Tri-Star gets $2.4-million for expansion

Tina Comeau
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By Tina Comeau



For most people, not having the time each day to do all of the things they want to do and all of the things they’d like to do would be frustrating. For Keith Condon, he says it makes him fortunate.

In the mid-1980s, Condon, the president and CEO of Tri-Star Industries, thought about what he wanted Tri-Star to look like in the future.

“And folks, I have to say I have lived my dream,” he said on Monday, April 23, as the province announced $2.4 million to help Tri-Star Industries expand its manufacturing facility in Yarmouth. Four days earlier, the federal government had announced $195,000 in funding towards this venture.

This investment will enable Tri-Star to add up to 10,000 square feet of production space to its manufacturing facility, and will help with important upgrades to its machine, engineering, design, paint, testing and research and development facilities.  

The $2.4-million provincial investment comes in the form of a 10-year repayable, interest-bearing loan from the Nova Scotia Jobs Fund.  

Aside from supporting more than 60 existing jobs, the expansion Tri-Star has planned will create up to 16 more jobs and positions that will help Tri-Star become even more globally competitive.

The expansion will be an off-site facility, meaning it will be located somewhere in Yarmouth other than alongside its existing plant on Forest Street. Condon – who also gives credit to his business partner Mitch Bonnar, vice-president of operations, and Tri-Star’s employees for their roles in the success of the company – wouldn’t say where the new facility will be located, other than to say it will be in a “high-traffic area.”

Along with the new manufacturing space, the expanded site will include space for existing and expanded retail operations. This will allow Tri-Star to convert retail space at its Forest Street plant into more manufacturing space.

Asked when Tri-Star will move forward with its expansion, Condon said, “Soon.”

“We’re hoping to have this up and running in the fall with new workers in place and producing new products,” he said, adding requests for proposals would soon be going out.

Founded in Yarmouth in 1973, Tri-Star Industries is a custom vehicle manufacturer specializing in ambulances. The company has supplied its products to 45 countries since it began exporting in 1979. It supplies Nova Scotia with all of its ambulances, which, Premier Darrell Dexter said during the funding announcement, gives this province, “the best ground-ambulance service in North America.”

“Nova Scotia is also fortunate to have highly trained and highly-skilled paramedics that save lives every day,” said Premier Dexter. “The province trusts Tri-Star Industries to not only keep our paramedics safe on the road, but to help the EHS team deliver better care sooner to all Nova Scotians.

“For more than 10 years, the Department of Health and Wellness has trusted Tri-Star to build and maintain its fleet of emergency vehicles. This speaks to the stellar reputation that Tri-Star has as a builder,” added the premier. “You help ensure that when our paramedics are needed, they are there. And that’s not just true for Nova Scotia.”

Dexter said the fact that more than 40 countries around the world trust Tri-Star to manufacture their ambulances is a prime example of how Nova Scotia can, and is capitalizing on, growing global markets and exporting its products internationally.

Although its ambulances are what it is best known for, it’s not just ambulances that Tri-Star manufactures. Other products include armoured vehicles, mini buses, emergency response vehicles, Hazmat vehicles and mobile command posts.

Condon says with the expansion, Tri-Star will delve into other new product manufacturing. He gives an example whereby Tri-Star could take a standard-sized ambulance, and look at manufacturing something that is 10 feet longer, and also wider, that could be used as a mobile clinic and house an MRI unit.

“We’re looking at very different ideas,” said Condon, who adds the company also hopes to cash in as a supplier in the province’s upcoming shipping contracts.

A guest at the April 23 funding announcement was former Nova Scotia health minister Dr. Ron Stewart, who was instrumental in putting into action the amalgamation of ambulance services across the province.

“I can confess that I’m not just a little bit proud, I’m very proud of what is happening here, because what we’re heard today, and what has gone on here with the staff and the management of this facility over the years, will ensure that Nova Scotia remains at the forefront of paramedic care and emergency ambulance services,” said Stewart.

He called this a prime example of collaborative care for health care.

Playing on the words of the government’s ‘Ships Start Here’ campaign, in his remarks Condon told those in attendance, “Ambulances start here.”


Organizations: Tri-Star Industries, Nova Scotia Jobs Fund, Department of Health and Wellness

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Forest Street North America

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