Pacific Landings’ The Best in the Business – Part 2: An interview with Dale Fish
Welcome back Pacific Landing friends, family and followers. Today we have part 2 of ‘The Best in the Business’. In this segment we interviewed the man in charge of all the construction here on site, Mr. Dale Fish.
Dale has over 50 years experience in the construction industry. So, without further adieu, let’s begin.
Interview with Dale
“My name is Dale Fish and I am the Director of Development and Construction for Pacific Landing.”
To start with a little bit of background.
Q- Where are you from?
A-“Originally I am from Windsor Ontario, and I lived there until I was 20 years old. Then I decided to move west, back in 1976.”
Q- What are some of your hobbies and interests?
A- “My main hobby is golf, but I like water sports. I have been a diver. I like baseball and yeah, that’s about it. Oh, hiking and canoeing.”
Q- How did you get into construction?
A- “I kind of come by it honestly. My Dad owned a sheet metal eaves-troughing company and I started working with him when I was 9 years old. Then after I left Windsor when I was 20, I originally moved to Calgary and I became a framer. The rest is kind of history. From there I became an assistant superintendent and then a superintendent. Got hooked up with a hotel chain that allowed me to get into other phases of construction. Which was construction management and design.”
Q- The Hotel business is where you met Randy Royer?
A- “As a matter of fact, it is. Randy hired me to initially build the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort. That’s where him and I first met and we were both 29 years old.”
Q- Your partnership goes back a ways eh?
A- “It does go back a ways, quite a ways.”
Q- What are some of your favourite projects that you have worked on or built in the past?
A- “Well, the most prominent one would be the Grand Hotel that is located in Kelowna, British Columbia. It is by far the largest. But I have done many hotels, from Ottawa, through Kitchener. A lot of them in Ontario and in British Columbia, that sort of thing. Probably one of the ones that does stand out would be the villas that I built in Cabo, in Mexico. That was one that was quite a big learning experience for me. I had to understand the culture before I could actually start building there. That is one that does stand out.”
Q- What about Pacific Landing, can you tell us a little about the project here?
A- “Well, I got involved with Pacific Landing about 3 years ago, just about exactly three years ago when Randy Royer contacted me. And we went and had lunch and he told me that he had another piece of property that was located on Vancouver Island. And that he had another dream, like he did when we did the Grand Hotel, of turning this into a really interesting property, that would give everybody kind of a village feel. Because I was involved with him with the Grand and on many hotels. We probably developed and built, or I was involved with anyway, at least 19 of those hotels. He felt that he wanted me to come on board and spearhead the development and the construction. So yeah, we formed a partnership and that’s how it all happened.”
Q- So specifically, in the processes of building this project. What is the process of building a project, what goes into building a building?
A- “Well the very first thing is actually to try and decide on what kind of a design you want for a building. From that you have to produce a budget and refine a budget that makes sense so that you can then go to the financial institution to get funding for construction. Um, from that point it is getting all the permits in place, the development agreement with the city. It’s working with the city, making sure that the building permit is in place, footing / foundation permit is in place. Then going out and tendering the complete project with all of the trades and getting them all under contract. Providing a schedule and trying to get everyone to work to that schedule so they can finish it on time.”
Q- What are some of the major challenges you have faced with this project so far?
A- “The challenges here are actually quite considerable. We are building in an area of the world that has the highest earthquake loading zones, and then on top of that we have some specific issues where we have an aquifer that runs underneath us. So, a lot of ground water and we are building on sand. So, all of those issues create more of a concern when you are building. With our consultants and our engineers, we came up with a way of actually mitigating those issues.
These three buildings for instance, are sitting on top of a parkade, which in turn is sitting on top of a 1.5 metre rock mat. That rock mat is interwoven with geogrid mesh. So, it all moves at once, if there was to be an earthquake the whole thing would move at once. It wouldn’t liquify. You wouldn’t get liquefaction and of course if you got that, the buildings would sink. So, this is preventing all of that.
On top of that, we have an issue of water migration through this property. Which is unique just to this area. So, inside the rock mat we installed 8-inch diameter pipes, that are perforated, in which we collect all of the groundwater that flows through. We collect it at the extreme east end of the property into a manhole and then that is gravity fed into an area where we have created some spawning channels for trout and the salmon to come up and spawn in. So that’s all part of this dream of creating a village, with walkways and areas to enjoy.”
Q- What are some steps that Pacific Landing has taken in the way of environmental and also energy efficiency?
A- “That’s a long question. I will try to answer the first one, on the environmental issue. We engaged the top environmentalist here in British Columbia and that would be Patrick Lucy with Aquatex. He also is a consultant to many of the municipalities in the area and he has worked with us to actually come up with an idea to create walkways throughout the overall project. So that when we are done you literally will be able to walk from the entrance way all the way through the property and across the streambeds without harming them or without walking in them. We are working with him so that we are being as environmentally friendly as we can.
What you have to understand is we have a creek that runs all the way through the property called Bee Creek. It is under the federal fisheries act, which means that we have fish that actually come up into this stream and spawn. We can’t develop within 15 metres on either side of the banks of this stream. So, we have had to develop the property and all of the phases to be within that criteria.
On top of that, when we realigned the roads, we agreed to not only build to the phase boundary line, we actually moved that boundary line in to account for the root systems of the trees that are actually in the spia. The spia being a technical term of the area that you can’t build in. So, what we did was we found where all of the root systems were and even though our boundary line said we could build within them, what we did is we moved our boundary lines out so that we are not encroaching on those root systems and therefore those trees will be able to remain.
As far as the other part of the question on the energy efficiency. We had to meet certain criteria with Colwood to be as green as possible. And we have done that in so much as each individual unit has its own hot water on demand. Which is literally as efficient as you can get. No electricity goes out, no gas goes out until it is called upon. So, there is no waste as far as that is concerned. We have installed energy efficient windows and we have also installed solar panels on top of the third building which will contribute to the power requirements we will need for all of the common areas in Phase 1.”
Q- What are some of the unique features of Pacific Landing?
A- “Well, the unique feature is that once you start walking around this site it is so unique because we are right on the lagoon. I would have to say that in Phase 1, 65% of the condo units here have some type of a water view. When we are going into Phase 2, I would have to say that probably 75% to 80% of the condos will have a water view, and going into Phase 3 almost 90% or 95% of the condominiums will have a view of the lagoon and the ocean. I don’t think that there is anywhere else in all of southern Victoria, that will have the walkways built into the site, that you are going to be able to walk throughout all of the buildings.
We have amenities that are going to be situated in all three phases of the residential portion, so that the people are going to be able to intermingle with each other, so that you are not just staying in one portion of the property. And you are going to be able to go out and walk the property, walk out on the beach, use the Yoga studio, or walk over to phase 3 eventually and use the pool. Or if you have guests here, you are going to be able to take them up to the observation deck in phase 2 and everybody can look over the whole ocean, lagoon and Victoria. So, in that respect it is very unique.
On top of that we border right on the lands of Royal Roads property which is a just about a section of 640 acres of land. It’s got all kinds of trails all through it, which the local people here use all the time, and which the people here that are going to be purchasing are going to be able to utilize as well.”
Q- What is your favourite part of Pacific Landing?
A- “That is an interesting question, it is easy to say the construction aspect because that is what I do. But getting involved with Randy again after him and I being apart from each other for approximately 10 years has been very interesting. Becoming a partner on this project, working closely with Randy and our other partner Ray Parks. We’ve worked together to try and put together a company that will go on past this project and the 6 phases. We discussed this company growing and becoming a company where we could involve our kids, and to date each one of us as partners has brought in our own children to work in one aspect or another of the overall project.
The team that has been put together to date, in my opinion, is working really well. The sales and marketing team, after a couple of stumbles with sales and marketing, we have tapped into a group of young people with a lot of energy, a lot of great ideas and it has really taken off and produced a lot of sales. Going forward into Phase 2, you know we already have sales and we haven’t even broken ground yet. So, it says a lot about to the group that is upstairs actually doing the sales and marketing.
From the construction side, I have both of my partner’s sons out working with me. I have been training them both for the last year and a half and they’ve really stepped up and I’m quite proud of them. I don’t know if I want to say that into a blog where they are going to be able to hear it but yeah, I am. “
Q- Well, it’ll be our secret ha-ha. To wrap it up we will end with a construction update. Where are we in construction of Phase 1 currently?
A- “Right now, we are in the final phases of the construction. Drywall is basically all complete in all 3 buildings. We are just doing the final finishing in the Dunsmuir. So, by the end of this month Dunsmuir should be pretty much complete where we can lock the doors. Hatley will be about another 3 weeks to get to that spot and then the Breton. We are looking to have everything ready for occupancy by the end of August.
At that time, we have to go through all of our inspections with all of our consultants. It’s about a 1 or 2-week period that we have to do all of the testing for the life safety, do the inspections with all the consultants like I said, and then finally do a final inspection with the fire department and with the city. Take care of all of their concerns, which I am hoping to be able to do in the first week to 10 days of September. Once that is done they will provide us with an Occupancy and everyone can move in.”
Q- Perfect! And then the next is Phase 2 and off to the rest of the project eh?
A- “Yeah, interestingly enough, with phase 2 we have already submitted for a development permit, our drawings are far enough along for that. The design on phase 2 is one of the nicest designs for a building that I have seen in a long time. On top of the development permit we have already submitted with the city, our consultants should be ready with drawings by the middle of August so we can submit for a building permit.
But what I want to do ahead of time, next week, is I want to submit for a footing/foundation permit. If I can do that, I would like to get busy starting the excavation and the forming, which would give us a bit of a jump on the wet weather that is coming. If I can get that and the raff slab in, and the drainage, that would go a long ways in our ability to actually construct through the winter.”
Q- Perfect, well thank you very much.
A- “No problem, as well what you should know is that the other day the partners met and we had a discussion with regards to phase 3, and it’s very, very preliminary. But from the looks of the preliminary sketches that I have seen, I think those two buildings in phase 3 will be spectacular.”
Wonderful, Thank you.