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Richardson to replace northernmost grain elevator

New High Level facility to be five times larger

richardson pioneer
File photo of a Richardson Pioneer concrete elevator. (Dave Bedard photo)

Grain handler Richardson Pioneer plans to replace the northernmost grain elevator in its Prairie network by next fall.

The arm of Winnipeg’s Richardson International said Monday it has started construction on a new elevator at High Level in northwestern Alberta, about 200 km south of the province’s border with the Northwest Territories.

The new facility, connected to Canadian National Railway (CN) track, will have 32,000 tonnes of storage capacity and a loop track configuration able to load 135 rail cars, the company said.

Richardson Pioneer’s current wooden crib elevator at High Level has 6,500 tonnes of storage capacity.

The new facility, expected to be complete by fall 2020, will “work closely” with Richardson Pioneer’s new crop inputs business at nearby La Crete, bought in February from AgLand Seed and Chemical.

“The High Level area, with its solid and loyal customer base, is an important market for us,” Darwin Sobkow, the company’s executive vice-president of operations, said in Monday’s release.

“The construction of this new facility, along with the recently acquired crop input business in La Crete, shows our long-term commitment to the area and ensures we will be able to meet our customers’ growing needs.”

The company, in its release, also hailed the “collaborative efforts” of High Level town officials and of the High Level Agricultural Exhibition Association, which it said “ensured the project proceeded in a timely manner.”

The Town of High Level, in a separate release, said the new elevator’s site will take up a section of land formerly occupied by the association.

“In order to facilitate the new project, the town has been working with the (association) to relocate to a new site nearby and are currently working to prepare the lot in advance,” the town said.

High Level Mayor Crystal McAteer hailed the announcement as “a dream come true” for the town, adding that area farmers “will be able to save valuable time and thousands of dollars in transportation costs from not having to drive all the way to other grain handling facilities.”

Town officials, she said, are “extremely grateful” to the association “for seeing the benefit of the new grain terminal to the entire region and once again agreeing to move their infrastructure to a new location.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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