Nacan Closure Could Impact Railway

2003 – From the News Archives of

Town of Collingwood officials are still dealing with the announced closure of Nacan. Collingwood Mayor Terry Geddes says the town has 12 months to work with Nacan in the effort of attracting a new tenant to the plant. Geddes is also concerned that the closing of Nacan will hurt a new plan to create a Transload Facility. Collingwood presently owns 40 miles of the 63 mile Barrie-To-Collingwood Railway. The new Transload Facility would provide a combined rail-truck shipping service to the area. Geddes says the closure of NACAN could not only wipe out the idea of a Transload Facility, but could eliminate the need for the Barrie-to-Collingwood railroad all together. He says this puts even more pressure on the town to find a new company to take over the NACAN plant.

Collingwood Council had recently heard from Matt Fisher from Matt Fisher and Associates. He has conducted market research to determine a need for a new transload facility to be created in Collingwood to provide a combined train-truck shipping service to an area including Owen Sound, Meaford, Wiarton and Hanover. Council was told that a five acre parcel of land is presently available in Collingwood’s Sir Sanford Fleming Industrial Park to accommodate the proposed facility. The transload facility would consist of a concrete pad with lighting, a pit with conveyor system, a ramp for loading and unloading, a truck weigh scale and a covered storage area. Fisher says his firm has identified 28 companies in the area that could potentially have interest in the proposed new service. He says a quick telephone survey indicated 10 of the companies had an immediate interest in receiving more information. Fisher said is just one customer signed on at the beginning, it would add another $63,000.00 in revenue to Collingwood based on the additional 4 cars per week that would be added to the existing service.

Mayor Terry Geddes says the project “isn’t dead yet” but will now rely more than ever on new customers coming on board. He said the future of the railroad would also be boosted by the town’s ability to find a replacement industry to take over the Nacan site once the plant shuts down operations.

The announced closure of Nacan shocked the community. The plant has been operating in Collingwood’s east end since 1969. Nacan executive Doug Garbutt (above right) says this is a very emotional time for everyone. Garbutt has been a long-time employee with Nacan and has returned to Collingwood to oversee the final months of the Collingwood operation. Garbutt is also a former Mayor of Collingwood so he certainly understands the impact the closure of the plant will have on the community.