A look into what past Capilano University student Oliver Webbe is doing today
Annalisse Crosswell, Associate News Editor // Photo provided by Richelle Harper
When Oliver Webbe left Sechelt High School, he knew he would go on to be a part of the family construction business. Within two weeks of graduating Webbe was on a construction site, working during the day and gaining an education during the evenings. Before Webbe attended the Business Technology program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) he took several night classes at Capilano College that would not be offered at BCIT.
Now an owner of the family business, Darwin Construction, Webbe describes his time at Capilano College in 1999 and 2000. Much as CapU does today, Webbe says the school offered opportunities for North Vancouver high school graduates to transition into a post-secondary education affordably and locally. This made it a key spot for those who grew up in the surrounding area to attend. “I know that was a real appeal for most of my friends – that it was the perfect transition for kids on the shore,” said Webbe.
Community has clearly remained a priority for Webbe, who has lived in North Vancouver all his life and whose business is focused in North Vancouver. Webbe feels this is a source of pride not just for himself, but also his employees. “A lot of the people that work for Darwin live on the North Shore and I think they get a sense of pride in projects that are a part of their community,” he said.
Darwin is not only responsible for the current residence – and soon to be Innovation District if approved again – on Dollarton Highway, but also a number of other projects that benefit North Vancouver residents. The Dollarton Highway location has a space set up for the private daycare that was possibly going to be forced to close due to demand for classroom space at Dorothy Lynas Elementary. The day care, along with the preschool currently operating out of the same location, would transition into the proposed Innovation District with minimal disruption as CapU’s residence is set up, ensuring North Vancouver families need not go without childcare.
Of this positive business model Webbe said, “We kind of take the approach that if there’s a way we can help, we should.” Evidently true, given that the company is currently allowing residents to continue living at their property in Maplewood, which is slated for redevelopment. Though a corporate project, Webbe is also working on a few new foundations. He hopes to establish family centres across two or three of Darwin’s facilities and partner with the YWCA to provide housing for mothers and their children in North Vancouver.
Aside from a plethora of business endeavours, Webbe is also a father of two boys aged four and six. Family being his priority, he is heavily involved in their sports, coaching and supporting their teams. During their downtime, Webbe and his wife, whom he met in high school and attended Capilano College with prior to continuing his studies at Simon Fraser University, take their children to their property in Whistler. Webbe will also be running the New York Marathon this November as a result of the January bucket list he writes annually with his wife. With all of these personal and business endeavors at hand, it seems Webbe’s sense of community has not dulled since his days at Capilano.