Posts Tagged ‘BSide’

  1. TreeRover

    July 9, 2015 by Tessa Bousfield


    After our courageous firefighters have won the battle over the current wildfires in BC and the rain clouds finally bless us with some precipitation, the clean up and reforestation will commence in order to get BC’s beauty as close to pristine as possible.

    This got us thinking of the thousands of tree planters out there who work season after season, planting an average of 1600 trees a day. They lift a cumulative weight of over 2200lbs, bend more than 200 times per hour, drive the shovel into the ground more than 200 times per hour and travel over 16 kms with a heavy load, every day of the entire season. The reforestation industry has an average annual injury rate of approximately 22 claims per 100 workers, per year (1). It is often difficult and sometimes dangerous. But people have been doing this for centuries in order to give back to Mother Nature and make memories that last a lifetime.

    Buuuuuut it would probably be nice if there were robots to do all the labour, wouldn’t it?

    Well, there’s one that already exists and it was built right here in Victoria…


    Tyler Rhodes and Nick Birch, two third year UVic electrical engineering students, have built the TreeRover through their company Iota Enterprises.

    This first version of TreeRover moves between planting sites using a 4 wheeled electric drive platform. The planting process involves penetrating the earth with a pneumatic ram, opening a hole and releasing a seedling, then tamping down the soil surrounding the seedling to ensure it’s roots are covered. It’s kind of like an RC Car, on steroids (organic, of course).

    Yes, it still needs to be controlled by a human via remote control, but at least the back breaking work is eliminated.

    “Its mission is simple: Maintain our beautiful forests, one tree at a time, by combining exponential technologies with community involvement,” commented Rhodes. “With help from supporters we plan to build a much more advanced version of the TreeRover and plant trees more efficiently than ever before.”


    “The first goal is to produce a proof-of-concept prototype. It will be used to conduct a crowd funded tree planting campaign to raise money for technical upgrades,” commented Rhodes “Supporters of the campaign will be able to purchase a tree seedling which will be planted by the TreeRover. They will receive a video clip of their seedling being planted to share with friends.”

    The second and third versions of the TreeRover will be capable of traversing more difficult terrain, typical of replanting sites and will provide a cheap and efficient alternative to traditional hand planting methods.

    Hmmm maybe this group actually built phase one...

    Hmmm maybe this group actually built phase one…


    Rhodes and Birch both hold Diplomas in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology (Renewable Energy option) from Camosun College and are currently working through the Electrical Engineering degree program at UVic. Two co-op work terms in the marine and forest technology fields have provided them with valuable experience in technical environments.

    “Growing up in BC, we have both spent a lot of time in the outdoors. We have always wanted to put our education to use by helping to preserve the environment. Tree planting is an extremely labour intensive process and if it could be automated there is potential for huge improvements. We did some research and found that there is a serious need to increase reforestation rates. Future models of the TreeRover could outperform traditional planting methods and help significantly with reforestation efforts.”

    In addition to being inspired by Camosun College faculty members, some of their motivation has come from local company, FTS (Forest Technology Systems). FTS builds and maintains equipment for environmental monitoring and remote data collection and plays an important role in the prevention of forest fires. “Their dedication to protecting the environment through the use of technology is something we find admirable.”

    You can check out their project at and follow them on Facebook. Stay tuned for a crowdfunding campaign scheduled for the end of the summer! You can also donate to their project right now, right here!

    Where the magic happens

    Where the magic happens


    1: “Preventing Tree Planting Injuries” (PDF). Work Safe BC. Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia. 2006.

  2. ART ATELIER 546

    April 16, 2015 by Tessa Bousfield



    Art Atelier is taking shape at 546 Yates Street (Two doors up from Ferris’ Oyster Bar), and it’s opening to the public this Saturday, April 18th at 7pm with a free event Victoria residents and visitors will love…

    Victoria: Past, Present and Future will celebrate Victoria as seen through the eyes of over 20 of Victoria’s top Fine Art photographers through over 100 images. This is an extensive photography exhibit that plans on evoking emotional connections, nostalgic memories and shared experiences. The community can get involved by voting for the Viewers’ Choice Award up until the end of the show on May 22nd.


    The owners, artist Guillermo Mier and photographer Laurie June, are thrilled to add Art Atelier 546 to Victoria’s rich art culture. It will include a working studio space (“Atelier” means “workshop” in French), with alternating exhibits in multiple medias featuring Canadian and international Fine Art and photography. The gallery is also equipped with a projector and sound system, allowing them to host art films, presentations and talks that are current and intriguing, adding another vibrant touch to Victoria’s unique downtown.



    Laurie and Guillermo crossed paths in 2013, got married and started collaborating on multiple pop-up art galleries before finally opening something permanent.

    Guillermo Mier’s artistic background consists of working with texture and pigments over wood panels. Each panel goes through several stages of preparation and he uses Canadian Birch mainly, primed with shellac several times. Guillermo picked up a talent for art at an early age in Chile and travelled to Brazil and Spain before heading to Canada 22 years ago. He spent a few years in the Yukon before finding his home on Vancouver Island.

    Laurie studies photography, art history and cello. Travelling the world and raising five children gave her the inspiration she needed to take the leap towards professional photography. She has a background in film and digital photography.

    “Everyone and everything in Victoria inspires us,” commented Laurie. “We love walking around downtown day and night and are constantly observing people, buildings, and the general downtown landscape. The city intrigues, amuses, inspires us.”

    Getting ready for the unveiling at 546 Yates Street.

    Getting ready for the unveiling at 546 Yates Street.



    “The purpose [of the event] is to showcase new and unknown talent. We want people to know to expect interesting and intelligent art in many mediums,” commented Laurie. “Victoria is an evolving city, especially downtown. We need to articulate what is important to us about Victoria. For example, The Johnson Street Bridge project… Images of the blue bridge will be archived at the first show along with street scenes, shipyards, marinas and architecture.”

    Sponsored by Phillips Brewery and GMC Projects Inc, the opening night will have the room bustling full of photographers, artists, art lovers, buyers and the media. It runs from 7pm to 10pm, open to all ages, and light snacks and refreshments provided.

    List of participating Photographers:

    • Lis Bailly
    • Trevor Ball
    • Neil Boyle
    • Quinn Campbell
    • Doug Clement
    • Adam Colborne
    • Dan Eastabrook
    • Lloyd Houghton
    • Benoit Jansen-Reynaud
    • Mark Law
    • Evan Leeson
    • Anne Lei-Yeung So
    • Dom Leong
    • Kevin Lintern
    • Cim Mac Donald
    • Donna Robertson
    • Geoff Robson
    • Eileen Seto
    • Brennan Storr
    • Caprina Valentine
    • Adrian Wheeler
    • Terry Zlot


    March 6, 2015 by Tessa Bousfield




    Jeff Zamluk is becoming a “regular” on the B-Side. We may just put his name on one of Fort Tectoria’s orange bar stools and call it a day…

    You may have heard of Jeff when we raved about Lochside Bikes last summer. Well, Jeff Zamluk has been proving the title “entrepreneur” true with his emerging brand, Cascadia Board Co.


    Cascadia Boards are Island-designed, hand-made and showcase a slice of West Coast life. They come in the form of skim boards, wakeboards, surf boards and stand up paddleboards (SUPs). The cedar SUPs (available this Spring), are extremely unique as they’re made entirely of reclaimed and foraged cedar and are 98% free of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which Zamluk believes is the first for any paddleboard company. They even have a crab trap tie-down on them!

    The wood comes from anywhere on Vancouver Island. The first run of boards was built with reclaimed lumber from a disassembled bridge in Port Renfrew, BC, as well as fallen cedars found at beaches and forests. As a result, no two boards are exactly the same, making them an even hotter commodity.

    The SUP is handmade by local master craftsman Chet Frost in conjunction with a well known Maui shaper. The board starts with an original hollow-core, cedar strip and is then cloth-laminated. “We’re super excited to be introducing a high performing, environmentally-sensitive board,” commented Zamluk. “Truly a lifetime-use board that respects the land and shores it comes from.”


    This isn’t Zamluk’s first swell. “Swell Source” is the designing and manufacturing parent company behind Cascadia and also behind his first brands, Zed Skimboards and Forbidden Snowboards.

    As a way to bring the watersport community together and get his brands off the ground and into the water, “Island Skim Sessions” was created over 15 years ago. “In the beginning, skimboarding was sort of a cult, everyone knew everyone and it was super close knit,” reminisced Zamluk. “If you saw another skimmer on the beach, you’d go up, say hello and skim for a few hours. The Island Skim Sessions was a coming together of these people and their friends to celebrate skimboarding. Once it grew, we used it as a platform to expand to the mainstream having media and community members attend, as well as incorporating demos to get those who’ve never skimmed, on a board. Almost 15 years later and some of my best friends are people that I met through these events.”.


    The formation of Cascadia Board Co. is a result of a full-blooded entrepreneur, his knowledge of past watersport brands and his strong passion for the water itself. He built his first skimboard at the age of 13 when he saw a group using them on the beach and he wanted in. When he couldn’t find a shop that sold them, he learned how to build his own. The first time he brought one to the beach, he received two offers to buy his custom board, right there on the beach. So he sold it, built another one, and the cycle repeated.

    With Zamluk’s father starting one of the first craft breweries in BC in the 80s called “TUG,” he saw first-hand the rewards that came with self-led success and the issues with self-led failure.

    “Starting in junior high, I realized that the traditional educational system is not where I learned best, so I took different routes to educate myself through co-ops, friends, family and mentors,” explained Zamluk. “This experience led me to believe at a young age that I didn’t want to live a traditional life laid out by career counselors, media and teachers.”

    His mother, on the other hand, was more of a traditionalist so she encouraged her son to attend college for a few years. Zamluk says “mothers know best” and although he didn’t get much out of his years attending classes, he thinks it assisted him into becoming a more critical and observant thinker.


    Cascadia Board Co. now uses upwards of 30 very talented subcontractors; Everything from shaping and design, to materials engineering, sales and shipping. Having such specialized professionals work on Cascadia products makes for a lot of experience and education in one board. “Working in the factory is great because you get to work one-on-one with the other board designers and use the world’s most cutting-edge materials and tools that change so quickly!”

    With Swell Source, Zamluk also works on many contract manufacturing projects for lifestyle oriented brands such as action sports and liquor companies. This is about 50% of their overall business. Unfortunately Zamluk has his lips sealed on these project details as they’re currently being built. But we’re sure we’ll see him on here again very soon.

    With Cascadia products available for sale on and at Ocean River Sports, HTO and Pacifica Paddle Sports… the future looks promising. Cascadia is constantly innovating and looking where they can go next. This summer they’re developing a touring shaped inflatable paddle board and expanding their skimboard line.

    “Myself and the people that are involved with Cascadia are #addictedtowater,” commented Zamluk. “Catch a wave on the West Coast, spend a day at the beach, crack a beer wakesurfing, catch grabs on a SUP and go free-diving to spear a lingcod, and I’d bet you’d be addicted to the water too.”