By Tim Murphy
New Hamburg Independent
New Hamburg's feed mill is moving out of town.
BW Feeds, located on Mill Street in the downtown core, is planning to break ground on their new location next to Stratford Farm Equipment, in North Easthope, in the spring of 2007.
Dave Bender and Evan Wagler, who run the mill, said the reason to move was influenced by a few issues.
"We're landlocked down here," said Bender.
He added large grain trucks have difficulties navigating the narrow streets when they are full of parked cars.
There is also no opportunity for expanding the century-old building.
The new property, technically located in Perth County, is seven acres in size, allowing plenty of opportunity for future expansions to the new building.
The current three story building is about 12,000 square feet in size.
Built in 1904, Bender said an engineer's report recently gave the building a solid structural status.
Bender said the new mill won't be necessarily larger in size than the current structure, but modern equipment and better use of space will allow for up to three times the processing capability.
Bender said they hope to sell the mill promptly after the move.
"We don't have the financial means to own it and develop it," he said.
The mill, which holds a heritage designation, could be developed into condos, or office retail space, he said.
St. Jacobs has a similar mill which has been converted into businesses.
"We're open to suggestions," he said.
The new building will vary from the current structure in that it will have more automation.
The new mill will be able to process up to 30 tonnes of grain each hour, up from the current 10 tonnes the mill mixes now.
Bender said automation is necessary to remain competitive.
"This mill is just way too old to automate," he said.
Several pieces of equipment in the mill are decades old.
"We'll gain efficiencies in trucking," he added.
Wagler said the current plan is to maintain all employees at the new structure, but hopefully not add anymore in efforts to cut costs.
The mill should also retain it's current name.
The mill was built in 1904 by Samuel and William Stuart. The current mill is a reconstruction of a feed mill which burned in 1902. In March of 1905 the mill was in full operation.