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Posted: March 3, 2021

Peak Industries tapping industrial land potential

The long untapped potential of Cranbrook’s rail-side industrial lands can be considered tapped.

Initial subdivision and development plans through Peak Industries are in the works for the industrial lands off Theatre Road in Cranbrook, which are already showing plenty of potential for investment and business growth opportunities.

The finger joint plant has been revamped and is now producing finger joint studs for shipment to the U.S., with 23 full time workers and a second shift of 15 more workers set to begin shortly. The market for these materials is strong and the company can sell as much as they are able to produce.

Peak Industries purchased the former Tembec industrial lands from the City of Cranbrook in November 2020.

“I am grateful to now own this great piece of land and intend to put more businesses on it over the next few years,” said Brian Fehr, Peak Industries’ Chair. “Our finger joint mill is already successful, and our four tenants are employing dozens of local people with good jobs. I am really happy to now be a full-time resident of the Cranbrook area.”

Josh Power, Peak Properties’ Project Manager added, “Having only been here for three months, we’re really excited about the companies we’ve got on site today and look forward to continuing conversations with some great potential additions. There’s no doubt that this industrial park has the potential to bring a lot of good jobs to Cranbrook, something we know Brian is really passionate about.”

Speaking to a small ribbon-cutting gathering outside Peaks’ finger joint mill in Cranbrook this morning, Fehr, originally from Vanderhoof said, “We are very excited to be a big part of the valley.”

He noted his company’s relationship with the city has been positive and fruitful from the outset.

“Lee (Mayor Pratt) was awesome to deal with” and the approximate 100-acre property “was set up for us to move in.”

And now “we have got a bunch of land here we want to develop,” Fehr said, suggesting as many as 300 jobs could be established on the property.

Former long time local MLA and BC Cabinet Minister Bill Bennett, right, now with Peak Industries, speaks to the potential of the large tract of industrial land behind him as Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt listens.

“I have known Brian Fehr for many years. He is a true entrepreneur, and he wants to see this choice industrial land responsibly developed,” said Bill Bennett, of Bill Bennett Consulting Inc./Peak Industries. “I hope anyone who is interested in prime industrial land will call us. There is still land available.”

Two additional companies are currently leasing space on the site including the Steel River Group, a pipeline company servicing pipelines in the area for FortisBC and Trans Canada and Applied Compression, a local company employing 20 people which manufactures compression fittings that are shipped all over North America, is also leasing space.

Both Glen Transport and FB Logging are also leasing space at the site.

“To see the activity taking place on site is exciting, in that we see growing potential for new, good paying jobs for our residents, new tax dollars, new growth and great economic development opportunities for Cranbrook,” said Mayor Lee Pratt. “I want to thank Brian and Peak Renewables for their vision for this important piece of industrial land and look forward to continuing to help them realize their goals.”

Plans are in place to learn what potential users of this industrial land require and then design the subdivision of the property, including lots size and shape, to meet those needs. Several local and out-of-town businesses and investors have already been in early discussions with Peak Industries about locating on the site. Those discussions are continuing.

The finger joint mill constructed by Tembec more than a decade ago has been revamped and is now producing finger joint studs (2×6; 2×4; 2×3) for shipment to Texas. Currently, the plant is producing approximately 50,000 fbm (one truck) per week.

“The market in Texas is insatiable so we are going to a second shift, which will mean 200,000 fbm per week (4 trucks going to Texas) and additional 15 jobs,” Bennett said.

The wood comes from the planer mill at Canfor Elko sawmill.

Steel River Group is a pipeline service company, a first nations company, working on natural gas pipelines owned by Trans Canada and Fortis. The company leases land at the north end of the Peak Industries site and Peak is in discussions about a long-term arrangement for Steel River.

Applied Compression is a successful local company that has been building and selling high end compression equipment and parts across Canada for several years.

Recently, the company was purchased by a Quebec-based public company, Xebec Industries.

Xebec has directed Applied Compression under the leadership of Mike Sondermann to manufacture and fabricate equipment and parts not only in its existing facility in the Cranbrook Industrial Park, but in the old Tembec shop facility located in the SW corner of Peak’s property.

Currently, Applied Compression employs 27 workers.

“These are family-supporting jobs!” Bennett pointed out.

Peak Industries also leases land to Glen Transport for parking trucks and trailers.

FB Logging is a new logging company started by Brian Fehr that will be based at the Peak Industries Site.

The company spent $2.4 million on equipment in the city March 2, Fehr offered.

The large truck bays at the south east end of the finger joint plant building will house the shop for the new company.

“This new business will create several high paying jobs and spin-off business for small businesses in Cranbrook,” Bennett said, adding the gathering outside the finger joint plant was a celebration of the return of the forest industry to Cranbrook.

There is still work to be done, he added, explaining the site is currently not subdivided and the lot map is at a conceptual stage only.

“Our plan is to learn what potential users of industrial land are looking for and then design the subdivision, lot size and shape, accordingly. We have already learned much. So far, we have had discussions with several local and out of town businesses about locating on the site. Once we understand what our customers need, we will finalize subdivision details,” Bennett said.

Lead image: Cutting the ribbon at Peak Industries’ finger joint plant this morning were Darren Brewer, City of Cranbrook Business Development Officer; Bill Bennett, Peak Industries; Coun. Ron Popoff, City of Cranbrook; Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt; Brian Fehr, owner of Peak Industries; and Josh Power, Project Manager, Peak Industries. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW photo

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