River Road land approved for industrial subdivision

by Dave Johnson, Welland Tribune

With Welland running out of serviced industrial land council recently approved opening up 30.8 acres (12 hectares) in the city’s north end to meet the growing need of investors and potential new businesses.

“We’re close to selling out at Enterprise Industrial Park off Highway 140, and there are other projects in the planning stages,” said city planner Grant Munday.

Munday said the city wanted to make sure it had open property to avoid having a shortage of industrial land.

“We’ve found having open, serviced land attracts industry. It gives them a level of clarity when it comes to the price they’ll be paying for the land and what approvals they may need,” he said.

Last week, council approved a report by city planning staff that will see zoning on River Road land beside and behind Youngs Sportsplex change to Gateway Economic Centre from Open Space and Recreation to permit the development of the property for an industrial subdivision.

The land borders RY Tool and Die, Southridge Community Church, a home and Downs Road to the south and stretches east to the train tracks beside the former Atlas Steel property, and private land to the north,

Munday said there will be a bit of a buffer zone between the property and the Sportsplex, which is included in the zoning change.

Changing the zoning on the land to Gateway Economic Centre allows for more incentives under the city’s Gateway Community Improvement Plan. Gateway Economic Centre zoning allows for such things transportation and logistics, including facilities related to shipping and receiving; warehouses; major offices; manufacturer’s showrooms; light manufacturing; light assembly; laboratories; research and development; training facilities; hospitality uses and more.

Other lands in the city that fall under that designation include the GE Brilliant Plant and the area behind Walmart, currently under development.

The lands allow for greater investment and employment uses and are close as possible to highways, rail and canal access, said Munday.

Services that need to go in on the land include water, sewer, hydro and natural gas.

“Hopefully whatever money comes in for the land will cover the costs of providing the necessary services.”

While the report talked about a possible internal road network, Munday said it may be possible to use existing roads by upgrading them, adding that would cut costs.

As for the land itself, he said there’s already interest in it. The day after he made a presentation to council at a public meeting, people were calling in about the area.

“We’ve already had discussions with different investors,” Munday said, adding he couldn’t discuss who the investors were.

In addition to the land being set aside for investors, there will be 4.2 acres (1.6 hectares) used for a ground-mounted solar project.

The solar project, which will see 500-kilowatt solar panels go in, is a joint venture between the city and Welland Hydro, and the third FIT (Feed-In Tariff) project to be done in the city.