Andrew Gower, Wedler Engineering
Ten years. A decade. It sure feels like longer, and shorter, all at the same time. In January of 2007, Nelson Lang (now semi-retired) and I started up a humble branch office here in Courtenay. Initially located in the basement of the small house on the airpark where Bazett Land Surveying operates, we now occupy our own digs near Tin Town. From 2, the team has grown to 10.
A lot has happened in our little valley in the last 10 years. We were the civil engineers for the Holiday Inn Express, the Prime Chop House, and the Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Centre. Aside from our work, Costco came to town, Safeway left, the Visitor Centre got built, and big developments like Trilogy in Cumberland and Kensington in Union Bay appear to have sputtered, despite getting municipal approvals. This demonstrates how high the stakes in land development and construction can be. Thousands of dollars can get invested up front in a project, but seeing anything built, and any profits realised, can be very difficult.
We’ve tried, whenever possible, to shape our engineering practice with a sensitivity to the natural environment and our community in mind. This isn’t always easy as we have to balance the competing interests of our client’s bottom line and the restrictions of municipal regulations, with our desire to do great work. For the most part, I think we have succeeded. The Holiday Inn has a large underground cistern that retains roof water for landscape irrigation. The Prime’s storm drainage system consists of French drains that detain, infiltrate, and treat stormwater with natural processes.
We’re looking forward to another decade of “Wedling” solutions for our clients. Maybe there will even be universal water metering in the Comox Valley by then!
Andrew Gower is a partner and Courtenay branch manager of Wedler Engineering. He volunteers with several local non-profits and is passionate about the Comox Valley’s sustainable future. He can be reached at 250.334.3263 or www.wedler.com.