RUSSELL – The price of progress can be steep at times and the Russell Township council is finding out just how steep as they consider whether or not to service the growing 417 industrial park.

The June 15 council meeting featured a presentation by Hemson Consulting Ltd. Hemson had been hired to present the Industrial Park Servicing Plan to council.

The council had decided to make a decision about what the industrial park will look like 40 years from now. The question was which of the two industrial parks in the township would benefit the most from having water and sewer services. The areas are, Limoges Industrial Park at Limoges Road and the 417 Industrial Park.

The report stated: “Moving forward with the servicing of the industrial park will have major financial implications for a long-term period.”

The council has to decide if they want to invest in servicing the 417 industrial park at a cost of about $25,165,000 or focus on the  Limoges industrial park with a much lesser investment.

If the park was serviced, it would as a result be able to grow and flourish over the next 40 years and return revenue to the township that would more than cover the initial cost. That estimate included an expectation that the choice of servicing the 417 Industrial Park would bring in $50 million, more than if the Limoges site was chosen.

The report concluded that there might be serious concerns about going ahead with with both the servicing of the 417 Industrial Park and the construction of a new recreation complex. Strong consideration should be given to which of these projects is of a higher priority for the township.

The report stated: “The more pressing decision for council will be whether to move forward with the design of the serviced park or not.”

Should the council decide to have the park serviced, the current cost per acre for the installation of water and sewer services presented in the business plan is $30,240, this would represent about $151,000 for a business having a property size of 5 acres.

“There is over a hundred acres of business in there now,” said Russell Mayor Pierre Leroux.

“Right now they have private wells and septic systems.”

Leroux acknowledged the project was important and the decision had to be a carefully made one.

“It is a considerable project obviously, so it is nice just to have it on the table to give the council time to reflect on it, and have further discussions in August.” he said.

Once council makes the decision to go ahead with the project, it would take roughly two years to complete.

Leroux said, “I would like to see council make a decision to move ahead with this whether it is just moving ahead with the design for starters or actually confirming we are going ahead. I would like to see something in August or September.”

Hemson’s report pointed out that a serviced park, over 40 years would generate approximately $47.9 million over the next 40 years.

The report highlighted several items the township should consider in their decision.

  • The servicing of the 417 Industrial Park would generate the highest cumulative net benefit of approximately $47.9 million over the 40-year horizon;
  • The net benefit is substantially higher than the Limoges servicing option (by $50.6 million) and also higher relative to maintaining the 417 Industrial Park unserviced (by $37.6 million);
  • The 417 Industrial Park servicing option produced the most favourable results even under a more conservative development outlook. Policy and Land-use Planning;
  • Servicing the 417 Industrial Park would be in conformity to existing local and county planning policies;
  • The townshipʼs official plan also promotes development within designated trade and industry areas (which the 417 Industrial Park relates to);
  • The 417 Industrial Park is already well known and the township has initiated numerous different marketing campaigns to promote development;
  • Future expansion opportunities exist allowing the township to facilitate employment growth and development over the next 30 years;
  • The 417 Industrial Park produces substantially higher employment growth projections, both in the reference and conservative development scenarios, relative to the Limoges servicing option.

Leroux said, “There are commercial developments just waiting to go ahead. There is definite interest there. It allows the existing business to expand their building and build up their business and it is something we have been discussing for the last five years. Now we are at the finish line.”