This week at their regular meeting, Kimberley City Council received a delegation describing a potential new business. The business name is Sullivan Machine Works, and the vision behind it belongs to two Kimberley-born men, Noah Wesche and Aaron Christensen.
Sullivan Machine Works already operates in Calgary, manufacturing components for many industries, including the aerospace and oil and gas sectors. It was incorporated in 2014.
The business needs room to expand and Wesche would like to bring it home to Kimberley. But they need a quite specific site, with room for shipping vehicles to turn around without disturbing residential areas. The require an available power infrastructure. They need a large lot with room for expansion and want to own it. And they are looking at relatively low costs for the land as it is one of the only economic advantages of doing business in Kimberley rather than elsewhere.
A piece of land that they feel could meet these needs is the Marysville Bench Land on Jim Ogilvie Way.
The presentation to Council talked about myths and misconceptions of modern manufacturing — that it’s noisy, environmentally damaging and an eyesore.
The facts are, Council was told, that this business would have zero emissions, minimal noise, no light pollution and environmentally inspired architecture.
Mayor Don McCormick says Sullivan Machine Works is exactly the type of high tech manufacturing that the City is trying to attract, and could potentially employ up to 20 people.
“It is fortunate that Noah and Aaron are from Kimberley and committed to having the business here, as others might not be as patient with several obstacles. These obstacles include suitable land for precision based manufacturing (non-clay base) that is zoned and serviced (investment ready); it also includes sufficient angel or venture investment to fund the project.”
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McCormick says that the bench land is the only land in Kimberley that is a candidate for what he calls “employment lands” besides the industrial land in Marysville.
He says that the other industrial land is not suitable for this particular business.
“They need land that is not clay based. They do precision work and there cannot be any movement.”
McCormick says it will likely take the City and SMW a couple of years to work through the planning process and be shovel ready.
“This type of business typically appears in clusters,” he said.”That is, more than one business of this type that complements the others. The first one is the hardest to get and I am thrilled that Sullivan Machine Works wants to be here.”