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Massive Moves follows house's journey to Royston

After traversing surf and turf on a trans-island journey, a Victoria home arrived safely at its Comox Valley destination Thursday.
A LARGE CROWD watches as a sizable house arrives at Royston by barge.

After traversing surf and turf on a trans-island journey, a Victoria home arrived safely at its Comox Valley destination Thursday morning.Much to the delight of its new owners — an out-of-town couple — the operation went swiftly and smoothly, and the house’s foundation will be raised by mid-June at its new home in Royston.The barge carrying the structure was greeted by 75 to 80 onlookers Wednesday night, and received similar attention between 9 and 11 a.m. the next day as the house made its way to a lot near the Old Island Highway.Among Thursday’s spectators was a local woman whose grandfather built the house in 1904. The building was renovated 25 years later, and the property on which it was originally constructed was recently purchased by a developer with plans to build a new home in its place.Although it was slated for demolition, the couple fell promptly in love with the character house and acted fast to save their future residence. Once the developer contacted Nickel Brothers, an innovative structural moving company, the couple selected a suitable lot in Royston to which the house could be relocated before its scheduled annihilation.“Dedicated to saving houses slated for demolition,” Nickel Brothers immediately recognized the project as appropriate subject material for Massive Moves. Once Nickel contacted the TV show, which chronicles large-scale moves during half-hour programs aired on DYI Network and HGTV Canada, Massive Moves agreed to film and feature the event in an episode about six months down the road.This is not the first gargantuan transport project Nickel Brothers has been a part of. In fact, monstrous moves are Nickel Brothers’ specialty.In business since 1956, Seattle representative Jeff McCord describes the company as an “adoption agency for houses,” which has locations in Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Seattle, Port Townsend, and the San Juan Islands.“There’s definitely a much greater awareness of the concept of house moving as a creative way of keeping things out of the landfills,” says McCord. He notes that each salvaged house saves “about 40 to 60 tons of waste from going into a landfill.” The couple’s realtor, Comox Valley Re/Max agent Ryan Williams, helped the couple make septic installation and financing arrangements for the new property. He also explained the numerous challenges overcome to make the move possible.“Due to the height of the house,” he said, “they had to find a vacant lot that was a short distance from a proper landing site for the barge that is moving the house; otherwise the expenses to BC Hydro would have been too significant."The vacant lot had to be large enough to accommodate that size of house. The timeline to move the house was limited to precise days for the highest possible tides. The house had to be purchased and moved off the Victoria lot by a certain date or it would have been demolished."It was amazing to see it all come together.”