July 17th, 2024

Longtime local grain elevator shutting down

By GILLIAN SLADE on May 21, 2020.

A chapter in Medicine Hat's history will end this summer with the closing of the Parrish & Heimbecker grain elevator on Kipling Street SE.--NEWS PHOTO COLLIN GALLANT

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

A grain elevator that has been part of the historic landscape in Medicine Hat for decades will be closing.

The Parrish & Heimbecker grain elevator nestled between the coulees and Kipling Street will be winding down operations starting July 1.

Anthony Kulbacki, vice president of operations for P&H – based at the head office in Winnipeg – said it was a “tough decision” and the company had tried to extend the date as much as it could.

“We will be consolidating our business … at the elevator in Bow Island,” said Kulbacki.

Bow Island is a larger “campus” with a wider range of services to offer customers. It is also more than able to handle what was being processed in Medicine Hat.

The decision was also based on the limited rail access in Medicine Hat where fewer than 25 rail cars can be accommodated.

Kulbacki says new grain elevators, such as the one in Viking, have a loop track that can accommodate 150 rail cars. Railways are trying to be more efficient and they’re looking for a full train to have access to the grain elevator without having to detach only some of the rail cars from the locomotive and then hook up again.

Rail capacity in Medicine Hat could not be expanded and that affects the ability of P&H to stay competitive, he said.

That a decades-old P&H grain elevator will no longer be in use is rather sad, but Kulbacki says every physical building has a limited lifespan and it has served its purpose. Unfortunately modern rail transportation has changed.

A decision on what will happen to the building has not yet been made.

“We are just going through the details of decommissioning,” said Kulbacki, who expects a decision will be made in the next few months.

There are three full-time employees and one part-time employee affected by the closure in Medicine Hat. The company is hoping arrangements can be made to offer them all alternative positions within the P&H network.

“We’re working with the employees in terms of finding other opportunities for them,” said Kulbacki.

Share this story:

15
-14

Comments are closed.