2017 BC Trucking Association
Volvo Trucks Canada Driver of the Year Award
Safety Driven – Trucking Safety Council of BC
Presented to : Kelly Ryan – Tri-R Transport Ltd. company driver
Congratulations Kelly, from all of us at Tri-R Transport Ltd.!
It’s a novel idea that could be one solution to the dearth of affordable housing options in the Lower Mainland: turning the millions of vacant shipping containers around the world into homes.
Not only did a Richmond firm play a key role in last week’s unveiling of Canada’s first recycled shipping container housing project at 502 Alexander St. in Vancouver, but now local councillors are vowing to give this option a close look to see if this is feasible for Richmond.
Gary Vos, founder of Reagle Terminals Inc. at the foot of Garden City Road, told The Richmond Review on Wednesday that for the past two years he’s been enlisted to work on a project to create affordable housing, an effort spearheaded by Atira Women’s Resource Society’s Janice Abbott, along with James Weldon of JTW Consulting and president Frank Lo of shipping firm MC Quarters.
The result of their hard work and vision is known as the three-storey Imouto Container Housing project in the downtown eastside of Vancouver comprising recycled shipping containers.
The 40-foot-long “cans” were customized at Reagle, with pairs of nearly 10-feet high containers being offset, welded together and metal walls removed to allow passage between the two sides.
The result, 290 square-foot units that cost about $82,500—versus about $220,000 for a 320-square-foot unit at another housing project for women—were unveiled to positive reviews from Vancouver city councillors and other members of the public. (The units are open for public viewing on Friday, Aug. 9 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, Aug. 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Vos said it was amazing to see the project come together slowly.
Abbot said she’s long like the recycled aspect of using shipping containers, intrigued by their use in projects around the world.
But it was B.C. Hydro’s House of the Future, a recycled shipping container housing demonstration project, that served as the inspiration. B.C. Hydro donated it to Atira in 2010.
Atira worked closely with James Weldon, who then reached out to Frank Lo, who donated two shipping containers, with another eight being purchased from a broker at the Port of Vancouver.
The group then turned to Vos, who donated transportation of the cans to Richmond, provided the land on which the work was done, then sent the combined containers to Vancouver, where the rest of the construction work was completed.
“It was unbelievable that they are containers,” Vos said of last week’s unveiling. With an estimated 24 million empty shipping containers around the world, this project demonstrated the feasibility of this type of construction, and the potential benefit to society.
“It’s an answer to homelessness, it’s an answer to women’s shelters, making affordable housing, it’s an answer to the government’s problems.”
Vos credited Frank Lo’s “genius” in managing to demonstrate to skeptical Vancouver city staff who saw the proposal as little more than human warehousing.
“They wanted to get away from that. (Frank Lo) was able to convince council to give it a shot.”
The 12 self-contained units fit on a standard City of Vancouver lot of 25 feet by 119 feet, with six of the units rented out to older women, with another six provided at housing income limits of between $650 and $850 per month.
Both Coun. Bill McNulty, chair of the City of Richmond’s planning committee, and acting mayor Ken Johnston were generally impressed by what they saw and plan to direct city staff to research and report on the work done by the City of Vancouver.
“It’s actually quite attractive,” McNulty said. “I think it surprised people. They were very creative in their finished product. I guess if it means giving somebody a place (to live), you’ve got to start somewhere. I think because somebody’s already proven (that it works)I think it warrants careful consideration and exploration to get all the details that went into the project.
“And if it’s a Richmond company, that’s even better.”
Added Johnston: “It’s an interesting concept and it’s certainly worth looking at. It would help us with affordable housing.”
The City of Vancouver was so pleased and proud of the end result, they are now considering a second similar project for down the street, this one seven-storeys tall and with an elevator.
Since the project was revealed, Vos said he’s received calls from other cities inquiring about the unique affordable housing option, including in Northern B.C.