Eco business park proposed

Red Deer RED plans to go green.

Red Deer RED plans to go green.

Plans have been laid to create a leading-edge business park along the west side of the Red Deer College campus, facing Hwy 2.

Conceived by the Red Deer Regional Economic Development Group (Red Deer RED) — a partnership between the college, the City of Red Deer and the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce — the Eco Innovation Park will showcase for environmental protection and energy efficiency, college president Ron Woodward said on Thursday.

“What we want to do is create entirely green buildings that actually could function with no connection to the grid, water, sewer, anything like that, and that would house green businesses,” said Woodward.

Limiting vehicle access is among the methods through which the park would minimize its environmental footprint, he said.

The four partners in Red Deer RED are in the midst of signing legal agreements to form a not-for-profit corporation that would own and operate the park, with all income to be turned back into its operation and improvements.

Costs of the project are now estimated at $20 million, with the funding to be raised through a combination of loans and grants.

But the plans have not yet moved past the concept stage, said Woodward.

“My hope would be that, by this time next year, we know that there’s going to be a building of a particular size that costs so much and here’s two or three anchor tenants that are going in there.

“It’s one of those things that’s on the corner of everybody’s desk.

“I’m hopeful over the next year that it will get better legs.”

Although a weakened economy could delay the project for a couple of years, it will go ahead at some point, he said.

Eco Innovation Park will not include instructional space, but will provide some opportunities for students, including work placements, projects and research.

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