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2 old houses headed for new homes as Esquimalt developer calls on recyclers

Longtime building movers Nickel Bros. pack up second set of homes ahead of development
A home in the 500-block of Fraser Street in Esquimalt is expected to move this week. (Artemon Kiriac-Relinsky/Facebook)

The move to recycle homes continues with houses packed up and ready to barge out of Esquimalt.

Two houses moved out of the neighbourhood at the end of October, with the latest three prepped last week, bound for places such as Texada Island, Salt Spring Island and Sooke.

Nickel Bros. has become well-known for the recycling initiative locally in Victoria and Oak Bay, and they’ve recently started doing work in Langford as well. Houses are barged from Greater Victoria to new homes across the Pacific Northwest.

Full blocks of houses, presented by developers looking ahead can make a big difference, allowing time for planning.

“The critical thing about house moving is scheduling and having an appropriate time frame to move a building … that takes permitting and that sort of thing,” Jim Connelly, the south island Sales Manager for Nickel Bros, told the Victoria News

The latest moves out of Esquimalt have been underway for about a year, thanks to a “fairly enlightened developer,” he said.

RELATED: Houses on the move as recycling movement picks up momentum in Oak Bay

Nickel Bros. is in a position where those looking to redevelop a site will call them in for an assessment. In this case, Mayor Barb Desjardins even reached out to offer a rundown of the project.

“We were able to cherry-pick the good ones out of there and find good homes for them.” Connelly said.

While some were simply unusable, the handful from the turn of the century were salvageable.

During the first moves, residents turned out to watch homes inch through the streets to an awaiting barge at the waterfront. Connelly loves learning history from the sidelines and wasn’t disappointed, as one woman explained the home had been her grandfather’s house, built in the early 1900s. Many also introduced themselves as former renters on the site.

“People were coming up left right and centre. It’s a refreshing and hopeful sign when everybody watching is quite pleased you’re not trashing them and taking them to the landfill,” he said.

READ ALSO: Boatload of houses set sail for new homes from Esquimalt waterfront

“Again we’re always working with the municipalities and making sure they’re bylaws are aware of how this process works,”

Work with municipal staff in Nanaimo resulted in 20 homes heading to Gabriola Island last year, he said.

There are myriad reasons, sometimes evolving, that people tend to recycle – or relocate – instead of building new.

Soaring building costs and a backlog of skilled contractors are key current concerns, Connelly said.

If winds and tides come together, Nickel Bros. has another Victoria house move – from the 500-block of Beach Drive – scheduled for next month.

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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