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Summerside commits $4 million to construct first building in new environmentally conscious industrial park

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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — The city has committed $4 million to the construction of the first building in the Summerside Business Commons (formerly known as the Summerside Eco-Park.)

City council voted unanimously at a special Nov. 1 meeting to pay its share of the $7 million project. The federal and provincial governments have tentatively agreed to make up the difference and provide $2 million and $1 million respectively.

A tender for construction was issued last winter and received two bids. If the funding commitments from the other levels of government are finalized, the city hopes to start construction in April 2023.

When shovels go into the ground on this project, it will be the culmination of more than a decade of work.

“It’s been a long journey,” said Mike Thususka, director of Summerside’s economic development efforts. “This investment that council has made is a long-term investment, it’s going to take time to bring it to fruition. Obviously, the first building ... is the impetus to start kicking things off and we’re quite excited about it.”

Mayor Basil Stewart noted that the new building will be a great economic asset for the city and will bring jobs to the community. “We gotta thank the economic development committee … with the support of council, to get this in place and finally to get a nice big building there with large a number of jobs in it. That was a lot of work,” said Stewart.

The Summerside Business Commons, located on Greenwood Drive, is envisioned as a unique take on a traditional industrial park. Construction of the 14-acre facility’s infrastructure was completed in 2019 and the city has been working towards adding the first building ever since. The park includes several environmentally conscientious design elements meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from tenants. The structure the city has committed to building is a 16,000-square-foot light manufacturing facility, which will be the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada. Designed by Charlottetown’s Open Practice Inc. – Collaborative Architecture, the building will feature several innovations intended to significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

For example, a geothermal system will heat the structure and its foundation, walls and ceiling will all have several times the amount of insulation required by the Canada Building Code to help keep that heat contained. It will also be partially bermed with earth to help reduce insulation costs. A product called Solar Wall will also help reduce heat loss in the air exchange system by pumping incoming air through a series of tubes integrated into the building’s siding, which is heated passively by the sun, and then ducting it through super-efficient air exchangers. It will also reduce its need for indoor artificial lighting by using a series of mirrored ducts (called solar tubes) to reflect natural sunlight from the roof into otherwise windowless spaces throughout the building.

Artificial light will automatically compensate in response to available daylight. In terms of the internal layout of the building, it will feature a shared shipping and receiving dock, which can be isolated to reduce energy loss. There will be six suites in the structure with their own partitionable offices and industrial facilities, but features like washrooms and boardrooms will be shared among all the tenants to help maximize space. Though the building itself will initially be powered solely by the city’s existing grid, it was designed with the future addition of a solar power array on its roof in mind.

Colin MacLean is a reporter with the SaltWire Network in Prince Edward Island. He can be reached by email at and followed on Twitter @JournalPMacLean
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