Expansions underway for Co-op and Agrocorp
Projects expected to boost tax revenues for town
Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017 06:00 am
Gerald Hiebert, CEO of Central Alberta Co-op
INNISFAIL - Two expansions to Innisfail businesses will help add dollars to the town coffers and jobs to the community.
The replacement and expansion of the Central Alberta Co-op gas bar is underway, as is the expansion of Agrocorp Processing Ltd., which is adding a building to the local grain and pulse handling facility.
Town manager Todd Becker said the Co-op development permit value was for $500,000 while the Agrocorp permit value was $919,989.
“It is hard to speculate the amount of taxes that the two mentioned developments will have for the town,” said Becker in an email. But he noted there are spinoff benefits in addition to any potential extra tax revenue, like an economic bump from building materials, meals, rooms, gas and other things.
Gerald Hiebert, CEO of Central Alberta Co-op, said it’s about a $2-million investment. The project is replacing and expanding the gas bar, a new propane dispensary, and a new C-store. It also includes underground storage. The building will be 1,701 square feet, about 30 to 40 per cent larger than the existing building.
There will be four lanes of full-service at the gas pumps and two lanes of self-service, up from the four lanes the gas bar currently has.
The gas bar will sport the newest Co-op design, something Hiebert said was a more contemporary look that shows off the Co-op brand.
Work on the project started about a month ago, and will continue through the winter. Hiebert said the hope is to be open in time for the summer 2018 gas rush, and ideally earlier.
“We need to expand because of the business support, the support that’s there from the customers,” Hiebert said of why they are doing the replacement.
“Obviously there will be more jobs if the business grows as we anticipate it to grow,” Hiebert said. He said the previous gas bar was a commissioned operating site, so the employees weren’t Co-op staff. The new site will have Co-op employees, with the old manager coming on board.
The expanded Agrocorp plant is expected to add new jobs. Colin Tophham, the company’s managing director from Vancouver, said in a previous interview that the number of staff onsite would double from five to 10.
The $6.5-million expansion is essentially building a new plant beside the old one alongside the CP rail line at Main Street and 43rd Avenue. Handling and storage capacity is set to double, and there will be additional market opportunities for local farmers by switching from a seasonal facility to one open year round.
“That will be one of the biggest changes,” said Topham in a previous interview. “The seasonality of the grain market sometimes dictates how long your season is through the year but we are billing ourselves to be prepared for a longer shipping season.”