For Gerry Clay, a chance to build custom aircraft hangars in Pitt Meadows is a personal passion project. Developers often approach a project purely from the perspective of return on investment (ROI), but for Clay, the Golden Ears Airpark project is a once-in-a-lifetime, perfect blend of his passion for building, his love of flying, and his respect for the local general aviation community.
Clay has wanted to fly planes since he can remember. “In summer 1979 I wasn’t quite 16, which meant I wasn’t quite old enough to drive. Off I would go, riding my bike from the north side of Port Coquitlam to the Pitt Meadows Airport. Back then the Pitt River bridge was an old, four-lane concrete structure — riding a bike across that thing was not a safe thing to do! Nevertheless, I did it. And quite regularly. I would sit at the fence, gaze at the airplanes landing and taking off and say to myself, ‘someday’.”
Fast forward 41 years to 2020 and all three of Clay’s kids are pilots. His daughter flies helicopters in northern Alberta, his eldest son flies the family’s Dehavilland Beaver on adventures to remote lakes, and his youngest son is teaching future pilots to fly at Langley Regional Airport. Clay obtained his own pilot’s license in the summer of 2006 and spent his first ten years as a pilot at the Langley Regional Airport.
In 2019, Clay moved his De Havilland Beaver float plane to Pitt Meadows Airport (YPK) so he could access their float plane ramp on the Fraser River. He was looking for a hangar for his own DHC2 -Beaver, and realized that there was an opportunity. In fact, there was a real scarcity of general aviation hangars in the greater Vancouver area, and he was not the only pilot looking to build a custom aircraft hangar at YPK. The rest, as they say, is history.
Clay got into construction because he has always wanted to build things; create something from nothing. “I would always marvel at the fact that one day there’s nothing there, and then eventually a building emerges. Once completed it changes people’s lives forever. They work, or live, or play in these buildings.” Clay believes in that feeling of accomplishment and the pride of saying to someone, “See that? I built that”, and standing by the quality of the build.
Reflecting on his thirty years of construction experience Clay says, “Every last detail and step of the way comes from my life of construction which began back in 1982 by answering an ad in the newspaper. Yes, that’s how you started your working life back then. And look where it took me. To this development. Who would have thought?” For Clay, a sense of personal ownership and responsibility for quality is important. “I take everything I build seriously, and this development being my design, my concept, my life…it means everything and I live and breathe it on the daily until it is done.”
Stop by the Sales Office to learn more from Gerry about the opportunity to own a custom hangar in BC’s beautiful lower mainland.