Richard Eadie in his woodworking shop below the intersection of Store and Discovery streets. Eadie has to vacate the industrial shed by Dec. 1.

The end of an era

"It is sad to be leaving, but this city's been good to me," says carpenter Richard Eadie

Richard Eadie works out of a former sawdust hopper on the fringes of Rock Bay’s industrial district, its fading red exterior belying the carpenter’s playground inside.

Every router bit, saw blade and chisel that’s earned Eadie a living in the commercial cabinetry business for the past decade is being sold before the structure is bulldozed to make way for a wider road.

“I’m moving to Tofino,” says the 60-year-old, nursing a bottle of pale ale. “Maybe I’ll build little boxes for tourists.”

Capital Iron patriarch Ron Green, who owns the shed and surrounding Upper Harbour property, says he has no choice but to “rearrange the driveway” so that larger trucks can more easily access the loading space below.

Its tenants, Eadie and a local kayak company, have until Dec. 1 to close up shop.

“I’ve been working since I was 13,” Eadie says between bartering sessions with a steady flow of tradespeople and hobbyists. “Semi-retirement sounds OK.”

Out front, a contractor drops the final orphan pieces of salvageable lumber into the bed of a pickup truck.

“That’s a steal for $200,” the man says. “Got any more hiding in here?”

While Eadie won’t disclose specifics, he says he pays less than a third of the going market rate for industrial-zoned work space in Victoria.

“This was cheap and affordable. You can’t say that much around here.”

The road widening is the only immediate plan Green has for the site, which comprises heavy industrial storage, a loading bay and garden works area for Capital Iron. The property also links directly to the Upper Harbour.

“I don’t think that space will be anything but heavy industrial for a long time,” Green says.

Back inside, Eadie sits cross-legged on a stool and savours a cigarette while a beaten electric heater hums at his feet.

“It is sad to be leaving, but this city’s been good to me,” he says.

Drop by Eadie’s workshop (below the intersection of Store and Discovery streets) during business hours until Dec. 1 to browse his depleting inventory.

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