Kitimat local Tanner McAloney is homebound for the boom and doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. (Photo supplied)

Kitimat local Tanner McAloney is homebound for the boom and doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. (Photo supplied)

In Our Valley: Tanner McAloney

Tanner comes home to smalltown B.C. where life is easier and the family’s in arms reach

A family man with a strong work ethic, Tanner McAloney is no stranger to moving for work while maintaining relationships with loved ones.

Born in Terrace and raised in Kitimat, Tanner grew up being the middle child to five brothers and three sisters. As they’re all within a few years of each other, hand-me-downs and the passing of life advice are normal for the McAloney family.

“Having my siblings definitely prepared me for a lot more in life because you could kinda have your handheld sometimes,” said McAloney.

Although the family isn’t living like the Brady Bunch they once were, Tanner still lends the same helping hand he was given by his older siblings. “I’m still [helping] now because my younger siblings are in their 20s and they’re still learning life lessons; it’s a funny circle for sure.”

At 18, Tanner was eager to start a life for himself; he moved to Merritt for a year for work.

Still looking for something new, he found a job opportunity in Vancouver, working for a sawmill, so Tanner quickly packed up and headed further south.

Landing in Surrey, he stayed there for a few months until he found something more permanent that could feel like home. He moved into the Fraser Valley area where he bought a home and resided there for just less than 15 years.

After committing to the sawmill for over a decade, Tanner started working in the greens department in the film industry for four to five years.

“I worked for anything [in Vancouver’s film industry] that had to do with trees, rocks or sand. If they wanted to turn a backyard into a beach theme, we’d bring everything in and set it up for whatever environment they needed.”

Like any job in the film industry, Tanner said the hours are long and tedious. A lot of high-pressure situations and constant travel from site to site.

“We’d shoot all over Burnaby, Langley, Fraser Valley, Mission and you’d be working until ten at night, then get back up by four or five in the morning and head [to the film site] because you’d have to set up before everyone else in the production gets there.”

However, after committing years to the film industry, Tanner wanted to slow down and experience small-town B.C. again.

“I just wanted change again, I was experiencing that fast life for about 15 years so I thought I’d just want change again,” McAloney said. “Being a smalltown boy from up in Kitimat and leaving right after high school, I never looked back, but I thought it was time and I just wanted the change again. It’s just so much quieter and easier going in small towns.”

Heading back north, Tanner moved to Prince George for a selective logging company in the forestry industry.

Putting some time at his new job, Tanner’s brother-in-law reached out and told him about a job opportunity at the fabrication shop he works for in Kitimat. Tanner was excited for a chance to come home, so he quickly got his welding ticket and began his journey back.

“I just wanted a change I guess, so I just packed up and left and decided welding was going to be my new thing.”

Now working for Zanron Mechanical Services, Tanner is home surrounded by his family and employees he enjoys.

“I’ve built a good relationship with the people I work with and it feels like a pretty nice family here,” McAloney said. “My whole family’s all been up here the whole time I was down south … so the get-togethers are a little easier now because everyone use to come out to the city.”

Tanner’s siblings are peppered throughout the province with one brother and three sisters residing around home base in Kitimat.

“Now we’re all adults so with the grandkids and everything it makes the family even bigger.”

Not planning on leaving anytime soon, Tanner says he’s comfortable living a settled lifestyle in Kitimat where things are slower and more enjoyable for him.

“The town’s as beautiful as the people and while the [industrial] boom’s here and going to follow that. Change is good and that’s what Kitimat is for. A lot of us have been in this community forever, but for everyone else, Kitimat is the perfect place to restart or take another shot at doing something different in life.”

READ MORE: In Our Valley – Ray Hepting