BC’s first eco-industrial park aims to be a centre of excellence for wood products manufacturers
The future of industrial development in BC has arrived. Shawnigan Eco-Industrial Park, a fifteen-acre development nestled on the southern slope of the Malahat Highway, just 20 minutes north of Victoria, has received final zoning and subdivision approval, and is now going public.
Shawnigan Eco-Industrial Park principal, Pat Lintaman, said plans call for making the park a “center of excellence and efficiency” for companies in the value-added wood products industry. Lintaman envisions a collection of wood products companies locating at the park. Borrowing the idea of the “100-mile diet” he sees woodworking artisans (kitchens, flooring, mouldings, doors and windows, log & timber frame and factory-built homes, truss, glulam and remanufacturing plants, kiln drying, heat treating, and other associated services) – locating here and drawing on local wood supplies.
The park features LEED standard plans for energy efficiency, water conservation, environmental protection, and waste reduction; Lintaman envisions tremendous synergy between businesses (i.e. one company’s waste can be another company’s fuel – or a part of its finished product – and companies can share resources and take advantage of huge savings in energy costs). “Our goal from the outset,” he added, “is to create a model of a local sustainable industry without sacrificing profits.”
A former log and timber home designer/builder, Lintaman said wood is the ultimate renewable resource, hence wood products businesses naturally lend themselves to eco-sensitive development and “chain of custody” models. He noted that companies locating at SEIP will also be able to take advantage of huge savings in the cost of purchasing or leasing – compared to sky rocketing costs in nearby Victoria, where industrial land is shrinking and becoming extremely expensive.
While heavier plants would be located toward the rear of the park, Lintaman envisions a public area at the park entry – featuring custom furniture designers, flooring, cabinet makers, and wood door and window companies, for example – with workshops at rear, and retail showrooms in front.
“We can envision a kind of “Wood Workers Row – or Artisan’s Walk,” Lintaman said, “that could become an attraction in itself.” He said the park could become a community centre as well as a magnet for both area residents and tourists, “where they could purchase wood products that have been created on site – all the way from innovative design, through finished product – and all processing wood from local, sustainably managed forests, using sustainable operating practices, in LEED standard buildings.”
“Perhaps a “one stop” home design/contractor/coordination centre could be located here, with shops and offices for designers, trades people and construction suppliers and their showrooms,” Lintaman added. “The park would be a perfect location for a woodcraft education or interpretive centre. Perhaps a skills training centre for youth and/or First Nations could be built here. The possibilities are endless.”
Shawnigan Eco-Industrial Park is the first industrial park in BC to be awarded I-5 (Eco Industrial) zoning, and the development has won the approval of Shawnigan Watershed Watch, a group committed to protecting the watershed and Shawnigan Lake.
Lintaman invites inquiries from companies of any size that are considering a move in the next five years, as well as companies interested in investing, building or joint venturing with the park.