In November of 2012, Ken Thiessen and I had the opportunity to visit the Sendai area of Japan that was heavily damaged from the 2011 Tsunami. The devastation was overwhelming, both the physical size of the area and the extent which people lives were forever changed. In the traditional Japanese way, families that had lived on the same land for generations had their entire history, wealth and sometimes their lives wiped out in an instant. It was very humbling to stand on the site and imagine the horror they must have felt and to see the resulting impact of the tsunami. We stood in one area and for miles around all you could see were roads and foundations of houses with a few surviving skeletons of homes. Prior to March of 2011 the area was a bustling suburb with the roof eaves practically touching between houses.

The site was still being cleaned up and the plans were to raise the entire area by 4 meters. It will be a massive undertaking as I can’t even estimate the volume required to fill up all those square miles of real estate. Very close to the ocean there is a series of cannels that at one time hosted a fishing fleet and an accompanying fresh market place. This market called Yuriage was once the largest fish/farmers market in Tohoku before the tsunami.

With financial contributions from the Government of Canada and the BC Government Canada Wood, of which Pacific Homes is involved through its BC Wood membership, to re-establish the market and start to rebuild the livelihood of the local citizens. Pacific Homes partnered with Selco Home to provide 2 structures that will be part of the market place. Selco is a well respected residential home builder based in the Sendai and as such will be instrumental in the re-building of the entire community. Two containers of prefabricated walls and rafter systems made with Japanese grade lumber and OSB were sent from our Cobble Hill plant just before Christmas. The buildings were erected in February and March along with a Glulaminated Beam based building to be used as a communal meeting place which was provided by Structurlam, another BC Wood company. There is a planned grand opening for early May 2013.

Pacific Homes was very pleased to be involved with this project and was glad to have donated a portion of the costs to help with this humanitarian effort that brought together our two countries.

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