The initial furor has died down but the City of Estevan is still continuing to press Canadian Pacific Railway to move its oil transload facility outside of city limits.
CPR opened the facility in December much to the chagrin of City officials and the Estevan Fire Rescue Service who expressed concerns about increased heavy truck traffic, the subsequent damage to local roads and potential safety concerns.
Although the sides have agreed to live with one other for the time being, at a recent meeting the members of council reiterated their desire to see the transload site moved out of Estevan as soon as possible.
Located on CPR’s property in the centre of town, the transload site allows tanker trucks to off-load crude oil onto oil tankers which are then shipped to another location. The operations at the site have since been expanded to include the transloading of fly ash.
The City and CPR have held a number of meetings since the facility opened and CPR has stated in the past if the number of tanks they transport increased dramatically they would look into moving the site by the third quarter of 2013.
“As I said to council, we have to keep the pressure on them to make sure they move out,” Mayor Gary St. Onge said in a recent interview. “They are looking at three places — one west and two east.”
Kevin Hrysak, the manager of media relations and public affairs for CPR, said the company is continuing to review sites in the area as well as checking into the feasibility of any kind of move.
He added that although the third quarter of 2013 has been mentioned as the time for a possible move, CPR is still loading just six to eight carloads a week, numbers that likely would not warrant a move.
“(The 2013 date) was when we were talking about up to 15 carloads a day of business,” Hrysak said. “Once we would get to that level, we would obviously outgrow the current location we are in. But we haven’t increased any capacity. Once our business does outgrow the capacity at the current location we’d be in a position to relocate to another area. But at the present moment, we have not seen an increase in business, we are still five or six to eight carloads a week.”
With respect to the fly ash at the site, they are currently loading three to four rail cars a day, which has two trucks making eight to 12 trips per day.
St. Onge said they would also like to see CPR move their pipe transloading operations, which they also conduct in the city, to any new facility out of town. As it currently stands, pipe is hauled to the city and then offloaded at locations along Sixth Street. St. Onge said the City has plans to rebuild and pave the section of Sixth Street from Souris Avenue to Kensington Avenue and would like the trucks to be off the street when the work is done.
“We are supposed to start on (Sixth Street) this year,” said St. Onge who added the current method causes a handful of headaches for the City on Sixth Street.
“We have surface drainage and they don’t have any approaches onto their property. So (trucks) load right down in the ditch basically and that has wrecked the drainage. They should be building approaches so that you can drive in there and load right on their property because even if it we fix it, it is not going to last long if they are still loading on there.”