Walmart Canada has opened its most technologically-advanced grocery distribution centre in South Surrey.
The centre, at 19525 24 Ave., was formally opened under sunny skies on the morning of April 13.
Chief executive vice president and chief transformation officer John Bayliss told a crowd of around 100 –including B.C. Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Bruce Ralston, local politicians and many Walmart employees – that the project had received its final authorizations only 30 days before the pandemic was declared in February of 2020.
“That we’ve opened this on time is truly exceptional,” he said, in thanking the designers, builders and staff of the 300,000 square-foot, $175 million facility. “It’s been a fun marathon.”
The building will be capable of processing 150,000 order picks per day for delivery to 45 Walmart stores across B.C. and will ultimately employ more than 250 people.
Among those on hand to offer congratulations were South Surrey-White Rock MP Kerry Lynne Findlay, Surrey-Guildford MLA Garry Begg, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and Surrey councillors Brenda Locke, Linda Annis, Allison Patton, Laurie Guerra and Doug Elford.
Bayliss told Peace Arch News that the company’s new facility is the largest of its kind west of Calgary, and “our most technologically advanced building in Canada and one of the most technologically-advanced internationally.”
“Building vertically was a means of reducing our footprint,” he said. “Built traditionally, it would probably have covered around 500,000 square feet.”
Ralston offered praise for the facility’s emphasis on sustainability and achieving an ultimate goal of zero-waste.
This includes energy-efficient LED lighting and intelligent controls capable of reducing energy consumption by 70 per cent, an efficient refrigeration system and an HVAC system designed to reclaim heat rejected from the the refrigeration system to heat the building, along with natural filtration systems for water to protect local waterways and fish hatcheries.
The facility will also be a future hub for the fleet of electric vehicles Walmart is currently purchasing, including electric semi-trucks and a fully-electric yard fleet, also significantly reducing carbon emissions.
“The impact of climate change is all around us daily,” Ralston said. “The reality is coming home to people in this province – delay is not an option.”
Bayliss told the crowd that the investment in the building and new technology was part of a $3.5 billion investment by Walmart, also aimed at generating growth and speeding up the flow of products through the company’s supply chain across Canada.
“We’re raising our game,” he added.