Limited activity at the Cando Rail Services site in Kamloops is no indication the project has stalled, the company says.
Motorists passing the sprawling, 36-hectare site off Mission Flats Road, where Weyerhaeuser's administration and sawmill complex were located for many years, might suspect the rail terminal project has hit the brakes. There are ties stacked and some track laid out, along with heavy equipment, but little progress in evidence.
The Brandon, Manitoba-based company announced in January that it was expanding into B.C. with construction of a terminal with capacity for 1,000 railcars at the industrial site. The first 250 spots were to be completed by June according to initial plans, but those have been slightly delayed.
“We’re caught up in the design phase and waiting for approvals,” said Julie Pomehichuck, Cando’s marketing manager, from Brandon. “We still hope to start the dirt work sometime this summer.”
CEO of the company, Brian Cornick, is in Kamloops at the moment to meet with local officials about the project.
The company currently operates railcar storage at six other Canadian locations across Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Its new Kamloops terminal will serve as the company’s headquarters in B.C. and once fully operational it could employ hundreds.
Cando’s long-term plan is to build an extensive rail terminal in Kamloops with 80,000 ft. of track and trainload areas along with engineering and mechanical services. The terminal would serve CN and CP.
Pomehichuck indicated that they expect to have a plan in place for the start of terminal construction within the next couple of weeks.
“We have been able to go in an build some of the switches so they’re done when we’re ready to go,” she said. “We’re very excited to get started.”
As well, Pomehichuck noted, the company has joined the chamber of commerce, a small but not insignificant gesture of commitment to doing business in the city.
The company originated as Cando Contracting in 1978, a small family-run rail line dismantling and salvage outfit. On the Prairies, regional rail spurs were often abandoned as the major railways focused on expanding east-west traffic. Since then, the company has grown and diversified, rebranding itself in 2013 as Cando Rail Services.
They operate two short line railways in Ontario and two wholly owned subsidiaries, Central Manitoba Railway Inc., which was incorporated in 1999 when Cando acquired CN’s former Pine Falls and Carman subdivisions in Manitoba, and Cando Contracting Inc., the U.S. branch of Cando, which was purchased in 2004.