Town of Coaldale to be home to $222M cold food storage facility

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Netherlands-based NewCold is building a $222-million cold food storage facility in Coaldale, creating more than 50 permanent jobs in the southern Alberta town.

Monday’s announcement marks the entry into the Canadian market for NewCold, which currently operates in Europe, the United States and the Asia-Pacific region.

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NewCold executive Jonas Swarttouw said the automated facility is just under 30,000 square metres — he acknowledged Amazon has bigger warehouses — but is also 45 metres tall, four times the height of a normal warehouse. It will contain advanced equipment that automatically move around goods, such as conveying systems, cranes and elevators.

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The food logistics company stores processors’ frozen foods, and from the Coaldale warehouse will receive them from their customers’ manufacturing facilities and ship them within Canada and to other countries. Those packed frozen foods end up in restaurants and supermarkets.

The facility is expected to be up and running in about a year. Construction will create more than 200 temporary jobs.

“We recognize Alberta’s growing importance in North America’s food supply chain, with the presence of some of America’s largest food processors,” Swarttouw, NewCold’s executive vice-president of commercial, said during a Monday news conference in Cochrane.

In a statement, Coaldale mayor Jack Van Rijn welcomed NewCold’s investment, which he said continues the trend of the town becoming a major logistics and investment hub within Canada’s Premier Food Corridor, a southern Alberta food processing hub that includes the Coaldale, Lethbridge and Taber areas. 

The Alberta government announced Monday it is providing a $2-million investment in the facility through its Investment and Growth Fund, a “deal-closing incentive” from the province. 

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“Alberta’s government is attracting investment like NewCold to the province because of our business-friendly policies and programs,” Jobs, Economy and Trade Minister Matt Jones said in a Monday statement. “The Investment and Growth Fund compliments the province’s low corporate tax rate, highly skilled workforce and commitment to reduce administrative burden, which means businesses can invest with confidence.”

Rick Christiaanse, CEO of Invest Alberta Corp., said fast-tracking zoning for the facility and getting approvals in “record time” helped persuade NewCold to locate its new facility in Coaldale, which has a population of 8,917.

“That is critical, because Team Alberta will win by being fast and effective, because that’s what business around the world is looking for today,” Christiaanse said during Monday’s news conference.

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