Two municipalities in the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) are hoping to be the site for the UCPR Food Hub project.

In the spring of 2020, the UCPR announced that it was proceeding with developing a $36 million slaughterhouse that would allow local livestock to be processed for the regional and national consumer market.  Now, the Municipality of Casselman and La Nation Municipality have each submitted proposals to the UCPR to become home to the new facility, which will be 51 per cent owned by the counties and the rest of the ownership composed of private partners.

The Municipality of Casselman has purchased 34.5 acres of land on Aurèle Road, south of Highway 417 between the Petro-Canada station on St-Albert Road (County Road 7) and the Casselview golf course at a cost of $1.5 million.  The property is immediately accessible from Highway 417.  On August 25, Casselman council approved submitting an application to the UCPR to have the food hub plant located on the site and to apply to the provincial and/or federal government for grants to cover the cost of infrastructure improvements required for the site such as utilities or road improvements.  Those improvements are projected to cost between $25.1 million and $30.2 million.  Permits and development charges are projected to cost an additional $810,000.

Casselman’s application promotes the municipality as the best location because of its highway connections, available services, and community that can accommodate new development and employment.

“We’re right on the 417,” said Casselman Mayor Daniel Lafleur, who highlighted the easy entry and exit from the highway, and the municipality’s location between Ottawa, Montreal, and Cornwall.

“Everyone could benefit from this opportunity,” he added, further highlighting the jobs the facility could create.

La Nation, the municipality which completely surrounds Casselman is also asking the UCPR to consider it as a location for the new processing plant.

However, Lafleur emphasized that there is not a competition between the two municipalities.

“Everyone’s going to be a winner,” he said.

“It’s not really a competition,” said La Nation Mayor François St-Amour.

La Nation’s application will promote the location and other economic advantages of building the facility in the municipality.  St-Amour also noted the proximity to Highway 417 and connection to the county road system.

St-Amour would not say exactly what possible properties could be used for the development in La Nation, but he did say that there are two and that they are close to St-Isidore.

According to St-Amour, the two possible sites do not have connections to gas mains, but an application has been made to the Ontario Energy Board for expansion.

He added that the proposal was finalized in a closed session meeting but has the full support of La Nation council.

The deadline for the municipalities to submit their proposals was August 31.  Eventually, UCPR council will decide on which proposal to accept.