By Gary Rusak -- September 2, 2005

Greensmart Homes will utilize the newly re-opened Dawson Creek-Hythe rail line when its local operations begin next year, a company official said this week.

"That is going to happen," said Alex Wik, executive vice president of the Calgary-based modular home manufacturer. "We are talking to CN right now about it."

Earlier this month, CN spokesman Graham Dallas said that the company had been unable to find customers for the newly re-opened 46-mile long track between Dawson Creek and Hythe, Alta. Wik said that the company has submitted a tender to add 100 yards of rail line to connect their new building just east of the airport to the refurbished CN line.

"We are going to ship the product everywhere from there," he said. "When I say everywhere, I mean that. There are no modular homebuilders north of Edmonton, so that is our market, both east and west. We should be very competitive with rail access."

In July, Greensmart completed a deal with Louisiana Pacific to purchase the 160,000 square foot building that was originally built as a veneer plant. The building will be used to manufacture structurally insulated panels to be used in modular homes. Wik said that it would probably take six to eight months to complete the project and begin manufacturing in Dawson Creek.

"The work is underway now," he said. "The sewer line is in the hands of the City. We basically paid the City of Dawson Creek to do it and they are going to look after it. The building is cleaned up mostly inside. There is still some LP equipment inside the building that they are going to get out of there and that job is ongoing. There is still some finishing to do in the building as far as pouring concrete floors etc. Those jobs are in progress already."

The company plans to keep a manufacturing base in Calgary as well as the new plant in the city to meet the rising demand for modular, energy efficient homes, and commercial buildings throughout the country.

"In Dawson we are going to have a plant similar to our plant in Calgary," said Wik. "We are going to manufacture walls and roof panels. We are going to use our own manufacturing to put in our own homes. With the plant here in Calgary, we sell walls to other builders in southern Alberta. It is our intention, if we can keep enough market share in Calgary, to keep that plant open. That has no bearing, no influence, no impact whatsoever on what we are going to do in Dawson Creek."

Wik added that the company has recently hired a Dawson Creek operations manager and looks forward to employing more people in the coming months.

"We don't have it all finalized yet," he said. "But, we see a minimum of 30 people at this stage, but we could have more than that."

This article is taken from the Peace River Block Daily News, Dawson Creek, with the permission of the publisher. The Daily News retains all rights relating to this material. The information in this article is intended solely for research or general interest purposes.


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