First Nations expand their stake in construction

Several Yukon First Nations have banded together to create a one-stop shop for construction needs, according to Ray Wells, the recently appointed…

Several Yukon First Nations have banded together to create a one-stop shop for construction needs, according to Ray Wells, the recently appointed chairman of the board for Kilrich Industries.

A group of investors, which includes door and window manufacturer RAB Energy Group Inc., have purchased Kilrich from Rick and Gary Boyd. RAB is also First Nation owned.

“If the First Nations or other customers are looking to construction, First Nations now own two companies that can provide a lot of the fundamentals for that construction,” said Wells, who is also board chairman at RAB.

“Doors, windows, framing, insulation, shingles, sidin­­g — it’s the basics of construction now owned by First Nations in the Yukon.”

Kilrich’s other new owners include the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation, Kwanlin Dun First Nation, the Dakwakada Development Corporation and Dana Näye Ventures.

“(Kilrich) primarily provides the basic building materials for construction,” said Wells.

“They also have a truss plant,” he said. The plant is located at the McRae industrial subdivision south of Whitehorse.

“There are anywhere from 25 to 30 employees working there,” said Wells.

Kilrich also specializes in working with mines.

“They provide mining activities with the basics they require,” he said.

Kilrich will keep business and money in the territory rather than have it spent elsewhere, said Wells.

“It’s about owning Yukon-based companies and keeping those profits in the territory,” he said.

The First Nations owners will not be too closely involved in Kilrich’s operations.

“They’re arm’s-length owners of Kilrich,” said Wells. “Kilrich isn’t going to be involved directly in any construction of buildings of First Nations at all. It’s a supplier of those raw materials.”

The owners are going to let Kilrich continue on its current business path, and the owners have no plans to expand the company.

“Kilrich is a very successful business,” said Wells. “The last thing we want to do is go in and change their business model in the short-term.”

But the Kilrich purchase does allow First Nations to buy building materials closer to home.

“Are (First Nations) going to going to have an incentive to buy from Kilrich? Well, you know what the answer to that is.”