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first and they have become a distribution system. They get the word out through their family connections and networks. Now we have 15 First Nations employees, including two red seal journeymen who did their apprenticeship here and four apprentices. We have a steering committee and a job coach. Salish Sea industrial Services does piling and dredging and it is owned 51 percent by the two First Nations and 49 percent by Ralmax.

Kevin Light/Kevin Light Photo

Catherine: Where to from here? Ian: We have no plans to expand. I hope no more good-fit deals come through the front door. We are focused on improving our shipyard lands and our contracting. We take a long-term view and react to opportunities. There is no grand scheme.

Industrial activity is part of a much bigger eco-system. At Point Hope we support 650 other companies! How many jobs is that? — Ian Maxwell

Catherine: So if there is no grand plan, are you surprised to find yourself with this large successful business? Ian: It’s been an evolution. I have a grade ten education. I wanted to drive a truck but there was either a lot of work or no work and I had responsibilities and an interest in business. So I renovated houses and was in a comfortable financial position when I was in my thirties—so I retired. But it wasn’t satisfying. I wanted to be part of the community. Victoria is my community. Ralmax grew from the construction company.

Lunch meeting just got palatable. Fast and fabulous lunch fare at Market on Yates.

Catherine: When you say Victoria is your community, were you born here? Ian: I was born at the corner of Hillside and Quadra in the back of a taxi. My dad was from Jamaica and my mom is from Victoria. I’ve spent my whole life here except for one year in the West Indies. I grew up one and half miles from where I live now. There were dairy farms in the area then. My dad liked farming and farm equipment. My mum was the original recycler and organic gardener. We had seven garbage cans in the kitchen— different things were used different places. She’s 91 now and still gets out into her garden every day. Catherine: What is your vision for your community—especially the harbour? You are getting more surrounded by residential development. Ian: Victoria harbour is a strategic asset and there must be opportunities for everyone to co-exist—residential, industrial and recreational. One of my fears, however, is that the lands are so desirable for residential development that it’s easy to lose sight of how valuable the lands are to the long-term sustainability of the community as job-creating lands. Once they are gone as job-creating lands, they are gone forever. The BC government should create a Job Creating Land Bank similar to the Agricultural Land Reserve with an impartial board deciding on land use. They can start with our lands. There should also be an Act like the Right to Farm Act that is the Right to do Business Act. This would stop three or four people from thinking they can gather names on a petition and stop a business. They should absolutely complain if something is wrong and they should make a suggestion if something could be fixed or improved. But they shouldn’t think they can stop something that was going before they arrived in the neighbourhood. Industrial activity is part of a much bigger eco-system. At Point Hope we support 650 other companies! How many jobs is that?

Swe et!

Catherine: What’s the next step?

Ian: We have a fabulous group of people with a passion for what we do and we want this to be a legacy for the community.



903 Yates At Quadra | 250.381.6000 7 am - 11 pm 125-2401 C Millstream Road | 250.391.1110 8 am - 11 pm


And I want to be part of completing the David Foster Walkway by bringing it up this end of the harbour. We planned a walkway about ten or fifteen years ago that would wind through places like Canoe and Capital Iron with viewpoints for watching the cement trucks being loaded and the crushers working and the asphalt plant operate. The path can wind through pubs, boutiques and industry. Shrubs and trees and waterfront can get boring.

Profile for Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Business Matters November 2017  

Business Matters November 2017