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Future of CP’s Les Cèdres complex unclear

  • The new complex would add 900 trucks to the region and create about 600 jobs.
    The new complex would add 900 trucks to the region and create about 600 jobs.
    Photo credit: Image courtesy CP.

The mayor of Les Cèdres said she doesn’t believe a report that Canadian Pacific Railroad has dropped plans to build a sorting station in the town.

Announced in 2007, the project would see CPR’s operations on the Montreal Island: in Côte St. Luc and Lachine, merged into one giant intermodal freight terminal and distribution centre on 330 hectares in Les Cèdres, just west of Vaudreuil-Dorion. The terminal would be the destination for the growing volume of Chinese imports currently arriving at the port of Vancouver and being transported across Canada by rail, and could bring 900 more trucks to the region. It would also send about 600 jobs to the area.

However, a report in La Presse last week said the corporation, which is in the middle of a major cost-cutting operation, has scrapped plans to build its complex, even though CPR has gone through the trouble of buying the land and getting it dezoned from agricultural.

“It will happen when the company’s (financial situation improves),” said Les Cèdres Mayor Géraldine Quesnel. “I’m not worried yet.”

However, in presentations made to investors last week, CPR CEO Hunter Harrison, and other executives spoke about the need to merge the railroad’s yards in Côte St. Luc and Lachine, but they said the plan was to relocate the operations to Côte St. Luc. No mention was made of Les Cèdres.

The executives also spoke a lot about how the railroad was scaling back its investment in yards. In the last few years, the company has closed many yards across Canada and the U.S.

The company still has a website detailing its plans for the intermodal complex at Les Cèdres, but that site doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2010, the La Presse report noted.

Quesnel said she knows the project was delayed because of the economic meltdown in 2008, but she thinks the company will eventually relocate to Les Cèdres. She said it’s a strategic location that gives freight transporters access to all the major highways in the Montreal region, including the newly built Highway 30 extension, slated to open on Saturday.

“I know this project (in Les Cèdres) was supposed to respond to the needs of the company for 20 to 40 years,” Quesnel said. “Is Côte St. Luc now sufficient? It didn’t used to be the case.”

Speaking for CPR last week, company spokesperson Ed Greenberg said the company had no comment to make about the intermodal complex.

jmagder@montrealgazette.com
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One comment

  1. By Peter Jones

    Play it smart, locate in Cornwall Ontario, less taxes, less red tape , less language problems. Many companies are locating there , close to Ottawa, Montreal, nice new highway to by pass Montreal ( route 30 ) A dream come true

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