The Greening of Industrial Light

Nanaimo Business Vancouver Island - January, 2012 21 Greenrock Industrial Business Park raises the bar

Vancouver Island has never seen anything like the Greenrock Industrial Business Park. Nanaimo’s newest industrial area looks and feels like a park. Signs throughout the 28 acre site, which will be home to a new Country Grocer store, tell the stories of how rainwater is retained on site to irrigate native plants, which protect against drought and mean using less water, as well as the usage of absorbent soils.

As Greenrock implies, the development is being built to green standards. “It will have bio-swales, rain gardens and rain water management systems throughout the whole subdivision,” says Greg Constable, president of Island West Coast Developments (IWCD) which has put together Greenrock. “We’ll be putting all the water into a rainwater management system. It’s pretty exciting to do it that way, and the City has been great to work with on this.” “This is unique for Vancouver Island - to have a green designation for an industrial park,” says Constable. “The people who buy the lots will be getting good value for today’s market, and at the end of the day, they won’t have to landscape their property - it’s already done.”

Construction on the project started in May, and Constable said that because of the popularity of the project, they’ve decided to build out Phase I and II at the same time. Country Grocer had Island West Coast Developments build their newest state of the art grocery store in Chase River, and asked Constable to find a site for an additional location. “It’s not easy to find five acres in the geographic centre of Nanaimo, but we came upon the location at Bowen Road and Dufferin. With the Country Grocer site spoken for, we’re selling off the balance of the property. TD Bank is coming on, and a liquor store is planned on two other lots,” says Constable. With new townhouses and residential housing in the immediate area, it’s an attractive area to work, live and play in. “It’s the core of Nanaimo, and now that the city has moved forward and put in street lights at the corner of Boxwood and Northfield, that will help deal with the congestion at the corner of Northfield and Bowen because from this location, you can drive down Dufferin, Boxwood, turn left on Northfield and you’re right on the highway. This is now the new designated ambulance corridor.”

Lots are zoned I-2 and I-3, which allows for high tech industrial businesses, and some offices. Constable noted that the property had already been zoned prior to purchasing the property. Gerry Van Vaals of DTZ Barnicke is the realtor for Greenrock, and he says they’d like to see “companies that meet the criteria of green development buy into the area. It would be perfect for engineers, architects and consultants,” he says.

There are 24 lots available, varying in size from 9,688 to 71,849 square feet. All the aggregate required for the construction of the site were milled from existing rock materials from the site. Six interpretive sites are spread throughout the Greenrock property explaining the environmental features of the property. “Greenrock is developed so that the rainwater behaves much as it would have before the site was developed,” explains Constable. “Rainwater falling on roads, for example, is directed into roadside bioswales that store the water within specially created soils.”

Large areas of existing mature forest have been protected, and augmented with newly planted native species, including Garry Oak and Douglas Fir. Weedy plants, including broom and blackberry, have been removed and disturbed areas have been seeded with native grasses. Plants have been placed in ample soil to allow for deep roots, which “is key for summer drought tolerance because it allows the plants to draw moisture from larger areas,” Constable adds. Greenrock features an automatic irrigation system designed to get water to plants where and when they need it. “Water needs for plants vary day by day,” says Constable. “On hot dry days, a considerable amount of water is lost from the soil through evaporation, and from plant transpiration. The irrigation system is designed to supplement these losses.” Island West Coast Developments has 70 employees on its team, as the company is working on several major projects, including Greenrock.

“We’ve got a great management team here,” says Constable. “My job now is finding the work and putting the jobs together.” IWCD is continuing on the massive Port Place mall redevelopment in downtown Nanaimo, and in January, they start on the Dave Wheaton GM dealership in Victoria. Island West Coast Developments has built Toyota dealerships in Duncan, Nanaimo, Port Alberni and Courtenay, as well as a number of automobile dealerships throughout Vancouver Island. IWCD will also be building the new Laird Wheaton GM buildings at the corner of Bowen Road and the Old Island Highway in Nanaimo. The company did a major expansion of Westshore Village in Langford for the Bentall Group, and their own IWCD Office Building at 2214 Mc- Cullough Road, will be LEED© Gold Certified, and was the Judges’ Choice best overall entry in the 2010 Vancouver Island Real Estate Board’s Commercial Building Awards.

Published in Business Vancouver Island, January 2012.  To See the full article click here.

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Greenrock - a green initiative
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Greenrock - a green initiative
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