A new business has been approved to begin operations in the former Thorpe Brothers building located north of Prince Albert.
The former site of the COVID-19 drive-thru clinic will now be home to a head office for Trio Ventures Ltd., a company with a diverse portfolio including helicopter operations, fuel sales, and food franchises, as well as the leasing and sales of aircraft and aircraft equipment and buildings.
The Rural Municipality (RM) of Buckland approved the company’s proposal after a discretionary use application hearing during a special council meeting on Friday afternoon.
The proposal was for Helicopter Repair, part warehouse and administrative offices.
Reeve Don Fyrk said the proposal is a sign that the north industrial area is growing.
“We have one group that is taking over Mary Nesbit (Campground and RV Park) or they are in the process of taking over,” Fyrk said. “Then we have got the propane company coming in—they bought the old Carrier Lumber and they are going to be setting up shop there—and now we have Trio coming in for helicopters. I think it is just fantastic.”
Buckland planner Jason Kaptein said before the meeting that the hearing was necessary because helicopter part and repair storage falls under repair shops and that requires a hearing.
After the hearing, the RM council approved the proposal unanimously.
President Patrick Campling gave a presentation outlining their plans for the building. Trio Ventures has operations in Prince Albert at Carlton Court Plaza and downtown, and Campling told the RM the company is growing so large they need to purchase the building and renovate the interior and exterior.
The holdings include food services such as Boston Pizza and military contracts, aircraft leasing, Great Slave Helicopters, building leasing and a fuel company.
Trio is named because the company has three primary investors. Their investments include 53 North, which sells aircrafts and parts. Trio says their current holdings in downtown Prince Albert are full.
The presentation was very thorough, and Fyrk said they appreciated the details from Campling, who is not a public figure by practice.
“He did a very good presentation and when you are spending that much money, man, you have got to be right on the ball,” Fyrk said.
The size and diversity of the company was also compelling to the council.
“I don't want to venture a guess what they are spending out there,” Fyrk said. “But the thing is, they are so diversified in everything.”
The company likes Prince Albert and he described region as fair and easygoing, and they operate as such.
Trio plans to have people in the offices by March or April of 2022, with 15 to 20 people in the building the first year with more in the second year.
“It is going to be 50 to 70 jobs all located right here in the RM of Buckland and in the City of Prince Albert so it's a good spin off,” Fyrk said.
Campling explained to council that the company is a large supporter of bringing business to Prince Albert and area and the large aviation related companies in the region. He outlined the overall plans for the large building, making it a head office for the companies and space for 53 North Air Sales and Leasing, while adding tenants to the building in the future.
He described the company’s goal as trying to find things that are fun. There are plans for a few helicopter ports but that will be in the future.
The presentation outlined how the company plans to work with the municipality
“(He said) Tell us what your regulations were and I can do it and they are ready to follow all of the government regulations like on their fuel tanks and fire control and all. It's a win-win situation all the way around,” Fyrk said.
The presentation included a booklet with biographies of the people with the company, objectives, future plans, and satellite views of the site,
Also present were other representatives of the company including Chief Financial Officer Denis Blain, Controller Vicki MacPherson and shareholder and representative of 53 North Air Sales Brad Huculiak.
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald