Erik Van Dyk (left) and Brian Rodenburg (right) breaking the ceremonial ground at West Coast Robotic’s new Agassiz location. The pair hope to have the building ready for March 2020. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

West Coast Robotics breaks ground on new Agassiz facility

The Harrison Mills company is hoping to move to Agassiz by March 2020

West Coast Robotics broke ground on its new facility in Agassiz Monday (Oct. 7).

The Harrison Mills robotic milking and feeding equipment company has been waiting a long time to get shovels into the ground at the old Agassiz Hotel site. According to general manager Brian Rodenburg, the company bought the property in 2010 — one year after West Coast Robotics was founded — but hadn’t been able to start construction until now.

“It was the cost of growth,” Rodenburg said. “We grew so fast and that costs a lot of money.”

Business partner Erik Van Dyk agreed, saying that the amount of growth the local company has seen in the last 10 years has been incredible.

“Robots were pretty small at that time, nobody really believed in them or wanted them,” he said. “But as you know, with technology — if you look at your phone 10 years ago and you look at your phone today. It’s the same thing with robots. They’ve improved so much, it was the way of the future.”

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Rodeburg, Van Dyk, their families and West Coast Robotics employees were all at the property Monday, as the two men put the ceremonial shovel into the ground.

Both used the word “finally” to describe the day.

“This has been a long process to get to this point,” Van Dyk said. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

A digital rendering of West Coast Robotic’s new building in Agassiz. (Contributed)

The new facility will be 18,000 square feet, and feature a warehouse, office space and one or two rental bays. No new staff are expected to be hired because of the new building, although Rodenburg said the company’s growth means that more employees are being brought on all the time.

“Where we’re operating now, we always get that temporary feeling,” Van Dyk said. “I think when everybody gets here to a new shop, they’ll have a lighter step and be more efficient.”

Rodenburg and Van Dyk said they hope to have the new building ready to go for March 2020, allowing them to move off of Van Dyk’s Harrison Mills farm.

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Erik Van Dyk (centre left) and Brian Rodenburg (centre right) celebrating the groundbreaking of their new West Coast Robotics facility in Agassiz with their families. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

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