For those of you with a keen eye, you may have noticed a new tab at the top of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell’s (UCPR) website.

The new tab titled Invest links to a virtual map created by the UCPR showing the available commercial and industrial land in Prescott-Russell ready for development.

The plan is to connect potential investors with landowners in the area says Carole Lavigne, director of Economic Development.

The project’s total budget was $50,000, including a $25,000 grant from the province’s Rural Economic Development program. The two departments started on the project in 2015 and collected data for three years. 

The Planning and EcoDev departments identified about 200 lots that could be developed; after the departments contacted the owners, about half of them (105) were added to the new map.

Alfred-Plantagenet Mayor Fernand Dicaire highlighted the fact landowners had development-ready land and weren’t willing to sell while in his municipality there are lots that can’t be developed under the UCPR’s Official Plan.

“There’s a disconnect somewhere,” he said and suggested the possibility of exchanging lands to allow for development.

Service eligibility

If you were to click on a lot, a list of services pops up; each is assessed with the odd wording of “true” or “false” depending on what service is available.

Lavigne said the project highlighted the “blatant lack of capacity,” in the region for services like electricity, natural gas and Internet.

She explained that the current map shows what services are available; it isn’t indicated whether the lots are eligible to bring the unavailable services.

“There’s more work to be done,” she said.

Council cautioned possible investors to double-check the details with landowners and local municipalities.