The City of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada is allocating $10 million towards the construction of an eco-industrial park that is meant to foster economic growth while preserving the environment. This was reported in a March 3 article published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
While the “eco-business park” is certainly important for Summerside, its importance transcends the boundaries of this quiet Canadian city. The future is eco-industrial; Summerside is just the beginning.
One-Fifth Of City’s Budget
Summerside’s budget for 2020-21 is CAD 53 million, meaning that nearly 20 percent is going to the construction of the eco-business park. While taxpayers are not completely off the hook from this expense, the budget release was accompanied by a list of conditions.
These include no property tax increases, no electricity rate increases, and $22.6 million in capital investments to work with. However, water and sewer rates will increase by one percent, while ice and pool rental rates will see a three percent increase.
The city envisions that the eco-business park will provide plenty of jobs for residents, boost property values, and increase the commercial tax base.
The six-hectare park will ideally contain businesses that share the same core value: maximize profit without sacrificing the environment. They will operate in energy-efficient buildings that will presumably utilize solar power and other alternative power sources.
Inside the buildings, employees will likely follow eco-friendly practices like keeping the workplace waste-free by reducing plastic, recycling, bringing reusable bottles, and regularly performing waste audits.
Along with the same values and practices, the businesses will share the same parking lot and shipping/receiving area to reduce costs and resources. An energy storage unit is to be built on the property, along with a stormwater storage system.
There will also be ample green space in the complex, which will not only keep the air clean but foster an environment of walking and cycling to reduce the use of motor vehicles.
All these features can be changed or omitted during the construction process, but the eco-friendly principles should remain. The eco-business park, if successful, will have net-zero carbon emissions.
Construction Has Already Begun
Construction on the eco-business park began last fall. Workers completed the earthwork, built water, sewer, and storm mains, and installed electrical hook-ups before winter. Construction is scheduled to resume in the spring. Gravel and paving are next on the agenda.
An estimated completion date could not be ascertained. However, since the eco-business park is in the 2020-2021 budget, one can expect it to be finished this year or next.
This unique eco-business park will not be unique for long. If all works as planned, Summerside’s park will facilitate a relationship between the economy and environment: two ideas that have been pitted against each other for centuries. Eco-industrial park designers are looking to reverse this history.
Summerside is only one of several parks being developed or planned: this may be the beginning of an eco-industrial revolution.