Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Geoduck, Sea Cucumber and Me


A Perfect Partnership - Asian Delicacy meets Western Knowhow


Luxury Asian Seafood Business with Land and Sea Ranch for equity sale

An rare opportunity exists to enter a closely guarded industry where Geoduck and Sea Cucumber licences are worth millions of dollars.

The proforma shows a very high yield on investment after an initial product grow out period. Investment of $20M will help to provide a $28M sustainable yearly harvest of the highest grade product.

The Principal, who is keen to invest in teaching and guiding the next generation of owners, is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on Geoduck Clam Aquaculture. In 1977, he was a Founding Director of the Underwater Harvesters’ Association (UHA) and through many years of diving, harvesting and hatchery research, has an unsurpassed understanding of creating a healthy and productive sea ranch. 
The group owns and runs a shellfish aquaculture hatchery, built at a cost of $6M, and have the largest equity position in sub-tidal Geoduck aquaculture tenures in British Columbia.
These tenures are in various stages of development. Empty, the tenures have a market value of over $20 million. Their value has greatly increased due to successful geoduck planting and growth. Over the last three years, the hatchery produced over 6 million Geoduck seeds. Much of this crop has been planted and sold and currently covers over 20 hectares of the 89 hectare tenure. 

This program of planting is on-going and after the first eight year grow out period, the tenure is calculated to yield a $28 Million harvest per year. 

The hatchery also currently sells Oyster seed and is in the process of culturing Sea Cucumber, Cockle, Urchin and Scallop.

Macdonald Commercial are pleased to present for an investment of $20,000,000 the offering of an equity position in the following:

  • 89 Hectare (220 Acre) Savary Island sub-tidal tenure and hatchery with multi-species hatchery license and associated 8 acre property on Victoria Island
  • A Geoduck license, three Sea Cucumber licenses and the aquaculture tenure harvest (immediate return through supply of wild Geoduck and Sea Cucumber). A single Geoduck licence has a market value of $6M (there are only 55 licences available in BC).

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Wood Micro Apartments?

Economics dictates that you should build your development with wood framing if the building code lets you - unless a buyer will pay the required extra $100+ per square foot to live in the perceived solidity and safety of concrete construction.

After all, will anyone really care once the plasterboard has been set?

Recent evidence shows that the home buyer in Canada will live in smaller quarters in concrete buildings, but can the current 'micro-sized apartment' movement find opportunity in a wood framed building?

The question is a cultural history one.

In downtown Melbourne, Australia, there is one of the tallest modern timber buildings in the world (10 floors) and no one seemed to mind when the sales began. In Canada, though - a land established on tales of tall timber, it can be a concern.

Evenings toasting marshmallows in front of the campfire may not have helped the timber industry. Is it possible that deep in the Canadian psyche everybody knows: wood burns. More than that - there is a lot of it in British Columbia and like any supply and demand scenario, that makes it seem less valuable.

Add to this the bad press of the leaky mould producing four storey wood frame buildings of the nineties and wood is fighting a huge battle for equality.

In Canada the government has pushed back some, calling for wood to be a major component in any public building. Here, 'Cross Laminated Timber' and 'Laminated Veneer Lumber' known as mass timber construction is doing well to bring solidity to the wood debate.

However, in the developer's world (where the coal mine canary lives), the question for micro-apartments and wood framed buildings remains: "If you build it, will they come?"

The answer may lie in mass timber panels and prefabrication, where computer driven accuracy and fine detail resolution can bring a renewed opportunity to express the beauty of wood.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Why Go to Architecture School?

Ideals and Ideas

Idealistic and artistic 'scientists' go to architecture school to develop the 'conceptual' way of thinking.

At the start, University is a unique environment that allows you to dream about new ideas (or concepts) and great sensory experiences full of drama and wit - without concerning yourself with the complex matrix of building science, law and accounting, known as building.

Reality and Materials

In the first year of school, you add an understanding of the movement of the sun, the wind and the rain: "the environment". Next you get to learn about construction methods, like, 'what is a clay brick really' and isn't concrete fluid, not to mention the inherent beauty of wood. You get to think about the importance of mathematics and structural systems and learn about the 'strength to weight ratio' of steel.

Tools and Rules

Like a carpenter's hammer or a brickies trowel, you start to use tools that range from mathematics to music. The logic of maths and the formal layering and rhythms of music are a good analogy for the process of design. For example, an underlying structure is like a steady bass line on which the other layers rest.

Along comes construction law and you start to realise that what you do can get pretty serious. That part of the course can only be described as intense.

City zoning plans inform you of a community's entrepreneurial expression of growth. Local government regulations represent good manners between neighbours and building codes are there to keep everyone healthy and safe.

Concept and Decision

As you begin to absorb these disciplines, Architecture School continues to insist that with any regular design presentation, there must always be a 'concept' or big idea to pull all the issues together into a unified whole. Conceptual thinking involves broadly and loosely considering the important parts of any problem and coming up with a unified artistic expression for the solution.
This is the joy of design.

During the six years of study, you slowly learn how to hold on to a precious 'concept' through the rigors of climate and the reality of commerce. Of course, a degree is only the beginning of a life of discovering and balancing 'the idea' hidden within a building site, client brief and architectural mind.


The picture above is an international design competition entry for a new city center site in Semiahmoo (which can be translated as 'Crescent Moon'), just south of Vancouver. The concept was called the 'Net of the Crescent Moon' and just like 'First Nations' fishing nets, it aimed to catch the interest and the commerce of the locals. The result was two floors of retail with residential apartments above. The second level of retail could be reached by climbing a grassy hill within the courtyard.

The opening in the building follows the path of the setting sun, so that the unique courtyard is always a great place to be. Once the concept was established, fitting penthouse style apartment plans in this organic plan shape was great fun. On a macro level, the curved plan surrounds a water feature which becomes a public skating rink in Winter.

Building an Architect

University gives you time and space. Once trained, inspired and hired, discovering a concept for a building project gives you an overall vision that helps you make decisions in a structured way further down the track. The result? Architecture.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Managing Snow: Keep it Cool and Know How Much it Weighs

Snow Equation

Snow + heat = water.
Water + freezing temperatures = icicles.
Thawing ice + the roof junctions = problems.

Melting roof snow over warm living spaces can lead to ice dams building up over the much cooler eaves. So when in Whistler, apart from thick insulation to keep the heat in, a good practice is to keep the roof space well ventilated top to bottom so it maintains a constant temperature, over both the main roof and the eave. After all, we do like the look and function of a nice wide eave, especially as it functions to push snow away from the wall.

This is a construction section cut through the middle of a house designed for Canadian snow. It was important to safely manage where the heavy snow falls off the roof and what effect it will have on the neighbours, as well as keeping it shedding away from front door. It is always important to mix practical issues with any romantic and inventive design concept.

My talented Structural Engineer explains how much higher the snow loads here are. It gives the building elements a certain thickness and a robust, even 'chunky' look. Some good design work in Whistler has kept chunky from looking 'clunky'.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Let it Grow, Let it Grow, Let it Grow

When two becomes three. 

28,800 square feet is created by a three lot land assembly on the strategic commercial corner in White Rock. There are great water views down Nichol Road and the site is ready to take a mixed use commercial development. 

A positive response is expected from the City planners as the site is not so close that it will detract from the town centre; the higher density will create much needed diversity in housing stock and the location helps create a walkable neighbourhood with less dependance on the car.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Three's Company

A great place to start your development journey.

Positioned on the topographical ridge of beautiful White Rock, the subject site of 19,073 SF is adjacent to the commercial area at 140th Street. There is a bus stop at the front door and an established mixed use retail and residential unit adjacent.

There are a number of options for development. Currently, a development proposal has reached third reading which will allow the subdivision of the two lots into three RS-4 lots to allow the construction of three well sized single family houses. Each of the three lots would 6,350 SF, with a lot coverage of 5% and FAR of 0.5. Legal suites would be permissible in each home.

For the more seasoned developer, the site may also be an excellent holding property for rezoning to a mixed use development with commercial retail units on the ground floor and residential apartments over.

Beautiful White Rock water just a few minutes away


Monday, 18 November 2013

Trial by Fire

Fire as ecological process


Australians have learnt to accept fire for what it is – an ecological process that determines the composition of Australia's unique flora and fauna.

According to Australia's national science agency the CSIRO, "fire is as natural as the sun and the rain...Nothing else produces the chemicals in the ash to stimulate new growth – or in the smoke to stimulate the flowering and regeneration of particular species. Nothing else produces the heat pulse that removes growth-inhibiting toxins in the litter, or opens tightly-closed fruits to release new seed, or penetrates deep into the soil to stimulate the germination of long-buried seed".

I see some deep parallels in our lives.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) : A beautiful solution

Laminated Veneer Lumber is a tried and true structural product that we have been using for beams for years. Now, with the onset of tall timber buildings it is an elegant alternative for mass timber construction. Thin strips of timber are glued together to create a large panel that can be a very strong complete floor.

The Canadian group Brisco Manufacturing have created a sweet model of how the components are put together (proud owner in the background).  Because the finished product is so attractive, it could be a finished ceiling, wall, column, beam or floor (or all five!).

Architects will also love the leanness of the floor assembly, giving opportunity for greater floor to ceiling heights. Clients and home buyers will love that too.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

One Huge Becomes Two Big

Site A: 1066 Bartholomew Road, 77.3 Acres $552,000

Site B: 668 Sutil Pt. Road, 140.4 Acres $445,000

Back to the beautiful destination known as Cortes Island BC, the property has become even more affordable. The owner is happy to sell the land holdings separately and all offers will be considered.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Making a Splash in Vancouver

Fred, Ted and Mod go unnoticed at lunchtime in Robson Street
As for me, I really like my new Motorola Andriod 'shockproof' phone. The Urban Bears (seen above) love our fixation with our phones too (more space in the fountain). Only, they do wonder why we take so long to eat those little shiny black biscuits.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Test of Time

The Great Hall, Sydney University
The Great Hall at Sydney University has passed the 'Test of Time' with flying colours. What makes a building last and be relevant for future generations? What makes it have 'heritage', not just because it is old?

There is social heritage, meaning lives were changed here, culture was created and great worth was given to an individual's achievement.

Then there is the building itself, its place in history and the dream and aspirations it created when it was conceived, built and paid for. The enormous energy it took to create this special place is a story of dedication, ideas and great hope in a new land.

What work are we making now that will pass a University Examination of Time?

I am the first to agree that there is more to life than what you can see and touch, however, cities are on the hunt for great land owners who will step up and partner with the finest craftsman and designers, using materials that last and stand for generations. This is one example of the word: Legacy.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Gai Waterhouse knows how to build champions and Paradise Equestrian Properties BC will have the same focus.

At Paradise Equestrian Properties in British Columbia, we hope to find the Canadian version of Australia's Gai Waterhouse. An incredible role model for young women. See her latest post below from GaiTV.

GaiTV EXCLUSIVE - Sydney Cup Preview - feat. More Joyous, Pierro, Equator

Friday, 5 July 2013

Why buy British Columbia island land?

Here is why you would buy land on an island in BC. Great memories happen when (like us) you and your family and friends catch 100lbs of Shinook and Coho salmon in one day!

There were those that 'got away' as well as those that had to be thrown back, but then this 22lb beauty is proof of the rich waters of British Columbia, Canada.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

170 Acres - Equestrian Development Site For Sale

With a long history of helping to provide Canada’s river run of cedar and spruce logs, Squamish has evolved into the outdoor recreation capital of Canada, 45 minutes drive from its most beautiful city, Vancouver.

After much anticipation, Squamish’s premier development site has finally become available. This riverfront property is being listed for sale with zoning for up to 82 estate residential home building lots and a horse training centre.

Along with a luxury family home, each residential lot can contain a detached secondary suite.

The Equestrian Centre at the heart of the subdivision has virtually no size restrictions so that this development will achieve the level of exclusivity expected of a world class horse training and stud facility.

I am proud to be bringing the 169.51 Acres for sale to the development community for $16,000,000.

I look forward to creating with you a true 'destination' point for those who love and admire the elegance and beauty and skill of horses and their trainers.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Creativity on a tight institutional budget

This is a small project on a tight budget for the Rudolf Steiner Service for intellectually disabled known as Inala.  Steiner, the German philosopher who inspired the creation of schools and facilities all over the world, was also a creative Architect.

With that background, this project sought to respond creatively to the very utilitarian need for disabled change rooms next to the school's swimming pool.

The minimal budget generated the choice of materials: Clear finished plywood and steel cladding on a curved steel frame and simple 4"x 4" internal tiles. The circular plan is notable in that it complies with the disability bathroom standards and dimensions, while creating an interesting building form at the far end of the school site.