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Alberta wallboard plant begins construction as investment gathers pace

Collaboration underpins major projects as construction activities kick off
CGC Wheatland sm
CGC Inc. broke ground May 23 on a $210 million wallboard plant in Wheatland County, Alberta, a move that will employ hundreds and build manufacturing capacity in the region.

Ground is breaking on the next wave of industrial development in Alberta, with major projects in Wheatland County east of Calgary gathering pace.

CGC Inc., the Canadian division of USG Corp., broke ground May 23 on a new wallboard manufacturing plant originally announced in summer 2022.

The 220,000 square foot facility, situated on 214 acres of land north-west of Carseland, Alta., continues to be costed at $210 million, representing a significant new investment in the community.

It will soon be followed by De Havilland Field, an aircraft assembly, production, service and training centre that will ultimately employ 1,500 people.

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. announced the purchase of 3,700 acres for the project in September 2022, with former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney calling the deal a “game changer” at the time.

“This development, along with De Havilland’s proposed development, showcases Wheatland County’s strategic focus on industrial growth and economic diversification,” Wheatland chief administrative officer Brian Henderson told Blueridgeindependent.

"Wheatland County is poised to continue being a key player in Western Canada's industrial sector. Our strategic location and proactive economic development approach make us an attractive destination for future investments.”

CGC chose Wheatland in order to better serve demand in Western Canada. Currently, its products arrive from outside the region. To date, the sole local producer of wallboard has been CT Canada, a division of the CertainTeed Group, which operates facilities in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba.

“Shipping our products from Eastern Canadian or American manufacturing plants no longer meets their growing demand,” said USG Corp. president and CEO Chris Griffin said in announcing the proposed plant two years ago.

Breaking ground on the new facility signals a step forward in what he described this month as its “ambitious growth plans in Canada.”

The investment will make CGC the second manufacturer of wallboard with manufacturing facilities in Western Canada.

CGC expects to complete construction in 2026, with plant recruitment to begin next summer.

De Havilland, for its part, hopes to break ground on its own project in the coming months. It acquired Field Aviation of Calgary earlier this year, signalling its growth in Alberta in advance of construction.

De Havilland Field will consist of a new, state-of-the-art aircraft assembly facility, runway, parts manufacturing and distribution centres and maintenance repair and overhaul centre.

In addition, educational space for training the workforce of the future is planned as well as general office buildings and a De Havilland Canada aircraft museum.

Both CGC and De Havilland were supported in their investment decisions by the provincial government and Invest Alberta.

CGC’s investment also involved the Siksika First Nation, pointing to the collaborative nature of economic development.

“We continue to work closely with our regional partners to see the benefits of these industries enhance our region for the better,” Henderson said.