Ltd. and focuses on globalization.


PS – I should have added Inception to my top ten list yesterday.  No idea how I forgot it – if you’re keeping track at home, you can slot it in at number eight.

Posted April 21, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

My ten favorite movies   Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago, I had a Business Building Interview with one of the members of my BNI chapter.  (Her name is Colette, and you can order beautful gift baskets from her here.)  Our conversation drifted into our favorite types of movie, and our favorite movies.  I told her that I hated watching bad movies; I can’t fathom paying good money to watch something that doesn’t entertain you.  It can be funny, serious, informative, action-packed, whatever… but geez, if it doesn’t entertain, then what was the point of going?  Call it impatience, or call me a cheapskate, but don’t call me up to go see anything starring Hugh Grant or Sarah Jessica Parker.

I’ve seen plenty of movies in my lifetime.  As you can probably infer, I like being pleasantly distracted for a couple of hours, watching a good film on a big screen.  So I figured I’d try to get down a top ten list of my all-time favorite movies – only those I’ve seen in a theater count.  (Otherwise, Jaws definitely makes the cut, too, but I was just a wee lad when that came out.)  The first three haven’t changed in years; the other seven and the order in which I list them will probably change several times before I save and publish this post.

For example, when I came up with a “master list” to narrow down, I came up with 20… and I just KNOW I’m missing another ten.  Sigh.

(AND I have to throw in two more on top of that.  Just don’t wanna cut them out.)


Here they are, from top to bottom:

The Usual Suspects – can’t top that ending.

L.A. Confidential – perfect cast, perfect storytelling.

Memento – I gotta watch it backwards someday.

Iron Man – Downey surprised me; more fun than Batman and Spider-Man.

Shaun of the Dead – the original rom-zom-com.

The Dark Knight/Batman Begins – I’m cheating by combining this reboot; liked them in that order.

Toy Story 3 – …and I’m cheating again.  I’m counting the whole trilogy here.

Saving Private Ryan – I can’t imagine ever watching this on a small screen.

Anchorman/Talladega Nights – one more cheat; great stupid fun.

Pulp Fiction – a trend-setting classic; its non-linear style amazed me.

Honorable mention: Spider-Man 2 (best of the trilogy), and The Bourne Identity (kicking off a great trilogy).


Posted April 20, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

It’s a baseball kind of Monday   Leave a comment

Day 200 of winter, or so it seems: still WAY too much snow outside for my tastes.  A chance of flurries this week.  Seriously, what the hell is going on around here?  Summer has a lot of work to do to make me forget about the last six months.

I changed the theme of my Posterous blog today; after a hundred posts, it was time.

I want to get the rest of my players inducted into my imaginary Cooperstown.  Fifty are in, fifty are yet to go in.  From now on, I’m just going to name them, rather than reveal the votes they didn’t get back in their day.  As I say often in my land investment discussions, do your own research.  It’ll be worth it.

So, onto the next ten:

Josh Gibson

Paul Molitor

Willie McCovey

Connie Mack

Barry Larkin

Oscar Charleston

Brooks Robinson

Al Kaline

Wade Boggs

Ernie Banks


Posted April 18, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

My hundredth post!   Leave a comment

At least, according to the Posterous stats.  I’m such a trooper.  To anyone and everyone that’s read even one article on here, thanks a bunch.

For your consideration, yet another article that, in my mind, makes Red Deer an interesting city in which to invest, and an indicator of future growth.  However, as opposed to many of my recent bloggings, it’s not about the oilpatch.  But it does address a specific concern for the city’s current residents, and it’s something that many people consider these days when it comes to choosing where they live.  Throw in the fact that the article – click here if you want to see it for yourself – focusses on southeastern Red Deer, where Belterra just happens to be synidcating its most recent land project, and it’s heart-warming, to say the least.

Did you figure out what I’m talking about?

For $200, the answer… was schools.  A VERY important feature of any neighborhood, I think.  I pasted the article below (bolding mine); read it at your leisure, have a good weekend.  Maybe I’ll be back online before then.


Southeast school touted

By Crystal Rhyno – Red Deer Advocate / April 15, 2011

A new elementary school in southeast Red Deer again tops the Red Deer Public School District’s capital plan.

The board of trustees gave the green light on the three-year plan highlighting the district infrastructure needs on Wednesday evening.

The kindergarten to Grade 5 school would accommodate students in Anders Park and Inglewood, and alleviate the pressures on the existing schools.

Board chairman Lawrence Lee said the challenge and the frustration the board has with the three-year plan is that they keep submitting the same plan with the same priorities each year.

“The frustration is going out and actually seeing our schools is a lot different than seeing the actual figures on paper,” said Lee. “So when we see the utilization rates well in excess of 100 per cent, the people that are reviewing our capital plan don’t really get to see from the ground up that it is really desperate.”

Lee said students deserve a good learning environment where they can sit down and have space and not worry about temporary set-ups.

“That’s the frustration for us recognizing that the government does what it can with the resources that they have,” he said. “We just need to be really up to the point and say this isn’t just a request . . . It’s a need. It’s a need for the students and it’s not going away.”

Supt. Piet Langstraat said the residential development in the southeast neighbourhoods and influx of new residents in Red Deer are main drivers of the space crunch.

Langstraat said schools are finding creative ways to use the space especially at Mattie McCullough Elementary School and Mountview Elementary School.

“They are carving up little spaces like offices to house small groups of students,” said Langstraat.

“They are utilizing every square centimetre of that building for instructional purposes . . . It is sad because we literally have students being educated in closets. But having said that, we have excellent staff and they provide excellent programming for the students in spite of some of those facility hardships.”

Next on the capital list is the purchase of River Glen School from Chinook’s Edge School Division where the district would house the Gateway Christian School program.

A kindergarten to Grade 8 school in the Timberstone neighbourhood is another priority while modernization projects for Anne L. Gaetz Elementary School and Westpark Middle School make the list.  All school jurisdictions must submit a three-year plan to Alberta Education by April 30.

Posted April 15, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

It’s YOUR money, so be careful out there   Leave a comment

I wasn’t quite sure what I felt like writing about today.  I still have to get back to filling out my baseball hall of fame.  Along those lines, the sudden retirement of Manny Ramirez was – is? – a topic worthy of discussion.*

* I’m not sure whether to type this in past or present tense, as I still might get around to these subjects soon.  Future tense?

I might still get around to writing about my three fantasy baseball teams.  I’m addicted.  The new full-length Captain America trailer came out a couple of weeks ago, and being the comic book movie nerd I am, I could have shared my opinions about that.  (Short answer: Thor looks better.)  I might give thanks to my in-laws for bringing me back copious amounts of Cherry Pepsi from California – I obviously don’t need fancy souvenirs.

However, I decided to talk about real estate scams.

Now, that might not be the ideal marketing strategy for someone who does what I do, but the sad reality of the matter is that it exists out there.  Real estate, land, mortgage schemes… Ponzi and pyramid schemes, stock snafus, and others… buyer beware.  It’s certainly not limited to the land side of things, far from it.  People have been trying to take money from other people since the dawn of time.  I occasionally meet with potential investors who have been burned by investment plans gone awry, whether it was a blatant cash-grab, or a legitimate investment opportunity that went off the rails due to gross mismanagement.  It certainly doesn’t make my job any easier, and I really do feel bad when honest, trusting folks lose their hard-earned cash because of someone else.

I don’t operate that way, and nor does the team at Belterra Land Company.  When it comes to the company, the process of investment, and the projects, I deal in fact.  I don’t speculate, and I certainly try not to instill false hope or inflated expectations with the person I meet with.  And I remind them all to do their own homework.  My fancy brochures are wonderful marketing tools, but I’m pretty sure that the scammers and schemers out there have splendid four-color pieces as well.  So please, if you’re thinking of investing in land, or in real estate, or in ANYTHING – research it.  Research the company you’re dealing with, the area you’re investing in, the economic climate, everything.  It’s your money.

This is the article that prompted my blog today.  It deals with mortgage fraud – not the best apples-to-apples comparison to land investment, but it’s investment nonetheless, and it hits close to home.  (Literally.  I pulled it from the Red Deer Advocate.)  Be cautious. There are legitimate opportunities out there… so don’t go rushing into the first fantastically awesome and guaranteed one that presents itself.  It’s probably not all that awesome.

Posted April 13, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

The first 50   Leave a comment

I’m halfway to my personal Cooperstown – 50 down, 50 to go.  Now that the 2011 baseball season is in full swing, I promise I’ll get the other 50 inshrined pretty darn quick.  To recap, here are the guys that made the cut so far.  This does not mean that they are the BEST so far, but they’re the ones that got through first.

Babe Ruth

Bob Feller

Bob Gibson

Buck O’Neill

Cal Ripken

Carl Yastrzemski

Christy Mathewson

Dave Winfield

Duke Snider

Eddie Collins

Eddie Mathews

Eddie Murray

Frank Robinson

Gary Carter

George Brett

Goose Gossage

Hank Aaron

Honus Wagner

Jackie Robinson

Jimmie Foxx

Joe DiMaggio

Joe Morgan

Johnny Bench

Lefty Grove

Lou Gehrig

Mel Ott

Mickey Cochrane

Mickey Mantle

Mike Schmidt

Nap Lajoie

Nolan Ryan

Ozzie Smith

Pete Alexander

Pete Rose

Reggie Jackson

Rickey Henderson

Roberto Alomar

Roberto Clemente

Rogers Hornsby

Stan Musial

Steve Carlton

Ted Williams

Tim Raines

Tom Seaver

Tris Speaker

Ty Cobb

Walter Johnson

Warren Spahn

Willie Mays

Yogi Berra



Posted April 11, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

The investment cycle, and its forecastability   Leave a comment

I reTweeted this on Monday from the REIN (Real Estate Investment Network) feed, but it was so good, I wanted to come back to it today.  Don Campbell, the president of REIN, reinforces the idea that investors should be ahead of the curve when it comes to investing in real estate – and land.  Neither of us claim to be able to predict the future (I don’t, anyways), but there are several simple market indicators that can help a prospective investor decide not only if a specific project or property is a sound buy, but how far in advance one can detect this investment opportunity.

Campbell’s article is titled, “The Future of Alberta Real Estate 2011-2015”.  Needless to say, it caught the attention of this Albertan investor… and I believe I’ve mentioned I also advise on such matters at least once in this space over the last six months.  I will provide the link here; if Mr. Campbell or anyone from REIN is opposed to me doing this, please let me know.  It’s a smart, insightful piece of reading.

(I tried to cut and paste it a number of times, but the graphs contained within the article mess up my formatting.  I’ll admit it, I’m not the most computer-savvy fellow in the world.  I’ll work on it.)

Posted April 6, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Hey, what ELSE is happening in Red Deer?   Leave a comment

If it’s happening in Red Deer, I try to stay on top of it… unless it’s a big pile of snow.  If you read yesterday’s short rant, then you know how much I dislike winter.  When I moved out here in January of 1997, it was, I was told, a pretty bad winter.  However, I didn’t really notice it, because I emigrated from White River, Ontario (“coldest spot in Canada” and birthplace of Winnie the Pooh!), and every winter was brutal there.  As time went by, I became familiar with and learned to appreciate the mysterious chinook that made several February days feel like it was late spring.  But this winter… geez, it is pretty demoralizing.

Anyways, I was talking about Red Deer.  Located midway between Calgary and Edmonton, it is Alberta’s third largest city.  Some of its emerging industries include high-tech manufacturing, biotechnology, and communcations technology.  They’ve begun construction on the Central Alberta Cancer Centre, scheduled for completion in 2013.  In October of 2009, the City of Red Deer annexed approximately 3,000 hectares of land from the County. And did I mention the fact that this is a very important hub for the oil and gas industry?

Yep, Red Deer is a city to keep your eye on.

This was featured in the Red Deer Advocate this morning.  To accomodate the needs of its citizens, as well as those passer-bys who often make the Calgary-Edmonton trek, the city officially began work on a ring road that will allow vehicular traffic to go around rather than through Red Deer.  Just one more example of a city planning on steady, sustainable growth.

If you don’t want to click the link above, just keep reading below.


Connecting the north dots

By Paula Trotter – Red Deer Advocate  


Published: April 05, 2011 7:23 AM

Drivers will most likely experience minimal disruptions when construction on a ring road along Red Deer’s east side starts today.

Increased heavy truck traffic is anticipated in some areas but there will be very little change to traffic flows during Phase 1 of the North Highway Connector, said Frank Colosimo, engineering services manager with the city.

“Because we’re constructing on a road right-of-way that hasn’t been developed yet, we don’t see a lot of traffic interruption expected,” he said. “You will see trucks hauling fill and material to the site. That is what the public will see for the most part.”

Roadways that may see more traffic at some point during construction include the north end of Gaetz Avenue, 77th Street, 67th Street, Riverside Drive and 78th Street Crescent in the Riverside Heavy Industrial area.

Phase 1 will first see crews remove pockets of trees in the industrial park to the north of 78th Street Crescent as well as to the east of the Red Deer River within the flood plain and escarpment areas.

Other work to be completed in Phase 1 include embankment grading from Hwy 11A and Gaetz Avenue easterly to the intersection of 30th Avenue and Northland Drive just south of River Bend Golf Course, major utility installations and the building of a wildlife crossing structure.

Colosimo expects Phase 1 will be done by September or October of 2012.

Phase 2 is scheduled for 2014 and will see construction on the actual expressway begin.

Phase 3, which will expand the number of lanes constructed in Phase 2, may begin in 2017 depending on need and finances.

The anticipated price for the completed six-lane roadway with interchanges is $500 million.

Phase 1 will cost around $90 million, Colosimo said. Roughly $24 million of this has come from the federal and provincial governments through the Building Canada Fund and the Water for Life Fund.

The North Highway Connector will be built from the Hwy 2/Hwy 11A interchange to the Hwy 2/McKenzie Road overpass or possibly further south.


Posted April 5, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized