Home recycling remains a popular option, with many moving out of Oak Bay this summer.
Nickel Bros. Sales and Estimating Manager. Southern Vancouver Island says a pair that hit the streets in June drew many onlookers and at least one more are expected to roll out in July.
The Oliver Cottage, as Jim Connolly calls it, rolled through the streets on the night of June 14 and was one of two houses maneuvered through the community to the water’s edge.
He was joining an impressive two-storey house that had spent time on a barge near Willows Beach where a house moved from Musgrave was loaded before the barge headed to McNeill Bay for the Oliver cottage.
Built in the late 1920s, the house is a twin to a house that the same company moved from adjoining land in the 600 block of Oliver five years ago. This one is destined for an island of San Juan to serve as a rental for a farm.
Proximity sees the San Juan and Gulf Islands (north and south) as the most desirable locations for recycled homes. They also leave places like Vancouver and Victoria to travel to Comox, Courtenay, Sooke, Mill Bay and Shawnigan. Just last year, Nickel Bros. moved 20 houses to Gabriola Island. It was among more than 100 moves the company made in 2021 on the south coast of British Columbia, Connolly said.
Work began around 9 p.m. when Musgrave moved, but neighborhoods are generally keen to watch the older homes move. “There are always people showing up and telling stories,” he said. Crowds are always nice and he’s been doing the job for three decades.
“We appreciate that people like what we do there.”
Homes are like fine furniture, built forever, not for sale, for livability, not for marketing, Connolly said.
“These homes are deeply good, especially in Oak Bay.”
While recycling is gaining popularity as a cost-effective alternative to demolition, it is also becoming more difficult due to changes in traffic infrastructure with beautification and traffic calming measures eliminating certain corridors.
“Every project is a little different, even though the logistics are similar, the piece is different,” Connolly said.
Oak Bay is one of the communities where city staff are proactive and see ways to help clear pathways. There are several defined routes in the community, but more than half of the homes they would like to move, or owners request to recycle, simply cannot logistically.
They move buildings year-round, but winter weather can be a hindrance as they watch the wind and tides.
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