La Nation’s Innovation Commercial Park is nearly full, and efforts are being made to expand it further.

On January 11, La Nation Council approved three by-laws to authorize the sale of lots in the business park, which is located near Limoges and Highway 417.  One of the lots was sold to Ian Barrett Restorations Inc. of Rockland for $65,180.50.  The two other lots were sold to two numbered companies for $78,912.50 and $74,175.00 each.

At the meeting, there was no further discussion or debate among council regarding the sale of the lots.

According to a map of the Innovation Commercial Park, it was originally subdivided into 20 lots.  La Nation Mayor François St-Amour said that as of February 4, only one lot remained available and that the municipality was negotiating with a prospective buyer.

However, La Nation wants to expand the business park.  On January 27, United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) Council accepted an offer that would involve a trade of UCPR-owned land adjacent to the commercial park in exchange for a road improvement project.

A similar UCPR-La Nation exchange has occurred before.  In 2013, the UCPR gave 65 acres along Pommainville Road to the municipality for the site of its new Department of Public Works headquarters.  After building the public works facility, La Nation subdivided the remaining land for the business park.  In return for the land from the UCPR in 2013, La Nation gave the counties the old road allowance rights-of-way in the Larose Forest.

“We want to do something similar,” said St-Amour.

Under a proposal approved by UCPR mayors on January 27, La Nation will acquire 214 acres of wooded land adjacent to the existing Innovation Commercial Park at zero-dollar cost.  The land is valued at $2,500 per acre.  However, in return for the land, La Nation will upgrade a 1.2-kilometre section of the Clarence-Cambridge Boundary Road that it jointly shares responsibility for with the City of Clarence-Rockland.  The section of road is a popular access route to two trail parking areas in the Larose Forest.  The cost of the road improvements is estimated at $400,000.

The land La Nation wants to acquire is presently part of a Rural Policy Area under the UCPR Official Plan.  According to a report from Director of Planning and Forestry Louis Prévost, the municipal zoning in place for the land permits the business park at the site, but the business park should be under the same Official Plan designation as other developments like it across the counties, such as a Trade and Industry designation.

Prévost recommended that UCPR Council approve proceeding with plans to exchange land for the business park in return for the Larose Forest road improvements, but that the plan be conditional upon the UCPR applying the Trade and Industry designation to the land the next time it updates the Official Plan, which is done every five years.  The last time the UCPR Official Plan was updated was in 2018.

The UCPR mayors approved the proposal as Prévost had recommended.

St-Amour said that it could be up to three years before the Official Plan changes required for the Innovation Commercial Park land exchange are in place.