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CP hopes to sell operations building

BY RICK PUSIAK A chapter in SudburyÂ?s long and distinguished railway history came to a quiet end last month.

A chapter in SudburyÂ?s long and distinguished railway history came to a quiet end last month.

The old Canadian Pacific Railway operations building, located next to the Via Rail station, on Elgin Street, was vacated and its windows boarded up.

Sections of the structure are over 60 years old and have seen better days.

The few employees who remained in the building were relocated to a large, modern and well insulated portable-style structure on the other side of the tracks adjacent to Douglas Street.

While the railway still employs about 210 employees across the Sudbury area only a handful of people worked in the operations building before it was closed.

There was a local managerÂ?s office, an office for the CP police force and general administration quarters.

CP Rail spokesperson Paul Thurston said a decision on the final disposition of the building has not been made.

There has been no order yet for demolition, and it is possible the structure may be put up for sale.

Â?We are looking for an option other than demolition,Â? said Thurston.

Most of the cavernous structure had been vacant for some time.

The building had been added onto over the decades as the need for space arose.

Expansion of the building actually reflected the history of Sudbury as a small railway community that grew by leaps and bounds. The railway now requires fewer people and less room to efficiently conduct operations.

The tired old building turned out to be too expensive to keep open. It would have needed a lot of work to bring it up to modern railway standards.

Discussions are underway with a possible new owner but itÂ?s too soon to describe the talks as negotiations.

Â?We canÂ?t call them negotiations (but) with luck we soon will (be) able to,Â? said the railway spokesperson.

Back in September there were rumblings the city was interesting in buying the old operations building.

There were even reports city staff had gone on a tour of the facility.

If the municipality were to buy the building it could be torn down to accommodate perhaps as many as 75 parking spaces in the busy core area.

Those slots are needed after about 70 public spaces on the westerly portion of the CP lot were Â?lostÂ? effective Sept. 1 when a lease agreement kicked in between the city and the YMCA.

The municipality made a commitment to the Y a few years ago to provide accessible parking close to the new building.

The cityÂ?s general manager of corporate services, Doug Wuksinic told Northern Life the municipality doesnÂ?t have a specific use for the operations building.

He did say, however, there are always discussions with CP on the use of the two parking areas on each side of the structure.

The train station building that is now operated by VIA is considered an historical landmark. Thurston said the operations building may have some sentimental value as well.

Â?Obviously thereÂ?s history to it and history will mean different things to different people,Â? said Thurston.

Â?The focal point for railway history will always remain the station building beside it. There is some history (with the operations building) and for that reason there may be some people who want to preserve it so our goal is to make sure there is an opportunity for that to