Jennifer Michell, Titan Boats’ organizational development manager and Jonathan Stanners, marine systems technician, stand in front of the company’s future home at Victoria International Airport. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Jennifer Michell, Titan Boats’ organizational development manager and Jonathan Stanners, marine systems technician, stand in front of the company’s future home on Victoria International Airport. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Jennifer Michell, Titan Boats’ organizational development manager and Jonathan Stanners, marine systems technician, stand in front of the company’s future home at Victoria International Airport. (Wolf Depner/News Staff) Jennifer Michell, Titan Boats’ organizational development manager and Jonathan Stanners, marine systems technician, stand in front of the company’s future home on Victoria International Airport. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Industrial land flying off the shelf at Victoria International Airport

Sidney’s Titan Boats among companies snapping up industrial-zoned land on airport

With more projects on the way, industrial development on Victoria International Airport land is preparing for take-off. But the gangway might also be pulling away.

Rod Hunchak, director of business development and community relations for the Victoria Airport Authority, said interest from industrial companies has increased, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This type of industrial development is important for the region generally and for the airport specifically, because it diversifies the airport’s revenues, he said.

“Various areas of the airport are zoned for different uses and purposes,” he said. “The aviation sector is primary for us, but also other types of land development and revenue from leasing is extremely important because it does provide diversity.”

RELATED: Report finds supply of industrial land in Greater Victoria shrinking

Industrial companies coming to the airport sub-lease the land from the airport authority, which has a long-term lease with the land owner, the federal government. Sub-leases have a minimum length of 30 years but can run significantly longer. Sub-leasing companies own their building and other improvements to the land.

So what accounts for the interest? “Probably, a large part of it has to do with the fact that we are one of the only areas left in the Peninsula with industrial land available,” said Hunchak. “But our inventory is actually becoming scarce as well.”

Hunchak said the majority of easily develop-able industrial land on the airport is currently under negotiation (Hunchak could not give additional details) or currently tied up in actual construction, for example the new base for the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC).

RELATED: Oil spill response base taking shape on Saanich Peninsula

Another prominent example, now approaching completion, is the construction of a new facility by Titan Boats, the Sidney-based builder of aluminum rigid-hull inflatable boats for customers around North America and beyond.

Jennifer Michell, Titan Boats’ organizational development manager, said the company chose the airport for a number of reasons.

“For us, proximity to the ocean is key, for sea trials,” said Michell. Another reason is proximity to the airport itself to help facilitiate international growth.

The company’s strong community ties to Sidney, the fact that many employees live in the community rather than commute, and perhaps above all the availability of flat land for production and storage also factored in the company’s decision to consolidate its four separate but adjacent facilities with a total square-footage of 11,000 in Sidney’s industrial area west of Highway 17 in the new, singular location.

“It ticked all the boxes,” said Michell, who anticipates that the company’s move will happen at the end of April or early May.

With the move, the company founded by Michell’s father John Stanners continues its evolution from Stanners’ basement to a facility with a finished square-footage of 25,000.

“Overall, it has been a long process, but it has been a good one,” said Michell. “I think it is the right direction for the company and we are excited to grow in to it.”

Michell, who sits on Sidney’s economic advisory committee, also sees growth among the 75 companies operating in Sidney’s industrial area with more ahead.

“It’s really interesting to see the growth and recognition of what’s going on this side (of Highway 17),” she said. “I think the airport is doing a great job of helping to facilitate some of that.”

Do you have a story tip? Email:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Victoria’s economy is expected to bounce back fairly easily, according to a new report from BMO Capital Markets released April 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria in good position to bounce back post-pandemic, says BMO

City’s smaller size, lower COVID-19 caseload and diverse industry base bode well

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria rose to 5.7 per cent in March 2021, an increase of 0.8 per cent compared to February 2021. But the local unemployment rate remains the among the lowest in Canada. (Black Press Media File)
Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate rises to 5.7 per cent

The increase marks a reversal from recent months, but local economy among the strongest in Canada

Saanich police officers were one group of dozens that submitted dance clips to the Greater Victoria Festival Society, to help create the Dance Across Victoria video montage. (Youtube/Screenshot)
WATCH: Saanich police, Victoria mayor bust some moves in new Dance Across Victoria video

Montage features submitted dance clips from across Greater Victoria

Saanich’s Malia Brodie competed in the Vancouver qualifiers for the 2020 National Championships. (Photo by BC Sport Karate Snaps)
PHOTOS: Saanich teen awarded $1,800 Karate Canada bursary to pursue officiant certification

Malia Brodie, 18, has black belt, nearly 15 years experience in karate

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read