Houses moved rather than demolished
April 17 2023
Two houses being moved to make way for a condominium project in the Greater Victoria community of Esquimalt are going to B.C.’s Songhees First Nation to help alleviate a housing crunch on the reserve.
It’s a novel approach by Edmonton-based developer TLA Developments, which is clearing the site for a five-storey, 46-unit condominium project.
Instead of demolishing the two single-family homes, TLA Developments opted to move them onto First Nation lands.
The developer has also given the plants, shrubs, trees and landscaping materials to neighbours instead of sending them to the landfill.
One of these 1950s-era homes was moved in February while the other was transported in March—both by Nickel Brothers, which specialize in moving houses.
Both houses were repaired by TLA Developments, which also removed hazardous materials.
TLA Developments said the First Nation is preparing these new home sites and holding a lottery among families to decide who gets the houses.
“It’s an honour to partner with the Songhees Nation and contribute to the well-being of their community,” said TLA Developments managing partner Troy Grant. “We’re happy to see these homes repurposed and provide families with safe, secure and long-term housing. It is just the right thing to do.”
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said she’s happy the houses are being repurposed to reduce landfill waste—a problem the Capital Regional District has been struggling with as development surges.
TLA Developments is owned and operated by former members of the military.
It builds multi-family and single-family homes across Western Canada. It has projects underway in View Royal (a 37-unit condo building), Salt Spring Island (12 townhomes) and Saanich (two condo buildings), all on or near Vancouver Island.
Grant said one third of the company’s ownership is Aboriginal or Métis—including a long-time recruiter of First Nations people for Canada’s military.