Walmart halts $100M project in Quebec, leaving many people ‘very surprised’

Click to play video: 'Walmart backs down on plans for Vaudreuil-Dorion distribution centre'
Walmart backs down on plans for Vaudreuil-Dorion distribution centre
WATCH: Walmart has decided to stop its plan to open a $100-million distribution centre in Vaudreuil-Dorion. The decision has taken many businesses and even elected officials by surprise. As Global's Gloria Henriquez reports, many are still wondering what happened. – Jan 3, 2024

Walmart has decided to put a stop to its plan to open a $100-million distribution centre in Vaudreuil-Dorion, a decision that has taken many businesses and elected officials by surprise.

A beacon of business in the area, the 57,000-square-foot facility was supposed to be a brand new delivery hub for online orders in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The state-of-the-art facility was expected to create 225 jobs, but many are just learning that the project is dead on arrival.

“Actually we were very surprised, we learned it through the newspaper,” said Mathieu Miljours, general manager of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Chamber of Commerce.

Walmart announced its plans to set up the facility in September 2022. The grand opening was set to be soon.

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“It’s a symbol for us, a big company like Walmart coming in the area, it was all making sense and now we don’t know why,” said Miljours.

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In a statement to Global News, Walmart says that instead of moving forward with the opening of the centre, the company has “decided to accelerate upgrades to our existing network, including our Quebec stores, to unlock more omni capacities to better serve the growing needs of our local Quebec customers,” writes Stephanie Fusco, the company’s senior manager of corporate affairs. “By the end of our next fiscal year, we plan to invest about $100M to upgrade eight stores within the province.”

“My guess is it’s the economic situation, the global economic situation,” said Luc Boyer, the director of territorial development at Développement Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon is disappointed too, but he’s looking at the bright side.

“We dealt with a promoter, the promoter built it, they paid for everything. I have a brand new industrial park for free,” Pilon said.

Pilon believes it won’t take long before someone else scoops up the facility, nearly completed and strategically located at the corner of Marier Avenue and Henry-Ford Street, boasting easy access to several highways.

Boyer agrees.

“I’m not really worried by the fact that it will remain empty a long time,” Boyer said.

Walmart is leasing the land from Harden, a local developer. Global News called Harden’s director of development but he wasn’t authorized to speak on the matter.

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For now, the mystery of why Walmart withdrew its project, remains unsolved.

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