Artist’s rendering of the proposed Corvette Landing, the first mass-timber building on the Island, to be built in Esquimalt. Photo contributed

Esquimalt council green-lights first mass-timber building on Vancouver Island

Mayor appreciates 12-storey structure’s proximity to naval base, graving dock and Seaspan

Esquimalt has approved rezoning to allow for the Island’s first mass-timber building to be constructed in the municipality, overlooking CFB Esquimalt.

The 12-storey, 83-unit prefabricated Corvette Landing project is targeted to be built on three properties along Admirals Road and Constance Avenue, north of Astle Street.

“This is an innovative project that is going to serve to really bring focus to Esquimalt as a municipality that does innovative and exciting things,” said project manager Troy Grant of Standing Stone Developments.

A former Canadian Armed Forces member, Grant chose the location adjacent to CFB Esquimalt because of the diverse demographic of the Township and its desire to keep military families living there.

“Esquimalt has a housing crisis just like everybody else,” he said. “And, Esquimalt has an aging population, but it’s also got a growing young population.”

Comprised of seven studio units; 27 units designed with one-bedroom plus den; 43 two-bedroom units and six three-bedroom units, Corvette Landing will also include 10 accessible units plus commercial space on the ground floor.

“There are good-paying jobs [in Esquimalt],” Mayor Barb Desjardins said, referring to the naval base, Seaspan and Esquimalt Graving Dock. “So we have the opportunity to bring those families right next door to work. I can’t think of anything more suited.”

Coun. Meagan Brame was in favour of the project given that it meets many of the Township’s strategic priorities, namely relationship building.

“We’re taking down the fences between our residential area and the entrance to the base and really creating that community, which is ever so important,” she said, adding it creates a density that is universal.

“It allows for people of varying stages in their life to all be connected.”

Corvette Landing – named after the small, speedy naval ship – is modeled after Brock Commons, a student residence at UBC, currently the tallest mass timber building the world.

Modular construction makes for a significantly faster completion of a project on this scale, Grant explained; approximately nine months from first dig to move-in day, half the time of traditional concrete structures.

Because wood can only withstand so much pressure as you build vertically, he said the structure is not a traditional stick frame construction.

“Our building is going to be built using a technology that uses cross-laminate timber, which allows the wood to increase in strength and in flexibility to the point of the strength of steel,” he said.

Upon completion the building will weigh just 25 per cent of a similarly sized traditional concrete and steel structure, will use more environmentally-friendly materials and reduce greenhouse gases.

The materials also allow for the units to be affordably market priced, something Grant said was top of mind considering the community in which it will be built.

“It’s an incredibly important project,” he said. “This will be the cornerstone for construction in Esquimalt.”

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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