Major expansion plans for an inland port in Ashcroft are in the final engineering stages and construction is expected to begin on the project before the end of the year.
The expansion, delayed more than two years, will make the Thompson region an important part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway, the promoter said Friday.
"We needed to get through all the regulations," said Bob Landucci, head of Crescent View Investments. "We're really excited about this."
Ottawa announced in July 2010 it would contribute several million to development of an inland port on benchland along the Thompson River and beside Canada's two national railways.
Environmental, engineering and other works have continued since the announcement, with Ottawa now signed off on final plans, Landucci said.
"We have the business," he said. "We have to build the infrastructure to supply it."
Despite efforts over the past decade to bring an inland port or terminal to Kamloops, Ashcroft won the battle based largely on an ideal 130-hectare property.
Considered part of Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway, it is intended to make railways more efficient through an Interior loading and reloading centre. More than 55 trains a day pass by on the CN and CP mainlines.
The investment from Ottawa and Crescent View will add to a significant facility already developed on site.
Ashcroft Mayor Andy Anderson said news from the company that it will move ahead with expansion and secure the $3.6-million investment from Ottawa is exciting. Originally, Ottawa was to contribute $5 million but this phase of the project has been scaled back.
"It seemed like it was dying out to the point where there wouldn't be enough time to get things done," Anderson said, of preparations to ensure the federal investment.
"Now it's going forward. That's great. I've been working on this for seven years."
With completion of the $8-million construction project by early 2014, Landucci said another 2.2 kilometres of internal track will be added. It will allow cars to be swiftly switched off the CP mainline, freeing track and making the system more efficient.
Ashcroft Terminal's customers include mining, cement and construction firms that use the loading and reloading facilities for shipment back and forth between Port of Vancouver.
While investments are expanding at Ashcroft Terminal, a Kamloops business leader said the city has not given up on the dream of a facility here.
"There's still opportunities for something like CN to establish in the Kamloops area," said Kamloops Chamber of Commerce president Maurice Hindle.
"It's all about business sustainability…. There's some people (here) still trying to create interest in that idea."