Pictured, left to right: Darren Brewer (City of Cranbrook), Bill Bennett (Bill Bennett Consulting), Councillor Ron Popoff, Mayor Lee Pratt, Councillor John Hudak, Josh Power, Peak Industries.

Pictured, left to right: Darren Brewer (City of Cranbrook), Bill Bennett (Bill Bennett Consulting), Councillor Ron Popoff, Mayor Lee Pratt, Councillor John Hudak, Josh Power, Peak Industries.

Economic activity picking up on Peak Industrial lands

Finger joint mill has begun production, while multiple companies are initiating or expanding operations.

The future of the city’s industrial lands in Cranbrook is coming into focus.

Purchased by Peak Industries last fall for $6 million, the company has revamped operations with the finger joint mill, which is now back up and running, while other parcels of the 100-acre property are being leased by multiple companies for a wide range of business operations and production.

Local elected officials, along with Peak representatives — including owner Brian Fehr — celebrated the announcement during an event on Wednesday morning, as the finger joint plant equipment hummed in operation in the background.

“Very, very, very excited to be a big part of your valley,” said Fehr, a successful entrepreneur who has spent a lifetime in the forestry and manufacturing sectors. “And always, as long as I’m alive, it’ll be about jobs. I believe that some people have a gift and mine is making jobs for people, so really, really proud to be a part of that.”

The newly restarted finger joint plant, formerly operated by C&C Wood Products before the company went bankrupt, currently employs 23 workers and plans are in the works to add a second shift that would add 15 more employees.

The plant manufactures finger joint studs (2×4, 2×6, 2×3) for shipment to Texas, with production at 50,000 board-foot per week. However, the Texas market is ‘insatiable’ and the second shift will ramp up production to 200,000 board-foot per week.

Fehr, who is personally moving to the area, also started a new logging company — Peak Logging — recently spending $2.4 million on equipment, with plans to conduct logging operations in the region.

In addition to the finger joint plan, Steel River Group is leasing land at the north end of the property, and was recently awarded a contract relating to natural gas pipelines in the area owned by FortisBC and TC Energy.

The contract is expected to provide jobs for several years, and Steel River Group is in talks for a long-term arrangement at the industrial property.

Applied Compression, a local company that sells high-end compression equipment, is in preliminary talks to locate permanently on the land, and is currently utilizing the old Tembec shop facility on the southwest corner of the property.

Applied Compression was recently acquired by Xebec Industries and employs 23 in Cranbrook, one in Invermere and three in Calgary.

Glen Transport is also on site, leasing land from Peak Industrial for parking trucks and trailers, and are in discussions for a longer-term relationship.

Fehr told the crowd of dignitaries that he envisions the industrial property will attract and sustain between 200-300 jobs in the future.

Economic activity picking up

Peak Industrial purchased the property last November, after the city had taken ownership in 2018, with plans for development.

Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt said the city was excited about the vision for the property when it originally purchased the land from Tembec three years ago, however, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into budget talks for future development.

“We decided we didn’t really have the resources, the staff and the money to continue the development of it,” said Pratt. “So we decided to sell it and and lucky for us, Brian Fehr stepped up …

“Brian has the same vision that I had and the council had for the development of this, with the jobs and the industries, so it was a good choice for us to partner up with him.”

Bill Bennett, a former MLA representing the East Kootenay, is working as a consultant to Peak Industries. He lauded the city’s efforts to prepare the land for business and entrepreneurial opportunities.

“It was set up for us to move in,” said Bennett. “We wouldn’t be where we are today if the city hadn’t positioned us this way, so it’s been a real good partnership.”

Bennett said Fehr has an entrepreneurial spirit, having acquired the Canal Flats mill, the Galloway mill, the Cranbrook mill site, along with other properties around the province and into the United States.

“I think you can look for more things from Brian and it won’t all be forestry,” Bennett said. “Some of it’s going to be high-tech; he has bit-coin being produced in Canal Flats today, so you’re going to see things like that, you could easily see some sort of green energy project on this site, that’s something else he’s quite interested in. It’s a story that isn’t over yet.”

Fehr also announced he is purchasing a significant 2,200-acre parcel of property located east of Cranbrook.

“Bill Bennett told me to run as far and as fast away from that as I could, so I bought it,” Fehr joked. “I’ve talked to Lee Pratt about it and we look forward to figuring out how to do something cool with the city there.”



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

While pharmacies across B.C. are using AstraZeneca for public immunizations for people 40 years of age and older, there is no availability currently in the Kootenays. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
No AstraZeneca vaccine availability in Kootenay pharmacies, says Interior Health

Vaccine has been opened up at pharmacies in other areas of the province to people 40 years of age and older

Dan May, a new resident to Kimberley, had two trailers on his property vandalized, but the outpouring of support from the community helped turn a negative situation into a positive. Photo submitted.
“I’m not Bill” – new Kimberley family’s trailers vandalized

Community rallies after concession trailer vandalized

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok. Bulletin file
Kimberley, Golden unlikely to get mass vaccination clinics: MLA Clovechok

Kimberley has 17 active cases as of Tuesday, April 20; Golden 7

CBAL Kimberley is offering a number of programs in the coming weeks.
CBAL Kimberley is offering a number of programs in the coming weeks

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy in Kimberley continues to offer programs… Continue reading

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Police road checks are coming for people travelling between regions while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. clarifies COVID-19 travel restrictions, Lower Mainland a single zone

Vehicle checks on highways, at ferry terminals to start Friday

Most Read