Star Ready To Move Homes Starts Work on Ducks Unlimited Canada Building Donation
Winnipeg, MB - In the next few weeks, Star Ready to Move (RTM) Homes will begin constructing a new RTM building that Qualico is donating to Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). Once completed, the new building will replace the current one located adjacent to the Harry J. Enns Wetland Discovery Centre at Oak Hammock Marsh.
“There has been a long-standing relationship between DUC and Qualico, so it made sense to reach out in regards to this particular project,” said Nathalie Bays, Manager, Harry J. Enns Wetland Discovery Centre.
The current building, which is mostly used for youth groups, is aging and in need of replacing. Once the new building has been moved to Oak Hammock Marsh, it will have more diverse uses.
“This new building will attract a whole new audience (in addition to youth group visits) and can now be used for meetings, workshops, cultural gatherings, private/public events, and more,” said Nathalie. “It is meant to be an inclusive building where guests can gather in a peaceful setting, away from the main interpretive centre.”
Star RTM Homes first began meeting with DUC to discuss the project in the fall of 2019 and to provide the organization with a few preliminary plans with some perspectives. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project somewhat throughout 2020, but plans started up again at the beginning of this year.
DUC will have general contractors working to prepare the site this fall and the new building will be delivered in the winter, when the marshy ground is solid and there will be less impact to the area. Any vegetation that will need to be removed will be replaced and the site will be enhanced overall after the move.
Jeff Meseman, Branch Manager, Star RTM Homes, said the RTM building is a unique structure designed with an open-plan interior and isn’t much different from other builds that Star RTM Homes constructs on a regular basis. However, there were some specific needs the company had to meet when it came to the building’s exterior.
“It was important that the exterior colours blend in with the environment and also kind of match the larger interpretive centre,” Jeff said. “We put window grills in the windows so that birds don’t fly into them, and the railings on the decks couldn’t be glass, just for the safety of the birds.”
The building will have a large multipurpose area, a kitchen, two restrooms, a storage area, and outdoor decking.
According to Nathalie, the new building will also be more environmentally friendly, as it will tie into the natural wastewater treatment lagoon system at Oak Hammock Marsh. The unique lagoon system was installed in 1992 and treats wastewater from the interpretive centre and other buildings at the marsh. It has three ‘cells’ that help to break down waste and clean the water used by staff and the approximately 100,000 people who visit the marsh each year.
Nathalie also said DUC could add solar power to the building in the future if the organization is able to raise enough funds to do so.
DUC is hoping to have the new building open to the public next spring.
The new building for DUC is certainly not the only project that Star RTM Homes’ 18 staff members have on the go. The team completes and moves more than 60 homes per year, and the past year and a half has been exceptionally busy, with more people purchasing cottages and buying homes due to the pandemic.
“We had a record fall last year for new sales,” said Jeff, “and it’s continued through the balance of this year. Even though we’ve had some challenges getting products to build the houses, we’ve still been able to maintain our build times.”
Many people choose RTM homes because they can be built offsite and delivered to rural areas, where there otherwise may not be trades and other resources to build onsite, according to Jeff. With many ‘snowbirds’ selling their properties in warmer climates and deciding to stay in Manitoba because of the pandemic, demand for family cottages has skyrocketed.
Luckily, Star RTM Homes is expanding its manufacturing facility compound to help meet the increasing demand now and into the future.
“We are going to go from over 40 building sites to 65 building sites,” Jeff said. “We had been thinking about doing it for a while, and it got so busy during the pandemic that we started talking more seriously about it this spring.”
The expansion is set to start in the coming weeks, once Star RTM Homes gets final permits from the City of Winnipeg.
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