Born in Tumbler Ridge, LaPrairie Crane Adds Five New Cranes to its Northern BC Fleet

Lynsey Kitching
 

The five new cranes for LaPrairie Crane arriving by train. Photo Credit: Stephen Wile.
 
Scott LaPrairie reminisces about the early days and his company’s modest start. He says, “I started the business in May of 1982 with a 40 ton Rough Terrain crane a mechanics truck a 26 foot travel trailer parked on the bank of Flatbed Creek and a concrete bucket. The town was just being cleared of trees and the water and sewer lines had not yet been installed. Along with my brother-in-law Wayne we hung the bucket off the hook of the crane with a ‘rent me’ sign on it.”
 
He continues, “Our first job didn’t happen until five weeks later and I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life moving out to the middle of the bush in BC all the way from Elliot Lake, Ontario. That first job was unloading a truckload of rebar at Quintette. By the end of construction of the mine we had six cranes.”
 
The company has now grown with branch facilities and offices located throughout Northern BC and Alberta including Fort St. John, Tumbler Ridge, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, Fort Nelson, Fort McMurray, Grimshaw and Calgary.
 
LaPrairie recently announced the arrival of five new Liebherr cranes. These new machines are equipped with new hydraulic crane technology. The cranes will be in operation at the company’s Fort St. John branch.
 
LaPrairie says, “We are proud to be in our 30th year of business, since starting with only one crane in Tumbler Ridge in 1982.”
 
These new cranes, with lifting capacities of 110 to 170 tons, will add to the company’s extensive fleet and broaden service options for its customers in Northern BC. 
 
The cranes are equipped with ‘wireless remote technology’, which will improve safety on high-risk jobsites. The wireless remote operation will allow the operator to stand up to 300 feet away from the machine and operate with a remote control.
 
LaPrairie says, “Applications are for instance at a well fire or blowout, where we will reduce operator risk or, where an area becomes too toxic for people to operate in.”
 
One of LaPrairie’s five new cranes will be the first of its kind in BC – the Liebherr 120 ton, hydraulic, crawler-mounted machine. This machine is suited for pipeline work, plant-site work and ‘pick and carry’ operations.
 
“No job is too big or too small for our team and we have an excellent reputation for making it happen safely and efficiently,” LaPrairie says.
 
While the corporate offices have moved to Calgary, LaPrairie’s administrative offices remain here in Tumbler Ridge.