Winkler council appraising business community's interest in reviving Industrial Park rail spur
Winkler City Council is in talks with the business community about the viability of reviving the decommissioned rail spur in the city's Industrial Park. "That is the rail spur that flows past the building that used to be Nu Steel and then moves further into the industrial park, including the part that goes past Vista Plastics and in that area," explains Mayor Henry Siemens. "It hasn't been usable for some years now, and it needs some investment for it to be safe. At this point, we want to talk to the affected property owners to find out if in fact, that spur is still needed and if it is, what do we do to make sure that we can bring it back up to a usable state?" Council has been monitoring the use of the short rail line for some time said Siemens. "This has been a spur that, even when it was being used, wasn't in great shape. We haven't been able to use it now for several years and as our staff is looking at all pieces of our infrastructure and trying to figure out what we look at and how we do, does this still make sense to do? That's really the question that came up." In the past, there were one or two businesses that made use of the line somewhat regularly. Siemens says at this point in time, nobody is using the railway because it's not usable -- at all. "I know that there's one business who believes that they would use it if it was available. The challenge is, of course, the cost of bringing that back to a usable state and is there enough value in it for just that one business. Those conversations are happening between our staff and the affected property owners. This would be in the discussion stage. We know that if in fact, it's not going to be used at some point in time it will come out." Council wants to avoid making a snap decision that would have long-term consequences for the business community. "We are actively engaged in conversation with those affected businesses." Ultimately, if the decommissioned tracks are reactivated, Siemens says they will need to have the businesses involved at the table to try and make it work financially. ~With files from Pam Fedack~ In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, PembinaValleyOnline encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the PembinaValleyOnline app.