By Judy Reimche
Sep 28 2005
THE PENINSULA Sometimes the
best ideas are already out there.
"Why re-invent something
that's successful?" asked Ian Maxwell, owner of Ralmax Developments
Ltd. on Bay Street.
His remarks referred to the successful
reef ball project at the Bevan Pier in Sidney. When Reg Teeney and
John Bell, in cooperation with the Town of Sidney, planned the new
fishing pier, they commissioned the placement of reef balls along
its perimeter to rejuvenate the sea life near the shore.
project was so immediately successful that, in 1998, it was named
the best such project in the world by the international Reef Ball
Maxwell said he's been watching Sidney's
project with interest since 1997 and is now contemplating using reef
balls on all three of his industrial sites.
"It looked like a
good project for us. I own three pieces of waterfront - I want to
enhance that environment somehow," he said.
industry, people assume we're bad for the environment. I think we've
done a good job of cleaning up our properties. The Veins of Life
Watershed group has done good work along Victoria's waterfront, and
there is a neighbourhood group that has worked with us, too. We want
to build on that."
Maxwell's Ralmax Development Ltd.
operations include industrial sites at South Bay, Port Hope and
Ellice Point. Along with the gravel extraction business on Bay
Street, it operates Ellice Recycle Ltd., Dispose All Recycling Ltd.,
Eco Pro Systems Ltd. and Point Hope Maritime. Each of these
industries is involved with either vessel repair and refit,
recycling of industrial by-products or container rentals and
It's not just waterfront cleanup that attracts
Maxwell. Sitting in his Bay Street office, surrounded by paintings
depicting a more country lifestyle, he also talked about his other
interest. Since he was a boy, he has been going to Alberta in May
and October to work as a cowboy.
"I've always liked being
outdoors, and that's a good, healthy lifestyle," he said of his days
in the saddle, working with animals.
May and October are
times when cattle are moved from summer to winter ranges and back
again, and when calves are branded. Many ranches hire extra hands to
help with these more labour-intensive duties. Whether it's land or
sea, the feeling of connection to the environment is key to
"We're trying to add our little piece to it," he
said, with a shrug. "We're stewards of quite a bit of waterfront. I
think we're pretty good for the environment, working within our
So when he saw what people in Sidney were doing
in 1997, he hired a consultant to look into it. The consultant
talked to Teeney, but not much more happened. Now that Sidney's
project has an eight-year track record to look back on, Maxwell
feels it's time to move ahead with a project of his own.
thought that was brilliant, what they did," he said of Sidney's
project, which has included scuba divers and researchers to monitor
the return of the sea life, and the quality of that environment.
"What Reg and you guys (in Sidney) have accomplished is so
cool, tying it all together."
Any diving groups or marine
researchers who would like to be affiliated with the projects can
call Maxwell at 386-9411.