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Land Shortage Solution

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Land Shortage Solution

You can't make new land (Big Bangs are few and far between), but there is a way to find more. The innovative remediation going on at the old Delta Shake and Shingle landfill, a new chapter in the restoration of contaminated land, isà helping to address the challenges of Vancouver ongoing industrial land shortage. The project was named the "Canadian 2012 Brownfield of the Year" by the Canadian Urban Institute. (Take that, Meryl Streep.) The Delta project is the first scenario where municipal government has provided subsidies and financial incentives to the developer--in this case Ocean Trailer--to invest in a clean-up. Next Environmental is overseeing the job. "There are so many properties here that are big contamination sites," president Harm Gross tells us. "Developers look at a property and they hear the techno babble, and they don't know what it means... As a consequence the property sits there for decades un-utilized or under-utilized."

Land Shortage Solution

That's a challenge when you have a land shortage. Harm has a doctorate in ecology and an MBA with a focus on finance (and is a former Scotiabank executive), so he aims to secure an environmental certificate of compliance for the client by bridging the ecologists and the business folks. Many of the projects Next takes on are "brownfield" sites that a lot of experts deem worthless. In the image is the Harbourside Business Park project.

Land Shortage Solution

One past project was transforming the giant Versatile Shipyards on the North Vancouver waterfront into a vibrant retail and residential community. Next has scored a number of municipal permit approvals for clients that many thought impossible. One of his first clients was a large developer attempting to build a North Vancouver business park on a former industrial site. Estimated costs to clean up the site were $90M. Next did it for $3M. "Everyone that owns property is liable for that contamination," he says. Pictures, the Safeway Coquitlam project.