Spani Developments

  • construction

Spani Developments owner Doug Spani at one of their current job sites.Spani Developments owner Doug Spani at one of their current job sites. Photo by Cathie Roy.

Doug Spani is a master in his class. If you look around the Sunshine Coast from Powell River to Langdale his company, Spani Developments, has its mark everywhere.

A stranger to the limelight, Doug prefers to credit his amazing workers for the success of the business.

“You’re only ever as good as your staff. People don’t work for you, they work with you,” he shared.

Doug got his start working for his father’s company in Coquitlam when he was a teenager.

“I had a split shift in high school. Dad would come and get me and I’d go and help with whatever project he was working on. That’s the way our family was. Everybody went to work, we enjoyed it,” he explained.

And while he loved working with his dad when an opportunity came to move to Powell River in the early 1980s and help expand the Upper Sunshine Coast community, he jumped at it. Jobs there included working with the Sliammon First Nation building homes, sewer contracts and constructing spec homes.

“In 1982 right before the interest rates went out of sight we had a short development on released Crown land. There were 16 five-acre lots that had to be sold at a fixed rate as part of the agreement with the province. The price ended up being $22,500 and we sold them all in one day,” he reminisced.

While there the family bought a farm but Doug realized fairly soon that it wasn’t the life for him. The local mill was downsizing at the time and he decided to come to the Lower Coast.

It was a tough time in the province, soaring interest rates caused people to hold off on building. However a good reputation for quality work kept Spani Developments in the black.

Over the years the company has built a reputation for being able to construct in challenging areas as well as at home.

“We do remote work, Powell River, Vancouver Island and Bella Bella are some of the places we’ve worked at. We’ve built on small islands where the only access is by water. The owners don’t want any evidence of man at all. That means taking in the equipment and materials on barges. We have to work out the tide schedules, the crew and all the other details such as first aid, if necessary, for the team,” Doug said.

His footprint on the Coast looms large. The company provided the concrete and other work for the hospital expansion, as well as building the heliport.

“We did the foundation and some of the finishing work on the court house, the clubhouse at the Sechelt golf course, London Drugs. We rebuilt the IGA Mall (in Gibsons) storefronts. And the Credit Union building in Gibsons is ours,” Doug said.

In addition many homes have the Spani brand. Right now the big project is the early education building on the Sechelt Band Land. The completion is scheduled for this summer.

“If there’s an earthquake, that’s the building you want to be in,” Doug joked.

He’s proud of his profession and the contributions it makes to the Sunshine Coast.

“We have a lot of talent here. The local people, sub contractors are all very good at what they do. There are cabinetmakers, design people, flooring providers. We work with all of them. They’re great people,” he said.

“When you love what you do why would you ever want to quit?”

What keeps him here after all these years?

“No question it’s the quality of life. We could probably be a lot bigger if we were in the Lower Mainland but then we’d be passing up all of this,” he said pointing to the natural beauty outside his office building.

He has no plans to retire any time soon.

“When you love what you do why would you ever want to quit?”

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