Land Acquisition thrills Western Asphalt

Trucks are pictured being loaded at Western Asphalt Products’ facility in Brandon’s east industrial area. The company’s purchase of 71 acres of adjoining property has brought their total land mass to 151 acres. With both CP and CN rail lines running adjacent to the property, they plan on developing transload capacity, with shovels hitting the ground some time this spring. (submitted)

A million-dollar real estate deal in the heart of Brandon’s east end industrial neighbourhood found Western Asphalt Products on the receiving end of 71 acres of vacant land.

With this purchase, the company now has 151 acres of connected city land, located southwest of the Maple Leaf Foods meat processing plant off Limestone Road.

Already housing an asphalt emulsion terminal on-site, the company plans on developing a transload facility on its newly expanded property.

Transloading is the transfer of shipment from one mode of transportation to another, and in this case would be between rail and truck.

With both CP and CN rail lines running adjacent to the property, Western Asphalt Products president Dean Arnill said the land provided the company with a unique opportunity to link up with virtually every community in Canada and the United States, via rail.

Accommodating its own operations with the first 40 railcar spots, Western Asphalt Products plans on expanding as the local marketplace dictates, with room to incorporate greater railcar capacity to meet whatever needs come forward.

The scale of this project will depend on the interest shown in the region, Arnill said.

Pointing to the desk in his office as an example, Arnill said that just about everything sold in Brandon has been shipped to the Wheat City from elsewhere.

With some local businesses relying on transloading facilities in Winnipeg, he said they might save money by having products shipped directly to Brandon.

The transload operation is one that Alberta-headquartered Western Asphalt Products has aspired to open ever since the company launched its asphalt emulsion terminal at the adjoining property in 2012.

"It’s hugely advantageous for marketing Brandon, as well," he said — a point echoed by the city’s director of economic development, Sandy Trudel.

"This is something that we had identified as a project that we would love to see move forward in Brandon, so when we see a local business that has had that vision and took the steps to move from vision to implementation, that’s great news for us," she said.

Cando Rail vice-president of rail operations Lee Jebb said the introduction of more transportation options in the area is good news for the Westman economy.

Cando Rail does not offer transload services in Brandon, although he said various companies have accommodated railcar loading into their internal operations, with the most recent example being the opening of a Federated Co-operatives Ltd. fertilizer terminal in the city’s east industrial area last year.

By opening up rail-accessible land to a broader client base, Jebb said Western Asphalt appears to be "curating activity with capacity," which is an effort that he said would help market the area to investors.

Western Asphalt Products acquired their 71 acres of land from Toronto-based Fox River Resources Corp.

The land was previously slated to host a mono-ammonium phosphate granulation plant.

The pre-feasibility study was completed prior to the 2008-09 global recession, according to a technical report the company issued a couple years ago.

Subsequently, there were "significant changes to the global economies," which altered the fertilizer market’s economics, the report read.

Arnill plans on announcing his company’s plans to the public during tonight’s East Brandon Industrial Strategy public consultation meeting at the Brandon Design Studio (638 Princess Ave.), to be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

A draft of the City of Brandon strategy for the east-end industrial area will be presented during the meeting.


» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB

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