Courtesy Nexterra Systems Corp. Rendering Dockside Green.
Figure 1. A Rendering of Dockside Green’s Master Plan.
Initiative as a founding member community in its Climate Positive
From Concept to Renewable Reality
The concept of building an eco-friendly, sustainable community
on Victoria’s harborfront emerged in the early 2000s when the
city was looking for a ‘triple bottom line’ development – one
whose success is measured in social and environmental as well
as economic terms. After the city issued a request for proposals
in 2004, Joe Van Belleghem, the visionary behind Dockside and a
partner with development company Windmill West, responded to
the call with a complete conceptual design – one that mirrored
the actual design of the community today. A master development
agreement was signed in May 2005 between the city and Dockside
Green Ltd., formed by Windmill West and Vancity Capital, which is
an investment subsidiary of Vancity, Canada’s largest credit union.
THE BIOMASS GASIFICATION PLANT HAS BEEN
INSTRUMENTAL IN BRINGING A GREAT DEAL OF
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
TO DOCKSIDE GREEN.
Site remediation work started shortly thereafter. This involved
taking soil off the site, thermally treating it and mixing it with
biosolids, then using it to reclaim an old copper mine; some of
the soil was also capped. These remediation efforts were incorporated into the project’s financials by designing the master plan
around the areas where the soil could be capped.
Dockside Green’s master plan encompasses 26 buildings
totaling 1. 3 million sq ft of mixed residential, office, retail and
light industrial space (fig. 1). By 2015, the community will be
home to approximately 2,500 residents in three neighborhoods.
Project construction began in early 2006.
Van Belleghem was so committed to making the project a
model for green living that he had promised to pay the city CA$1
million (about $919,000) if he didn’t achieve LEED Platinum status
on each of the eligible buildings within the master-planned com-
munity. The first construction phase of Dockside Green, called
Synergy, has already made good on that promise, earning LEED
Platinum with the highest rating ever achieved for that level of
certification. Completed in March 2008, this phase comprises two
mid-rise residential towers with commercial units on the ground
floor plus two townhome complexes.
Phase 2, called Balance, was completed in May 2009 and
comprises two towers with 171 suites. Seven additional residential
phases are planned that include mid-rise buildings with one- and
two-bedroom suites and penthouses, plus luxury and affordable
In addition to the biomass gasification plant, Dockside Green
features such other eco-friendly components as its own wastewater
treatment and reclamation system; green roofs on many buildings;
solar-powered street lights and garbage compactors; and a car-sharing program and bike racks to encourage less use of car transportation.
“Dockside has been such an important project for the city,”
said Mayor Dean Fortin.“We inherited the site from the province,
and it needed extensive remediation. Now we have a wonderful
combination of market and social housing, bike paths and water
features in a community that the world is coming to see.”
Courtesy Nexterra Systems Corp. Photo Bob Matheson.
Dockside Green’s biomass gasification system showing fuel feed (far left) to
gasifier (background); oxidizer and hot water heater are in foreground.