New intermodal rail container yard will be huge
Source: The Leader-Post
Published: July 17th 2008

The planned Canadian Pacific intermodal facility (IMF) could be bringing national distribution centres to Regina, the size of which the Queen City has never seen.

"This will be an area with extremely large warehouses. Think of the biggest warehouse you know and multiply by a factor of two, three or four and you get a sense of the scale of these," Jeff Lehman, a principal with MKI, an independent consulting firm contracted to prepare a concept plan and cost analysis for the IMF, said Wednesday.

"Some of these are one million square feet so it's a type of land use that isn't in Regina yet -- a very, very large warehouse."

Lehman explained that intermodal facilities are central to distribution networks, particularly for retailers who will send out goods to their stores across the country.

The IMF is to be built west of the city and will replace the current CP yards in downtown Regina.

The estimated $93-million project has already received $27 million in funding from the federal government and will also result in the creation of an interchange at Lewvan Drive and the Trans-Canada Highway.

Mayor Pat Fiacco explained the IMF is basically an inland port, allowing retailers to be able to move product by air, road and rail. Regina is the ideal location due to its central position in the country.

"This is about the creation of not hundreds of jobs but literally thousands of jobs over the next few years. That's not just including the construction portion of it, this is ongoing jobs," said Fiacco.

Lehman said each warehouse could be located on roughly 50 hectares of land by the IMF, but won't match the size of such facilities seen in Chicago and Calgary.

"It does depend a little bit on whether the companies that want to use these sites want to store things outside as well as inside a warehouse. The facilities in other centres though are on extremely large lots so compared to your other industrial park this is quite a bit different," said Lehman.

Before construction of the IMF can move forward, the City of Regina must first complete the process of annexing land from the RM of Sherwood.

At Wednesday's executive committee meeting, a recommendation was approved for the city to advertise its intention to apply to the provincial government to alter its municipal boundaries. The approved recommendation also gave approval for the city's administration to negotiate a tax loss compensation agreement with the RM. It will now come before council at its Monday meeting.

If approved by council, information packages will also be sent out to all the affected landowners to provide feedback. While two open houses have already been held, more will be hosted by the city and the RM.

"We've already had a couple of open houses on this and feedback has come in. You're going to get a mixed bag of people that absolutely want no change at all and others that look at this as an opportunity," said Fiacco.