If you’ve had a tough time finding cement recently, the blame might rest with Central Alberta Co-op.
The member-owned retail association has begun work on a fertilizer storage facility east of Innisfail, with concrete a key ingredient in the base and walls of the 37,000-square-foot building.
“It was a massive pour,” said Co-op operations manager Mike Clement, who estimates that 1,500 truckloads of cement have gone into the project.
By the time construction wraps up next spring, Central Alberta Co-op will have space for 15,000 tonnes of granular fertilizer. Each of the building’s seven compartments will be connected to the Co-op’s blending plant via underground conveyors.
The system will be a marked improvement over the present set-up, which consists of about 120 storage bins and requires that fertilizer be hauled to the blending plant.
“We’ll almost double our storage capacity,” said Clement.
Not only will that help ensure that the Co-op can maintain adequate fertilizer supplies for customers, it should enable it to buy in larger quantities and at lower prices, he said.
With an anticipated cost of between $4 million and $4.5 million, the new storage facility will measure 17.4 metres (57 feet) in height at its peak. The first 1.8 metres (six feet) will be concrete, with wood above.
The Co-op is also finishing a 1,350-square-foot addition to a nearby administration building, which will add seven offices, as well as a meeting room and staff room.
“It’ll double our office space,” said Clement, acknowledging that the additional area is badly needed. “We were busting at the seams.”
Cost of the administration building expansion is approximately $400,000.
In addition to its bulk fertilizer facility east of Innisfail, Central Alberta Co-op has a home and agro centre, a grocery store, a gas bar and a bulk fuel card lock station in town. It also has retail operations in Red Deer, Lacombe, Blackfalds, Spruce View, Stettler, Crossfield, Elnora and Castor.