Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Vancouver’s Point Grey is Canada’s largest marine dump



Mysterious site off Vancouver’s Point Grey is Canada’s largest marine dump


 / VANCOUVER SUN
APRIL 4, 2017 07:56 AM

Six kilometres due west of Wreck Beach and the University of British Columbia lies a mysterious federal marine disposal site — the largest and oldest in Canada — where vast amounts of dredged and excavated material are dumped each year.
“It’s kind of a secret thing, that’s the way I describe it,” says Terry Slack, a veteran gillnetter and public watchdog on local fishing issues who worries about the dump. “Not too many people know it exists.”
Officially opened in 1976, the site received about 22.1 million cubic metres of material to 2014, including 2.3 million cubic metres dumped there from 1930 to 1976. The site has a radius of one nautical mile and is situated at a depth of 240 metres.
According to a consultant’s report, a sediment survey at the Point Grey disposal site showed that concentrations of mercury, cadmium, total PCBs, and total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were at allowable levels. Concentrations of arsenic, copper, nickel, barium, cobalt, manganese and vanadium exceeded those levels, although they “could not specifically be ascribed to disposal activities.”
A reported based on sampling in 2016 has not yet been released.
Environment Canada said that last year it permitted at least 204,923 cubic metres of material to be dumped at the Point Grey marine disposal site — enough to fill about 80 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
About 39 per cent of that consisted of dredged material, mostly sediments from shipping lanes in the Fraser River and Port of Vancouver. The other 61 per cent is described as “inert, inorganic geological matter, primarily excavated material from local construction sites.”
Ten private companies and one federal department dumped there last year: Seaspan, North Vancouver; Fraser River Pile & Dredge, New Westminster; Vancouver Pile Driving, North Vancouver; Valley Towing, New Westminster; Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Vancouver; Ladner Yacht Club, Delta; Bel Pacific Excavation and Shoring, Burnaby; BH Hall Constructors, Surrey; Matcon Excavation and Shoring, Coquitlam; Conwest Contracting, Vancouver; and 568849 B.C., Surrey, the president of which is William Pauga of Surrey, according to provincial corporate records.
Dan Bate, spokesman for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, confirmed his department in 2016 received a permit to dump up to about 20,000 cubic metres of dredged material from Steveston — sand, silt and clay — at the Point Grey disposal.
There are 10 marine disposal sites in B.C. waters, including a small site at Sand Heads off the south arm of the Fraser River that only takes material dredged from the riverbed.
Slack started in the fishing industry at age 9 and today, at 76, says he wants to help the Fraser River and local waters that served him so well over the decades. “I’m a guy who’s taken his living off the river. I should put something back.”
He guides Postmedia News along a waterfront path through little-known Fraser River Trail Park at the foot of Hudson Street in south Vancouver. Reaching the Fraser’s north arm, the path overlooks two moored, self-dumping barges — the Tsartlip and Pauquachin, named after two Victoria-area First Nations — owned by Fraser River Pile & Dredge.
He remains concerned that pollutants are being dumped off Point Grey. “That site out there is getting dirtier and dirtier.”
Adam La Rusic, head of marine programs for Environment Canada in the Pacific region, said in an interview that anyone seeking to dump off Point Grey must test representative samples from the load of material to ensure any pollutants fall within accepted levels.
He confirmed that “the Point Grey disposal site is consistently cleaner than the surrounding ambient” area. Still, there are fears that excavation around Vancouver could stir up historic pollutants from industrial sites.
“That’s a concern for us. Vancouver harbour is a pretty industrial area and has been for many years.”
In 1999, Environment Canada set a fee for disposal at sea of dredged and excavated material. The rate, $470 per 1,000 cubic metres, has not changed in close to 20 years.
Loads that fail to meet the standard for a disposal at sea permit must be treated on land at greater expense.
In 1993, Valley Towing was convicted of unlawfully dumping wood waste at sea, contrary to the Ocean Dumping Act, and fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $20,000 for research into the environmental impact of dumping. The two barges were full of wood debris that had been dredged from the river bottom in front of a Fraser Valley sawmill. Video obtained by a sport fisherman at the Point Grey site proved instrumental in the conviction for the dumping outside the Point Grey disposal site.
In 1992, The Vancouver Sun reported that a sonar study of the sea floor off Point Grey disclosed the existence of tonnes of illegally dumped waste.
- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/b-c/mysterious-site-off-vancouver-s-point-grey-is-canada-s-largest-marine-dump-1.14009073#sthash.Lgx02Bo6.dpuf

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

From crepes to cocktails



From crepes to cocktails: can Grand Marnier's new owner make the leap?


left
right
Bartender Isaac Flores mixes a cocktail at Dick & Janes bar in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S., March 22, 2017. Picture taken March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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By Francesca Landini and Maria Pia Quaglia | MILAN

Italian drinks group Davide Campari (CPRI.MI) has a tall order to fulfill: take a neglected old liqueur out of the kitchen, where it is used as a dessert topping, and turn it into a hot new cocktail trend.
Grand Marnier, a 137-year-old French brand that Davide Campari bought for 652 million euros ($700 million) last year, was once a drink for the wealthy, a meld of cognac and oranges that was sipped by first-class passengers on the Titanic.
Today, in its European home market, it is more often tucked away in kitchen cabinets than featured prominently in trendy bars, and its return to the cocktail circuit is not assured, even for a company that has a record of reviving faded brands.
Grand Marnier sales have fallen around 2 percent in the past three years and Davide Campari expects them to flatline for two years before picking up in 2019. Based on the latest six-month data, annual sales of the brand are running at around 160 million euros, making it the company's fifth biggest brand.
The stakes are high for the world's sixth largest premium spirit maker, which bought the French liqueur last June in its biggest-ever acquisition. The price included assumed debt and represented more than a tenth of Davide Campari's market value.
Industry analysts say they are confident the company can restore Grand Marnier's fortunes but say it could be costly and take time, a brake on profit margins. A prolonged stagnation of Grand Marnier sales could also slow down the company's acquisition strategy, vital to compete with much bigger rivals.
The group's debts, in proportion to core earnings, are manageable but higher than the average of its main rivals after making more than 2 billion euros in acquisitions in 22 years. Euromonitor analyst Jeremy Cunnington thinks it should take a break from acquisitions and develop its newly acquired brands.
That all adds up to pressure to revive Grand Marnier, the biggest challenge yet for Chief Executive Bob Kunze-Concewitz.
He must shake off the liqueur's reputation in Europe as a fancy dessert topping and introduce it to more drinkers in America, its biggest market even though it is relatively little known there.
"In Europe the challenge is making the leap from the kitchen to the glass, while in the Unites States the issue is more of increasing the glasses drunk," Kunze-Concewitz told Reuters.
The CEO declined to give his target for Grand Marnier but the company aims to grow sales across all its brands by 5 percent in the medium term. Investment bank Barclays says that implies Grand Marnier reaching around 5 percent growth by 2020.
However, it took Kunze-Concewitz six years to shift the group's signature red aperitif, Campari, up a gear and accelerate the drink's growth from 3.5 percent in 2007, when he took the helm, to the high single digits by 2013.
"Someone says Grand Marnier is an old brand but ... three out of four consumers have never tasted it. This is a great opportunity, like it was for the re-launch of Campari," he told Reuters, adding that the company's last brand makeover, of Appleton rum, took just three years.
Kunze-Concewitz, a multi-lingual Austrian who was actually born in Turkey, expects Grand Marnier's sales to rise in value but not in volumes this year in the United States, while a return to growth in Europe will take longer.
BANKING ON THE B-52
Davide Campari will start its offensive in America's biggest cities this year, with young drinkers and also bar managers such as 32-year-old Isaac Flores of Dick & Janes, a trendy cocktail bar in Brooklyn, New York.
Flores rarely uses Grand Marnier and says brand recognition is just one of the problems to tackle. Retailing at $47 a bottle, it makes for an expensive cocktail.
"Cocktails including it should cost at least $15-16 compared to $13 I charge the cocktails I craft," said Flores. "Grand Marnier is a beautiful liqueur, which is best drunk on its own."
Since he was appointed CEO at the family-controlled spirit company, CEO Kunze-Concewitz has bought 14 brands, boosting sales by 80 percent in 10 years. But debt has trebled over that time to more than 1 billion euros, or 2.9 times its core profit against an average of 2.6 for Campari's main rivals.
The company plans to launch new long drinks and capitalize on the revival of classic cocktails that feature the liqueur, such as Grand Margarita and B-52.
It has tightened its grip on Grand Marnier's distribution, strengthening ties with Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits in the United States, and dropping third-party distributors and rivals Moet Hennessy (LVMH.PA) and Diageo (DGE.L).
Davide Campari did not say how much it would spend on marketing Grand Marnier but the CEO said, overall, advertising and promotion expenses would rise by 20-25 basis points to just over 18 percent of sales, a level above the sector average.
Grand Marnier's main rival in the United States is Remy Cointreau's (RCOP.PA) eponymous liqueur which has a smaller market share but has long set a faster pace in terms of sales.
Davide Campari plans to hold tasting events in bars to show drinkers the difference between the two.
But food and beverage expert Vittoria Veronesi, of Milan's Bocconi University, says it should not take Grand Marnier out of the kitchen altogether.
"It would be fun to create new dishes and match them to a Grand Marnier-based aperitif, putting together the work of the chef with that of the barman."
(Editing by Mark Bendeich/Keith Weir)





Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Indian drugmakers


Indian drugmakers face squeeze in U.S. healthcare market

By Zeba Siddiqui | MUMBAI
India's small and medium-sized generic drugmakers say the threat of tougher rules and higher barriers for outsiders in the U.S. healthcare market will force many to find a niche or focus their expansion efforts on other countries.
India supplies nearly a third of medicines sold in the United States, the world's largest healthcare market. Cut-price generics sold by India's small- and medium-sized drugmakers have been critical in bringing down prices there.
A more protectionist stance by President Donald Trump, with the prospect of import tariffs and the U.S. boosting local drug manufacturing, mean the operating environment for smaller generic players will get worse, executives at Indian companies said.
"If the challenges keep increasing, competition will reduce, and this could actually increase prices there," said D.G. Shah, secretary general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association, which represents 20 large Indian drugmakers.
J. Jayaseelan, who owns Nuray Chemicals, a maker of drug ingredients, said many Indian firms are reconsidering, or putting on hold, U.S. expansion plans.
Ajanta Pharma (AJPH.NS) is one such firm. The mid-sized generics drug maker said it had no plans to scale up its U.S. business and would invest more in Asia and Africa instead.
"It's not a major market for us right now ... you've got to look at the risk-reward ratio," said Rajeev Agarwal, general manager of finance at Ajanta.
The risks comes as U.S. revenue growth for these firms is falling. U.S. revenues for Indian drugmakers rose 15 percent in 2016, half the average annual growth rate of 33 percent between 2011 and 2015, ratings agency ICRA said. It expects the growth rate to fall further this year.
Consolidation among U.S. drugs distributors and a federal investigation into drug pricing have also reduced the pricing power of drugsmakers.
The U.S. drugs regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, has also banned dozens of Indian drug factories from supplying the U.S. market following inspections that found inadequate quality-control practices. Companies have invested significant sums to raise their quality standards.

Ontario won't stop double-ending

Ontario moves to tighten rules around real estate agents 'double-ending,' but won't ban the practice If legislation is pa...