The city’s long-sought ‘eco-park’ has taken a major step forward.
Summerside officials have reached a deal to purchase 14.5 acres of land off Greenwood Drive to accommodate the expansion of its existing maxed-out industrial park.
The land in question is bordered by the Confederation Trail on one side and Greenwood Drive on the other and is adjacent to the Eric Johnson artificial turf field.
The agreed purchase price is $510,000.
Having dedicated space to build industrially within has been something the city is severely lacking and getting the eco-park off the ground is a huge piece of solving that problem, said Mike Thususka, director of Summerside’s Economic Development Department.
“This park’s not going to be filled tomorrow, but certainly it’s laying the groundwork for the next number of years that when we have businesses that are looking to expand … that we’re able to service them a lot quicker and more efficiently,” said Thususka.
“We have a number of businesses wanting to open right away and they want buildings that are suitable,” said Mayor Basil Stewart. “Council has agreed to start that park and get those businesses here, rather than lose them to another municipality somewhere in the Maritimes.”
The term eco-park refers to an industrial park designed around various environmentally conscious principals and usually includes green space of some kind.
Building an eco-park has been a priority for the city’s Economic Development Department for almost 20 years, but it has never quite been able to make its way out of the conceptual stage - until now.
In 2018, the previous council faced the prospect of buying about 59 acres of land on the opposite side of Greenwood Drive for $1.25 million to accommodate this same project. However, it decided the asking price was too much above what its own appraiser had pegged the land’s value at and didn’t approve the sale.
When the current council released its first budget in March, it earmarked $1 million to move the eco-park forward.
Now that the deal has been finalized, Summerside council will hold a vote on whether to give it final approval. The date for that meeting has not been announced yet. There is, however, also a public meeting regarding a rezoning aspect of this project coming up on the June 12 at 6:30 p.m. in Summerside Council Chambers.
About five acres of the 14.5-acre property is zoned R4 (high-density residential) and the city’s Economic Development Department wants it rezoned to M1 (light industrial) to fit the intended purpose of the eco-park.