Cedar Corner in Tofino

Cedar Corner in Tofino

by Jenn Dart, Tofino


It may seem like the construction on Cedar Corner, at the corner of Fourth and Campbell Sts. in Tofino has been ongoing for quite some time.

The prospect of the Tofino Brew House has had many of us gazing longingly at the unfinished building all summer. What we may not realise, however, is that the scope of this project extends far beyond that of good beer and good food.

The developers of this building, Tofino Community Investments, and its project manager, James Rodgers, are aiming to create an environmentally unique structure — from the construction of the building to the operation of the businesses within it. The developers are made up mostly of locals who aspire to unify environmental values with sound business principles. Their philosophy is that of the Triple Bottom Line, which maintains that the classic financial bottom line is insufficient as a measure of a successful business, but rather that profit is interconnected with the community and the environment. In other words, one cannot come at the expense of another. If the project achieves its goals, it will only be the 18th structure in the world that meets the leed (Leader in Energy and Environmental Design) gold standards for 'green' buildings. This organisation's system of awarding bronze, silver and gold ratings is to construction what organic requirements are to food production. And because Cedar Corner houses a restaurant and Brew House, this achievement will be more significant, as no restaurant has ever held above a bronze rating.

The challenge in creating a sustainable building such as this one lies in achieving environmental goals affordably. And it seems as if employing these methods will actually be cost saving in the long run. Starting will be the actual building material – the wood used to construct Cedar Corner is all re-used and salvaged wood from various sources, including a old cannery dating back to 1881. The concrete is partially made up of fly ash (a by-product of coal) which releases fewer co2 emissions, and all the materials used during construction are free of harmful chemicals. Energy efficient systems within the building include solar-heated water, subterranean cisterns to catch rainwater and pump it back through the sanitation system, an air-heat recovery system which includes the Kyoto (as dubbed by the crew) kitchen fan, designed to retain as much heat as possible thereby using less energy. All of these innovative systems will be integrated and monitored to ensure minimal energy, water, and material wastage.

The integration of the building's unique systems is only part of the picture though. Project manager James Rodgers also envisions a business that caters to both locals and visitors by offering choices in dining experiences – The Brew House and the Wild Fish Restaurant (there will also be an organic deli style market in the building, like the one once on this site). The building itself will also fuse into the surrounding environment, with the outside deck (a patio!) enclosing and protecting two old cedars as well as the topsoil on the property.

Hailing originally from Barrie, Ontario, Jenn Dart has called Tofino home for the last 3 years. She likes satin sheets and long shifts at the Wick.

tofino cedar corner

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