Saskatchewan town fighting to save grain elevator from demolition

The town of Raymore, Sask., is trying to save its 30-year-old concrete elevator from meeting the wrecking ball.

Raymore resident's proposal to purchase the elevator has been rejected

Some Raymore residents are trying to save the community's concrete grain elevator owned by Cargill from demolition. (Google Maps)

A small town in Saskatchewan is trying to save one of its grain elevators from meeting the wrecking ball.

Locals from the community of Raymore, Sask., have been attempting to convince Cargill to not demolish its concrete elevator. The town is located about 115 kilometres north of Regina.

"Losing the facility is such a detriment to our small town," says Malcolm Koncz, mayor of Raymore.

"Once you lose something today, what do you lose tomorrow?"

According to Cargill, the 30-year-old structure was closed in November 2015 and sits on land owned by the Canadian National Railway.

"It was closed because, you know, it would really require sufficient and costly upgrades to maintain the safety and efficiency standards we have at Cargill," said Connie Tamoto, communications manager for Cargill.

It's kind of like someone who always buys a new car once they are tired of it. You don't just leave it in the bush. You sell it and move on.- Malcolm Koncz, mayor of Raymore

"Unfortunately, the investment to meet those environmental and safety standards far exceeded our investment criteria."

Raymore resident Terry Fazakas did some research on how the elevator could be preserved and offered to purchase it from Cargill.

"It's salvageable. It's kind of like someone who always buys a new car once they are tired of it. You don't just leave it in the bush. You sell it and move on," said Koncz.

The company reviewed the purchase proposal but wouldn't sell the elevator to Fazakas.

Tamoto says CN advised Cargill that they will not be selling or leasing the land where the elevator stands.

"We are proceeding to apply for permits for demolition with the town of Raymore," said Tamoto.

Local repercussions

Koncz says that the losing the structure will hurt the town's economy and the surrounding farms.

He says less traffic will come into town, affecting gas stations and restaurants. Farmers will also have to haul their grain to cities or towns hours away.

"Our dilemma is nobody is looking out for the town of Raymore. It's a shame to see. They are saying that the elevator is worn out. However, right next door is an elevator twice as old as it and still being used," said Koncz.

A wooden grain elevator previously owned by the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool was sold to farmers and is still used for personal use in Raymore.

Koncz says he doesn't see why something similar can't be done for the Cargill elevator.

"We would like to see, which is a win-win for everyone, is giving them a different piece of land close to it and developing their business there and let a small player take over the elevator," said Koncz.

He says it has been a challenge trying to convince the company to sell its asset but that he along with Fazakas won't give up their fight.

"I'm trying to get CN and Cargill to come and sit down with us," says Koncz.

"Hopefully we can save it. It's all about progress in a small town."

With files from CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition