Sealand Aviation, T-Mar Industries and Daigle Welding and Marine are well-known local employers, but their reputations for quality and excellence are recognized far beyond the city’s borders.
“Having a local builder produce a product of this calibre is a testament to the skills and innovation of the West Coast boat building industry,” said
Edward Dahlgreen of the Nanaimo Port Authority, after Daigle delivered two new patrol vessels in 2012.
Daigle is presently putting the finishing touches on two new 43-foot patrol vessels for Port Metro Vancouver and has also begun construction of two new 37-foot pilot vessels for Vancouver.
These speedy boats whisk pilots out to the large international ships who then take over from the captains to guide the vessels through the straits.
Also under construction at Daigle Marine is a 36-foot landing craft and a 30-foot pleasure boat. “We also have quite a few large repairs on the go. It’s busy!” says owner Daigle who looks after 25 employees.
For 33 years now, Sealand Aviation has been keeping light aircraft in tip-top shape and, since 1990, has been manufacturing parts for its own kits.
Sealand is also part of the Viking Air team, working with with Viking to manufacture the DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400.
“We’re looking to expand our manufacturing. It depends on how things develop with Viking,” said Sealand owner Bill Alder.
“Right now we’re very busy.” If all goes well, Sealand will be looking at expanding by either leasing more space or constructing a new building.
Currently, its manufacturing division is located on the Tyee Spit while the main hanger is beside Campbell River Airport.
It’s not the first time the B.C. Liberals have used a Campbell River-based operation to tout economic development. Prior to the provincial election, in March 2013, former Forests Minister Pat Bell toured T-Mar industries to showcase the rebounding logging industry on Vancouver Island.
T-Mar sales manager Tyson Lambert and staff showed the minister how they’re rebuilding the big 400 series excavators, and also designing and building Log-Champ swing yarders.
These are more powerful and lighter than older models, and specifically designed for improved performance in steep areas.
There’s also a lot of second growth wood ready for harvest in B.C., but a much is located in very steep areas.
That’s why T-Mar is developing a brand new grapple yarder for this purpose which is keeping the staff of 45 busy.
“It will be the first machine if its type designed in 20 years – and probably the first new one built in 10 years,” says Lambert.
The grapple yard, presently under construction, is expected to be ready this summer. “We’ll be testing it out on one the local cutblocks to get any bugs out,” said Lambert.
“We do all our design and manufacturing in-house, and we buy just about all our steel in town. This is a very, very local effort.”