Harley Twp. may only have a population of 550 people, but it does have a strategic location which businesses are finding attractive.
Located just north of New Liskeard, Highway 11 runs through the township and its new industrial park fronts it.
The park’s 24 lots became available in 2012 and currently only six remain.
“We started this about 10 years ago, and we had a lot of problems because of the entrance from the highway, and we needed a left-turning lane, so there was a lot of negotiations over the years with the Ministry of Transportation because of this,” said township clerk-treasurer Michel Lachapelle.
Construction began on the park in 2011. The township is home to a mixture of farms and entrepreneurs running construction and contractor businesses on their residential properties.
“We thought it would be better to put an industrial park in so we don’t have to upgrade all the roads for heavy traffic since we can’t really afford that,” he said.
There are quite a few contractors that have purchased the lots, but the park has attracted businesses from Quebec and Toronto.
Some companies have also bought more than one lot.
“On the lots facing the highway, we have a container company, which modifies containers to customer specifications and then delivers to your location,” Lachapelle said.
A plumbing company is also fronting the highway and a modular home manufacturer will display houses on its lot to gain visibility.
The 80-acre park doesn’t offer sewer and water so all tenants have to have their own wells and sewage systems, which is reflected in the price of the lots.
One of its tenants is KD Pellets, which is expected to begin operations this summer and is located behind the front lots.
The township received $282,000 in Fed-Nor funding to enhance the electrical service to the park, mostly for the pellet plant.
“Thanks to the funding, Harley Industrial Park will be able to accommodate a value-added wood product plant and a heavy equipment operation,” said Harley Reeve Pauline Archambault in a press release.
“This investment will not only create 35 new jobs for our community, it will also expand our tax base.” Lachapelle said the municipality has limited resources due to its size so if it wants something, it has to plan for it way in advance.
“We saw there was a need for the industrial park and now we have our left turn lane into it so it was worth the wait,” he said.
“It has been a success story and we are pretty proud of it.”