Living/Working July 29, 2022

Living/Working

July 29, 2022

Lawsuit of the week: Ahead of lengthy trial over alleged construction defects, companies behind downtown Vancouver’s Shangri-La tower haggle with insurer in court over defence costs

Downtown Vancouver's Shangri-La tower | Chung Chow

The group of companies behind the luxury Shangri-La tower in downtown Vancouver is taking XL Insurance Company Ltd. to court, claiming the insurer is wrongfully holding out on providing defence costs related to multiple lawsuits over defects in the building.

In a petition filed in BC Supreme Court on July 11, the companies claim they’re facing five separate legal actions, including a class action, over alleged construction defects and home warranty breaches. The petitioners include KBK No. 11 Ventures Ltd., 1100 Georgia Partnership, Peterson Investment (Georgia) LP, Abbey Adelaide Holdings Inc., LJV Georgia Investments Inc., No. 274 Cathedral Ventures Ltd., Tidball Projects (2005) Ltd. and Ledcor Construction Ltd.

According to the petition, the lawsuits filed in November 2011 and December 2015 allege defects in the design and construction of the tower’s curtain wall system that cause the windows to “fog, crack, spontaneously shatter and are at risk of falling out of the building and causing bodily injury and property damage.” The plaintiffs in those cases are the strata plans for the residential and live/work portions of the building, and a numbered company that owns one of the residential strata lots. The actions are set to go to trial for 130 days in October 2022.

The companies claim XL Insurance issued a wrap-up insurance policy to cover any bodily injury, property damage or personal injury claims related to the building.

“The petitioners have demanded that the respondent fund 100 [per cent] of their defence costs in relation to the actions,” the petition states.

But while XL insurance has admitted that the lawsuits triggered the company’s duty to defend under the policy, it has denied that it has to cover the entire costs based on a “time on risk” calculation related to when the damage actually occurred.

“There is no practical means to readily distinguish when all the damage alleged by the plaintiffs in the actions occurred,” the petition states. “The alleged damage may have occurred entirely within the policy period, possibly starting at substantial completion.”

The companies seek an order for XL Insurance to fund their entire defence in the lawsuits, claiming that an order for only a portion of the costs would “deny the petitioners a substantial portion of the benefit of the [insurance] policy.”

While the petition’s factual basis has yet to be tested in court, XL Insurance Company scored a victory in BC Supreme Court in May 2022 in a similar dispute with Honeywell International. In that case, Honeywell sought coverage from XL under the building’s wrap-up policy as a named defendant in the defects lawsuits. Honeywell is the manufacturer of a moisture absorbing “desiccant” that was used in the building, but it unsuccessfully argued that it was covered under the policy as a manufacturer rather than a “mere supplier” of the allegedly defective desiccant.

But the court denied Honeywell’s claims because they did “not fit well with the ‘commercial atmosphere’ of a wrap-up liability policy as Honeywell was many steps removed in the supply chain and not involved in the project in any way.”

 
Leading

Court’s decision leaves security of anonymity for the press and the public unclear

A journalist’s protection of a source is vital for the public interest.


Many crime victims and whistleblowers would not step forward with sensitive information without a commitment to shield their identities. When they have well-placed fears of the consequences of speaking out, it requires the security of anonymity.

But a new ruling on this issue in the British Columbia Supreme Court, upheld by the B.C. Court of Appeal, ought to worry journalists, their organizations, their sources and the general public.

The ruling relates to the trial of former Vancouver Canucks player Jake Virtanen, found not guilty in the last week of sexual assault. Before Virtanen was charged early this year, before he was the object of a civil suit in 2021, a woman stepped forward and told her story to Glacier Media reporter Alanna Kelly.

Theirs was a common pact in journalism. She and Kelly had every expectation that their communications, even their recorded video conversation, would conceal her identity.  Our position was and is that the unpublished recorded exchange was no different than if Kelly had taken notes. It needed to be protected.  

After all, the 2017 federal Journalistic Sources Protection Act was expressly created within criminal law to allow “journalists to not disclose information or a document that identifies or is likely to identify a journalistic source unless the information or document cannot be obtained by any other reasonable means and the public interest in the administration of justice outweighs the public interest in preserving the confidentiality of the journalistic source.”

For his trial, Virtanen’s counsel asked for, and was granted access to, not only the video of the conversation but Kelly’s email and text exchanges with the complainant and her lawyer. The B.C. Supreme Court judge, Catherine Wedge, concluded that these were important for his access to a fair trial and that the impact on press freedom would be “minimal.”

We strongly disagree.

This is a troubling new roadblock on the rights of journalists to research in confidence many of our most delicate issues, particularly crimes and abuse of power. The implications for society are profound.

While it is true that many sources provide errant information, some of the most significant journalism of our age has been due to credible sources providing important information that would otherwise not surface.

It is reasonable to ask now: Why would any source step forward with information if we cannot protect their identities?

The appellate court upheld Justice Wedge’s order and Virtanen’s defence counsel used in court what had been chronicled and considered at that time to be a privileged discussion.

This dual onus in the 2017 law – to look everywhere else to build your legal argument, and for that argument to outweigh the public interest of preserving confidentiality – should be a strong check on casual warrants and other means to break the journalist-source relationship. Even though the new law on the surface accords considerable protection of confidential informants, the B.C. courts decided that in this case, the rights of the accused outweighed those of the journalist – and by extension, the source.

Given that the law is new, it hasn’t been tested with many cases to define its place in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Glacier Media has sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. We are awaiting the high court’s decision on whether to entertain the case, which would be the law’s most significant test yet.

Journalists and the public need to know the ground rules for information sources in this country.

We and others have argued, and courts have sometimes asserted, that an accused ought to exhaust all other avenues of gaining information before turning to a journalist’s material from a source.

In Virtanen’s case, we were unsuccessful in persuading the court that there were other ways to gain what the defence wanted. Instead, we were ordered to disclose. And that is where the new line was drawn that could, left unchanged, haunt case after case to come.

To leave this case to stand, the state has inserted itself into the relationship between journalist and source despite the 2017 protections. Our reasonable expectation of privacy in newsgathering is damaged, as it will be now for others who depend on confidential sources of information to bring their stories forward.

Which is not to say those stories are given legal immunity. Far from it. They already have to stand up against laws of defamation or national security. But it is fair to say now we can expect far fewer of them to be told if sources know their identities, conversations and exchanges are no longer shielded.

The law prevented us from writing about this matter until the Virtanen case concluded. The proceedings, even the pre-trial ones involving the decisions on evidence, were the subject of statutory publication bans.

We hope the public will understand the impact of this decision and agree that the consequences are dire for the craft of journalism if the high court does not address these concerns.

Kirk LaPointe is publisher and editor-in-chief of BIV and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media.

 
Spending

The Douglas has been added to the Michelin guide

This Vancouver hotel is located in Parq Vancouver

Located in the Parq Vancouver resort, the Douglas, Autograph Collection is by JW Marriot and was added to the Michelin Guide's hotel selection in 2022 | Photo via thedouglas_van/Instagram

If you've ever snapped a selfie in its iconic elevator, you'd know this hotel offers modern and eclectic furnishings in all of its facilities. 

There are few hotels in Vancouver that elicit the response that people have while wandering through the Douglas, Autograph Collection.

Located in the vibrant Parq Vancouver entertainment resort, the beautifully appointed boutique hotel is an homage to the Douglas fir trees that lined the banks of False Creek for thousands of years.  

Guests will find plenty of natural furnishings, such as a breathtaking "living" green wall, a couple of scenic terraces with water features, and a sophisticated rooftop lounge. 

Now, The Michelin Guide's hotel selection, created by Tablet Hotels experts, has selected the breathtaking boutique hotel as one of its "trusted selection of unique hotels."

Launched in 2021, Michelin says its hotel guide is curated with the same high standards as its restaurants.

The list includes hotels that "inspire discovery or adventure" and are selected by a community of travellers and the team at Tablet Hotels – the Michelin Guide’s hotel experts since 2018. 

1

Iconic elevator at the Douglas Photo via Elana Shepert/Vancouver Is Awesome

“We’re honoured to be a part of the Michelin Guide’s hotel selection,” remarked Graeme Benn, dual property general manager, JW Marriott Parq Vancouver and the Douglas, Autograph Collection.

“The Douglas aims to spark curiosity, and we’ve designed several programs to that end. From the hidden lounge in D/6, to the revolving ‘Storyteller in Residence’ series and the elevated sixth-floor park which breathes life back into the city, we invite guests and locals to discover something new with every visit.”

The company searches the globe to find hotels that accommodate a variety of tastes and budgets. The Douglas joins seven other Vancouver hotels, including properties such as L’Hermitage Hotel, Fairmont Pacific Rim, Opus Hotel and others.

The accommodations were selected for "their uniqueness, excellence in all areas, local know-how, and the art of living," and each of them stands out for their "style, service, and personality."

Learn more about the Michelin Guide’s Vancouver hotel selections on their blog.

Vancouver Is Awesome

 

 
Spending

A two-day festival of all things coffee is happening in Vancouver this August

All you can drink and more perks for coffee lovers

The Beanstock Coffee Festival will take place in Vancouver, B.C. on August 20-21, 2022 | Photo: Beanstock Coffee Festival/Facebook

Ready, set, sip: A two-day festival all about the beautiful bean - aka coffee - will give Vancouver a shot of delicious and informative fun this summer.

Beanstock is slated to take place on August 20 and 21 at the Roundhouse Community Centre.

It's "bean" awhile since Beanstock held an event, due to the pandemic. The returning event will feature the opportunity to indulge in unlimited tastes of coffee from Canadian roasters (in your souvenir cup) and watch demonstrations on latte art and barista challenges with off-the-chart skill levels at the Beanstock's featured Espresso Bar. Naturally, since this is a summertime event, you'll also be able to stop by the cold brew area for some refreshing chilled pours.

Beanstock will also offer the chance to learn how to up your home coffee brewing game, and to shop from the Marketplace with beans from all the participating roasters for sale so you can take home your festival favourites to enjoy at home.

Here's the "Roasters Alley" line-up so far, with more to be announced before the festival weekend:

  • Nemesis Coffee, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Pallet Coffee Roasters, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Prototype Coffee, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Detour Coffee Roasters, Hamilton, On
  • Agro Coffee, Vancouver, B.C.
  • House of Funk, North Vancouver, B.C.
  • Mongram Coffee, Calgary, Ab
  • Soon Coffee, Burnaby, B.C.
  • Artigiano, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Discovery Coffee , Victoria, B.C.
  • Drift Coffee Roasters, Dawson Creek, B.C.
  • Bright Jenny Coffee, Kelowna, B.C.
  • Mogiana Coffee, Burnaby, B.C.
  • Kape Philippine Coffee, Vancouver, B.C.
  • RKI Coffee Lab, Richmond, B.C.
  • French Press Coffee Roasters, Qualicum, B.C.
  • Single V Coffee, Burnaby, B.C.
  • Social Coffee Roasters, Vancouver, B.C.
  • The Kop Coffee, Delta, B.C.
  • Smoking Gun Coffee Roasters, Chilliwack, B.C.

Individual session tickets and passes are available. Admission includes your cup, unlimited tastings, two 100g coffee samples, and complimentary admission to the Beanstock Happy Hour. 

Beanstock Coffee Festival - Vancouver 

When: Aug. 20-21, 2022

Where: Roundhouse Community Centre - 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver

Cost: $33.16-54.67. Purchase tickets/passes online.

Vancouver Is Awesome

 

 
Spending

Playland’s iconic wooden roller coaster reopens after $1 million restoration

You ready to ride?

This summer 2022 you ride the newly reopened Wooden Roller Coaster at the Pacific National Exhibition. The ACE named it an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark | Photo: PNE/Playland

Scream-seekers, rejoice!

One of Vancouver's most iconic rides returns to Playland following an 18-month hiatus.

The Playland Wooden Coaster is open to the public after undergoing a major refurbishment project prior to the 2022 season, which included the addition of lap belts in the 16-passenger train to meet new safety standards.

The popular ride first opened to the public in 1958 and has won numerous awards, including Coaster Classic and Coaster Landmark from the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE). 

The coaster is considered a "living" structure because it is made "entirely of wood outside of the friction plates where the train’s metal wheels meet the frame of the ride structure."

Beloved for its "old-world" charm, the rough and tumble ride offers an unexpected jerk of motion at the peak of its first hill followed by a dramatic plunge down a steep incline, as well as plenty of thrills after that. The knuckle-whitening experience also offers breathtaking views of the city from its 75-foot-high peak and reaches speeds up to 45 miles per hour. 

 “It’s exciting that our beloved Wooden Coaster is now open,” says Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) spokesperson Laura Ballance. “A ride on the Coaster is a tradition that goes back for generations in British Columbia, and this retrofit ensures it will be in top form to ride millions more thrill seekers for years to come.”

 

Over 1,200 lengths of structural grade Douglas Fir were installed in the coaster's latest retrofit, which equates to more than 12,000 feet of lumber.

Landmark status at the PNE Playland 

In 2009, the ACE named the Coaster an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation that is reserved for rides of “historical significance.”

The ride is the only one in Canada to earn the designation and was the first outside of the U.S. The first recipient was named in 2002 and since then a little more than 40 rides have earned an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark plaque.

It has also been designated one of the city’s Places that Matter by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, which aims to highlight and commemorate the people, places and events that have shaped the city.

  • With files from Jessica Kerr

 
Exploring

What are we reading? July 28, 2022

Photo: Baona, iStock, Getty Images Plus

Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.


 

Emma Crawford, online editor:

Think you haven’t had COVID-19? Maybe think again. According to this article, most people have had it, even if they have no idea. – The Wall Street Journal

https://www.wsj.com/articles/think-youve-never-had-covid-19-think-again-11658741403

 

Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

International Monetary Fund insights into the social, financial and economic fallout from the steadily declining fertility rate in the world's high-income countries.

https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/fandd/issues/2022/analytical-series/new-economics-of-fertility-doepke-hannusch-kindermann-tertilt?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

 

Japan, which needs all the energy sources it can get, and its Big Boy Turbine are aiming to tap what has been a largely unexploited renewable energy source anywhere in the world thus far. – Popular Mechanics

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a40221162/japan-kairyu-sea-turbine/

 

In case your mind has been harkening back to cooler temperatures in bygone eras during the current stretch of hot summer weather, here is an analysis of the conditions that triggered the last great Ice Age. – Brighter Side of News

https://www.thebrighterside.news/post/scientists-discover-what-triggered-the-last-ice-age