Low Down scoops Styro Rail move to Wakefield, Quebec industrial park

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by Trevor Greenway on March 3, 2011

The new Styro Rail building in La Peche will be similar to this one in Gatineau

The new Styro Rail building in La Peche will be similar to this one in Gatineau

Gatineau had no idea that Styro Rail was riding out of that city and into La Wakefield, Quebec – until someone saw the Feb. 16 issue of the Low Down.

“We didn’t really know when the (La Peche) deal was going to go through, so we didn’t communicate with them,” said Styro Rail engineer Simon Martineau. “We told them often that if they don’t do anything faster, we are going to move.”

Gatineau had been trying to move Styro Rail, company that makes expanded polystyrene insulation, from its current location near the Gatineau Airport for years, as the business is not aviation-related and their operations have begun to spill out onto the street.

“We have a problem of exterior storage,” said Martineau, adding that the move to La Peche’s light industrial park is just what the company needs.

Even knowing that Styro Rail was intending to move, Gatineau took too long in getting anything finalized. The company needed to find a solution quickly, with police visiting   constantly to hand out citations for its insulation products stacked too high.

“La Peche moves very fast, that was a big thing,” said Martineau.

Styro Rail did consider expanding their Gatineau building to meet their growing needs, but because the property borders a creek, expansion would prove too costly. While the company did get the green light from CIMA+ to build a bridge and expand over the creek, the company decided La Peche was a more viable option.

Meanwhile, Gatineau Mayor Marc Bureau said it was “impossible” for Styro Rail to expand at the creek.

“It maybe wasn’t the best site for Styro Rail. There was a major problem with the environment,” said Bureau during a media scrum Feb. 23. “It was bordered by a creek and Styro Rail had to expand, but because of the creek and the environment, it wasn’t possible for Styro Rail to expand.”

Robert Fleck, President of Vintage Wings of Canada, who is a neighbour of Styro Rail, said he is happy to see the polystyrene company go, not because they are bad neighbours, but because they have completely outgrown their building.

“We have had frustrations with them over the last while because they are growing so fast,” said Fleck. “The cops come by all the time to give them tickets for loading on the streets.”

In the summer, Fleck said, he would see a cruiser come by once a week to hand out tickets and that they were playing a “cat-and-mouse game.”

Fleck was shocked to read the Feb. 16 issue of the Low Down when he noticed the front page headline “Styro Rail moving into La Peche,” figuring it was up to the city to notify neighbouring businesses. But the article was also passed around to city officials, who were completely unaware of the company’s plans.

Even though he found the Styro Rail operation bothersome at times, Fleck did have nice things to say about its being accommodating and co-operative with Vintage Wings, completely shutting down operations for Vintage Wings air show events and working together to combat Styro Rail’s space constraints.

“The people are good,” said Fleck.

He also added that Styro Rail’s operations aren’t noisy, bright or dangerous.

“The biggest noise is a forklift and a truck, which is really nothing.”

THE BUILDING

According to Martineau, the new building in La Peche will be similar to the one in Gatineau, basically a 80,000-square-foot concrete box.

“It’s quite a big building, we need a lot of space,” said Martineau.

While a concrete box style building isn’t all that attractive, Martineau said it would be spruced up with multiple large windows and stonework. He said it will be “nice and modern.”

The building will also be sheltered by trees and landscaping, so travelers and tourist won’t be jarred visually by the sight of a huge industrial building on the outskirts of Wakefield.