Eco park development still moving forward

The development of an Eco Innovation Park at Red Deer College is slow going.

The development of an Eco Innovation Park at Red Deer College is slow going.

Plans for the green business park, set for a 75-acre parcel of land off Hwy 2, were announced last June.

“For right now we’re still moving forward on the conceptual planning and working with the four partners on a Red Deer (Regional Economic Development) basis, but given other variables about timing of access and those sorts of things, we’re not racing ahead on it,” said Derek Gratz, director of applied research and innovation at the college.

Last year, then college president Ron Woodward said he hoped that by this time, RDC would know what kind of building they wanted to start out with, how much it costs and have two or three anchor tenants lined up.

None of those things have so far come to fruition.

Gratz said that through ramped up activity at the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing over the last six months, there are three or four people who have products or services being developed that have green energy or green technology potential, and that these could be future tenants in the park.

“So we’re trying to make it into a transition that looks at how to grow things in the facilities that we’ve got, and then that’ll help both populate and reinforce what we do in the Eco Innovation Park when we are able to set the timing and know when we’re able to put shovels in the ground,” said Gratz.

There’s no timeline for work at the site.

The formation of a not-for-profit corporation that was initially envisioned to own and operate the park has not yet been formed, and Gratz said they’re still looking at different collaborative models.

A ballpark budgetary figure for the project still sits at $20 million, and there are discussions with potential funding partners but nothing has yet been signed, Gratz said.

Besides site access, the recent economic turndown has played a part in the park’s slow progress, he added.