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Dockside Green developer going global; Vancity assumes 100 per cent ownership of Victoria harbourfront development

Dockside Green developer going global; Vancity assumes 100 per cent ownership of Victoria harbourfront development

Victoria, December 21, 2009—On the heels of helping Victoria’s Dockside Green housing development achieve three world records for LEED platinum design and receiving the 2009 CARE Award for project of the year, green building developer Joe Van Belleghem has decided to sell his Windmill West Group interest in the harbourfront mixed-use development to majority partner Vancity, which will assume 100 per cent ownership of the project.

Van Belleghem has an opportunity to share his expertise worldwide and apply it to the growing global need to think, build and live differently in light of the challenges facing communities with respect to climate change, the loss of biodiversity and social justice issues.

“Over the years I have shared my experiences of developing Dockside Green globally and it is gratifying to see the effect it is having on developers around the world,” said Van Belleghem. “Right now the opportunity before me to be involved in helping to lead this change is simply too great to pass up.

“This was not an easy decision, but the time is right. The Dockside Green business plan for 2010 has been developed, the major infrastructure has been built and I am proud to have worked hard to show that building green makes sense.”

Vancity President and CEO Tamara Vrooman said the credit union is committed to the success of Dockside Green and will build on the work of this partnership through which the foundation for a highly livable community with leading-edge green practices has been laid.

“We intend to move forward with Dockside Green’s building program, including its affordable housing components. With ownership now consolidated fully at Vancity, we will take a pause to review all aspects of the projects as we move into the next phase of its development.

“It gives me great confidence that Gordon Smith, a highly regarded developer with a long history of successful projects, will lead a team to move us further towards achieving our longstanding environmental, social and financial goals,” Vrooman said.  

Van Belleghem will continue to work with local projects such as Three Point Properties’ proposed Bamberton project, a sustainable live/work/play community that will be a net positive contributor to the social, economic and environmental fabric of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

He credits Vancity, the City of Victoria, Dockside employees, Farmer Construction, the many trades that worked on the project, local First Nations and the residents of Dockside Green for embracing a vision which led to not only new innovations in green building techniques, but integrated service solutions such as Dockside Green’s sewage and biomass plant and a naturalized creek that uses ecology to manage storm water.

The inner-city brownfield development has also become a tourist attraction all of its own, welcoming visiting government organizations and developers from all over the world.

“We’re pleased to see that BC’s leadership in this area is going global through Joe’s work and that Vancity will continue to play a key role in sustainable development in Victoria and our other communities,” added Vrooman.

About Dockside Green
Dockside Green is the largest area development in the City of Victoria, with a vision to create a socially vibrant, ecologically restorative, economically sound and just community. Dockside Green is one of the 16 worldwide Climate Positive founding projects. Climate Positive is a joint initiative between the Clinton Climate Initiative and the U.S. Green Building Council that will set a new global benchmark for leadership in large-scale urban developments that will minimize environmental impacts. Once complete, Dockside Green will be a community for approximately 2,500 people incorporating the very highest in green standards. It will include residential, live/work, hotel, retail, office, light industrial uses and numerous public amenities on Victoria’s downtown harbour.

About Vancity
Vancity is one of Canada's largest credit unions, with $14.5 billion in assets, more than 400,000 members, and 60 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. Vancity is guided by a commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities where we live and work. Vancity has four branches serving more than 13,600 members in Vancouver Island communities through the Langford, Victoria, Blanshard and Scott Street community branches.

Media contact:
Stephanie Thatcher or Karen Berkhout
Vancity media relations
778 837 0394