As reported in Northern Ontario Business, Marsha Smoke is coming north with a unique business proposition.
The president of Moccasin Trails Engineered Road Access Matting Solutions has a keen interest in First Nation communities benefitting from development on their traditional territories.
Smoke’s company is a First Nation-owned provider of industrial matting and portable bridges for construction sites.
Often used in oil and gas work in Western Canada, it’s a relatively new product in this region but one that potentially offers real value when used in environmentally sensitive areas.
“My trips to the North are more about education than opportunities at this point,” said Smoke, a member of Alderville First Nation, located in the Rice Lake area, southeast of Peterborough.
The hardwood and softwood mats are used as work platforms to support heavy equipment, such as cranes or drill rigs, in accessing rugged and swampy terrains. They’re also used on farmland and private property.
The mats are interlocking and range in size from 10 to 60 feet long and can weigh a couple of thousand pounds.
They’re deployed to minimize soil disturbance – such as rutting and compaction – and act as protective barriers against any material that might contaminate the ground. Once removed, the land returns to its natural state.
Smoke and her half-dozen employees don’t do any actual manufacturing from their Roseneath, Ont. offices. That’s for the simple reason of not wanting to manage an inventory to keep a workforce employed year-round.
Instead, the company buys new and used mats from major mat manufacturers, with whom they place orders and make arrangements for delivery to a job site somewhere in the U.S. or Canada, usually within days.
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