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TALKING WITH TESS

HEART & HOME Building a better tomorrow one house at a time by Tess van Straaten photos by DON DENTON

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tanding on a rocky outcropping overlooking the brilliant blue water and pristine shoreline, it’s easy to see why developer David Butterfield fell in love with the area now called Spirit Bay, just west of Victoria. “I really was retired when I came here, but it’s such a stunning place and such a perfect place to build a new town, it was hard to say no to this opportunity,” Butterfield says from the sprawling oceanfront deck of the Spirit Bay sales office and welcome centre in Metchosin. Marketed as “the evolution of enlightened home ownership,” the 100-acre development on Sc’ianew (Cheanuh) First Nation land will see 450 homes and a town centre, some industrial land and a $50 million resort and spa that will be the economic driver for the community. “A big part of sustainability is jobs, so the spa will be key because it will create 200 jobs,” explains Butterfield, who grew up in the United States and has dual citizenship. For the last three decades, sustainability — and sustainable development — have been Butterfield’s passion. In 1989, he formed the Trust for Sustainable Development, a not-for-profit corporation devoted to the principles of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable building. “The question for me is how do we settle as human beings in a way that we enhance the ecosystem and provide for our

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economic future in a socially responsible manner?” the 68-yearold asks. “Right now, we’re in the phase of ‘I want to do less bad as a society’ instead of being good. We have to face the fact that we’re doing a lot of damage.” Spirit Bay is the third town Butterfield will have built. The first, Civano, was created in Tuscon, Arizona, in the 1990s. It was named one of the most sustainable developments in North America. In 2003, Butterfield began work on the continent’s largest sustainable development, the new town of Loreto Bay in Baja, Mexico. Its unique goal was to create more potable water than it used, more renewable energy than it consumed and to improve the ecosystem. It also helped alleviate poverty in Central Baja. Butterfield was also behind the ambitious re-development of Shoal Point at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. The environmentally advanced mixed-use project, which transformed a contaminated and largely derelict site, has won numerous awards including best building in Canada. “Everybody knows there’s a better way to develop but very few people are doing it,” Butterfield says. “It’s surprising how little impact the sustainability movement has had on real estate development.” At Spirit Bay, pipes run under the roadway to heat the homes plus the entire development with water from the ocean.

Profile for Boulevard Magazine

Boulevard Magazine - August / September 2016 Issue  

Boulevard Magazine is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Vancouver Island by focusing on the Arts, People, Tr...

Boulevard Magazine - August / September 2016 Issue  

Boulevard Magazine is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Vancouver Island by focusing on the Arts, People, Tr...

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