LaPrairie Cranes’s Gift of Trees

To celebrate LaPrairie Crane?s 25th Anniversary this year, the company has presented the town of Tumbler Ridge with a gift of 28 trees. The trees were planted by the Public Works Crew on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 in the open lawn area next to the skateboard park. A tree combination of Dolgo Crabapple (white blossoms in spring and brilliant red apples in fall); Russian Mountain Ash (white flowers in spring, red berries and orange in the fall), Swedish Aspen (columnar tree turning red/orange in the fall); Black Hills Spruce, and, the ever-popular, Northwest Poplar (shade trees that turn yellow in the fall) was selected to compliment the park?s design that would allow for easy viewing of skateboard events, while leaving the spectacular lookout view over the town?s lower bench and of the distant mountains unobstructed. The entrance into the Recreation Centre?s parking lot has been lined with the flowering trees and columnar aspens on both sides, making a grand entrance into the future home of the family park.

LaPrairie Crane, a family-operated, 100% Canadian-owned crane and hoisting company, started its operations in Tumbler Ridge in 1982, providing crane services to the coal mines of Northeast BC. Scott LaPrairie arrived in Tumbler Ridge from Elliot Lake, Ontario with 1 crane and 1 service truck in the spring of 1982. Since that time, Scott?s crane business has successfully expanded its service area to include the oil and gas, construction and oil sand industries of Northern B.C. and Alberta. The LaPrairie Group of Companies includes the crane operations (LaPrairie Crane); a highway and bridge maintenance operation (LaPrairie Group Contractors); a glass business in Tumbler Ridge (Northland Glass); and a silica sand mining and processing operation in Peace River (Canadian Silica Industries).

Several of LaPrairie Crane?s long-term employees are from Tumbler Ridge and many of our crane operators and crane apprentices are graduates of the Tumbler Ridge Secondary School. The number of employees in the LaPrairie Group of Companies increases from a base of 150 to 450 during the summer season for the highway maintenance operations..

Since the beginning of Tumbler Ridge as a town-site in 1982, Tumbler Ridge has been the hometown for five of the eight LaPrairie brothers and sisters, and their families. Altogether, 15 children have been raised in Tumbler Ridge during those years. Some family members have relocated to other communities where the LaPrairie Group of Companies operate, but still consider Tumbler Ridge a ?home-away-from-home.?

To show its appreciation to the various northern communities in which it operates, LaPrairie Crane has kicked off a summer of tree planting in the communities of Tumbler Ridge, Fort St. John and Dawson Creek in British Columbia and in the communities of Grimshaw, Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray in Alberta.

LaPrairie Crane believes the value and benefits of planting trees in our communities are many: beautifying the communities where we live and play; absorbing and filtering pollutants; reducing noise and dust levels; and improving the air and water quality.

Scott LaPrairie, President of LaPrairie Crane, said, ?Beautifying our northern communities by planting trees is a long-standing, family tradition extending back to my mother, Colleen Clarke LaPrairie, who spearheaded the planting of 400 crabapple trees in the northern mining community of Elliot Lake, Ontario for Canada?s 100th Birthday in 1967.?

Over the past 25 years, LaPrairie Crane has continued this family tradition with the planting of the more than 30 Schubert Chokecherry, Northern Ash and Mayday trees that now line Main Street and Front Street in the downtown core of Tumbler Ridge, B.C. These large, caliper, boulevard trees were gifts in 1991 and 2001 from LaPrairie Crane to the community to celebrate Tumbler Ridge?s 10th and 20th Anniversaries.

Roachelle LaPrairie, Controller of LaPrairie Crane, said ?I would like to thank the District of Tumbler Ridge for the work done by Clark Hazelhurst, Public Works Manager, and Councillor Brenda Holmlund to coordinate this beautification project with LaPrairie Crane.?

? I am also very grateful to the hard-working Public Works Crew for the fantastic job they did of taking the plans roughly sketched on a sheet of paper and making this park a reality by digging the holes and planting the trees, all done in the extremely high temperatures that we had on Wednesday.?

?LaPrairie Crane hopes the community will find this new park area a great place to bring the kids and enjoy the skateboard park and the magnificent view!?