The 2010/11/30 at 13:32
No crisis in the province of Quebec. On the south bank of the Saint-Laurent River, facing the city of Quebec, the Chaudière-Appalaches region and its main town Lévis, are in the midst of economic takeoff Right near the Parc Ultramar-les-Écarts reserve, in the heart of an urbanised zone with numerous shops, houses and offices, soon to be inaugurated is Innoparc, a vast new-generation technology park with a sustainable development focus.
Instigator of this project is the town of Lévis, the 3rd largest town in Québec in terms of surface area since 2002, the date when 10 municipalities were grouped together to form this commune 445,000 m2 in size and holding 138,000 inhabitants. The aim is to promote the growth of the “specialist-knowledge economy” on its territory. “The Chaudière-Appalaches region already holds a dozen industrial parks, but does not have any spaces dedicated to technological innovation,” says Philippe Meurant, Development Manager for Lévis. “Innoparc will aim to welcome high-tech activities on a surface area of some 600,000 m2.”
Innoparc will select the R&D establishments, high-technology product and service companies, technical support firms and support services it will host. A preference will be made for key sectors: businesses and research bodies specialising in energy and energy efficiency will receive particular attention. Indeed, Lévis holds the largest petrol refinery in Canada and is also placing its bets on the Rabaska project – an LNG terminal project valued 1 billion dollars drawing together Gaz Métro, Enbridge Inc. and GDF Suez, three leaders of natural gas – and on a new academic chair focusing on energy efficiency to support its development on this level.
Another valued domain of activity is food processing and biofood. The Complexe Technologique du Collège d’Enseignement Général et Professionnel (CEGEP) of Lévis-Lauzon chiefly draws together TransBIOTech, a technology transfer centre specialising in biotechnology, and Ag-Bio Centre, an incubator for businesses specialising in agrobiotechnology. Nutraceutics and robotics, thanks to the presence of the Centre de Robotique et de Vision Industrielle, and transport logistics represent other targeted priority axes for development. In 2007, the town of Lévis signed a partnership accord with the Corporation du Parc Technologique du Québec Métropolitain to benefit from its expertise in the design of Innoparc, supporting businesses that will settle on the site. A system for foreign investment support, put in place by the governments of Québec and Canada, may also be of interest to French businesses and laboratories wishing to transfer their activities.
Phase 1 of the project has already been initiated. A 720-metre-long public road will, from summer 2011 onwards, welcome multi-rental multi-floor buildings. Investments to the total of 6.4 million Canadian dollars (4.5 million euros) will be devoted to work on infrastructures. The first building, offering some 5,000 m2 in rental space, is an eco-energy building with innovative architectural features.
Indeed, the entire Innoparc site is geared towards sustainable development. Aiming for “carbon neutrality”, the park is already a reference in Quebec. “We wanted to develop a ‘green’ project that respects LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) criteria, a North American system for standardising high environmental quality buildings,” says Philippe Meurant. “Subdivision proposals and the positioning of buildings have been thought out in such a way as to maximise the contribution of natural luminosity and outside heat. The layout concept also offers discreet parking spots. LED-type lights, respectful of the environment, will make up public lighting. Rain water will be reused to supply the natural equipment foreseen for the site.”
What’s more, the construction of edifices on available plots must respect the park’s integration. High technology has thus found a green lung. Delineated in the south by the trans-Canadian highway and in the west by the Parc Ultramar-les-Écarts, Innoparc suffers from no shortage of assets.