Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

GOING UP – Jon Baglee watches his construction crane hoist an item up to fellow crew members building Mah's Point. Work has begun on the second floor of what will be a six-storey condominium development at the corner of Second Avenue and Jarvis Street.

Towering crane gives young Yukoner's career a big lift

It can be seen from throughout Whitehorse: the largest crane in the territory being used to construct what will become the tallest building in the city.

By Stephanie Waddell on July 9, 2012

It can be seen from throughout Whitehorse: the largest crane in the territory being used to construct what will become the tallest building in the city.

Ketza Construction is building the six-storey Mah's Point condo development on Second Avenue.

It's the first project to use the large, floor-operated crane.

Running the crane is a precise art – one false move could mean disaster.

But it's all in a day's work for 21-year-old Jon Baglee.

"Safety is number one,” he said during a recent interview at the site office off Jarvis Street.

He spoke of continually checking his charts on weights, placement and other calculations before he makes any movement with the crane using the digital controls.

The chains have certain weight limits that Baglee must always adhere to to protect the upwards of 15 people who could be working on the site at any one time.

It was only three months ago that Baglee was working as a labourer for Ketza.

Thanks to his interest in operating heavy machinery, Baglee moved into apprenticing to operate the crane – perhaps the heaviest of equipment – under senior staff at Ketza.

Before he could begin his apprenticeship and get behind the controls of the crane, he had to do a competency test.

From there, he began his apprenticeship, working on getting the 2,000 hours he needs to move towards his journeyman ticket.

With this project, Baglee often works six 10 1/2-hour days each week.

It's an opportunity Baglee said he's grateful for.

Ketza president Peter Densmore, he said, has treated him "awesome,” giving him a career he thoroughly enjoys which also provides him with a good life.

He pointed out that while he had been originally looking at a career as a heavy equipment operator, this has given him so much more.

While he's very happy working for Ketza right now, Baglee, who grew up in Whitehorse, noted that down the road, he'll be able to go anywhere he wants to work in crane operation.

Though not anytime soon, Baglee said he'd eventually like to try his hand in Vancouver, or some other big city, on even larger cranes.

For now though, Baglee is happy to be with Ketza Construction and part of the building of Mah's Point.

The $18-million, 20-metre, six-storey structure will feature 52 high-end units selling for between $287,900 and $385,900, with the building expected to be finished by Christmas.

The new structure at Second Avenue and Jarvis Street will also feature underground parking and have commercial units on the ground floor.

A total of 25 condos have already been sold.

The site is the former home of the Pioneer Inn and of a series of restaurants and night clubs operating under such names as Foxy's and the Bench and Gavel. The complex was demolished in June 2009.

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