Vision 2012: Bamberton now
It may be that history repeats itself at Bamberton, where a century ago this year a boom in industry generated a self-sustaining community.
With the historic site's current developer, Three Point Properties, recently securing rezoning to allow for more industrial activity on the property, that could well be the case again.
"Bamberton might develop in a similar way to how it did 100 years ago, where the employment aspects of the site gave it its reason for being," development point-man Ross Tennant said. "Once the jobs were here, the people came to live here, and the schools and recreation facilities were established."
As it stands now, there are a handful of companies operating at the site, including timber-frame titans Macdonald & Lawrence — operating out of what used to be Bamberton's old carpentry building — and Ruskin Construction, the heavy marine infrastructure firm that's building the Mill Bay Marina and the new Johnson Street Bridge.
"We've also got some adventure tourism companies queueing up to come to the site, and recycling companies," Tennant said. "The rezoning gives us quite a bit more land to work with. The dilemma for us was that of the 1,563 acres of the site, only 60 or so were zoned as industrial, and of those 60 only 20 were really usable as industrial land. So we were essentially trying to support the 1,563-acre site on 20 acres."
Post-rezoning, however, gives the developers 270 acres to work with.
"It will make the economics of running the site a lot more viable," Tennant said.
"In the long-term, I think it would be wonderful if we could have all the things happening here that made Bamberton so unique and compelling — that live/work/play (community)," he added.
"It may be that history repeats itself on the site."