Ecolys® - a business park focusing on sustainability worth (re)discovering
On Friday, 24 September, the BEP organised an Ecolys® business park (re)discovery day. Twelve years after it was established, the park boasts 17 companies and almost 500 jobs. The environmental concerns and urban planning requirements linked to the development of the Ecolys® park will serve as examples for other business parks.
Ecolys®, a park centred on sustainability
The Ecolys® business park, located at the approach to the Walloon capital near a motorway interchange and three airports, was established in 2009. It has been developed as an extension of the Namur Nord – Rhisnes park, on 45 hectares (an additional 18 ha in 2016) and focuses on the theme of sustainable construction and short circuits.
Ecolys® is the second themed park in the Province of Namur (after Crealys®). BEP Expansion Economique is a pioneer in this area, convinced from the outset that the added value of a business park lies in the services on offer, its image and the philosophy it upholds.
Sustainable construction and short circuits are, in many respects, part of the DNA of the Namur region. This can be seen, for example, in the dynamism of ‘Bois & Habitat’, the presence of two major clusters in the sector (Eco-construction Cluster and Cap2020), the predominance of construction companies in the region and the many initiatives taken to create a sustainable and harmonious living environment (eco-district).
The environmental concerns in the design of the Ecolys® park, as well as the urban planning requirements for companies, will serve as examples for other business parks.
Ecolys®, attractive to companies
In 12 years, the park has seen many developments, such as the arrival of flagship companies (Coexpair, Actibel, Carlier Bois, Bajart, La Maison Ecologique, Cofeo Services and others), ISO14001 environmental certification and the development of services like the Express line run by the Walloon public transport company TEC (replacing ‘Mobi-ParcS’).
On 24 September this year, the BEP organised a visit to the park including in particular the recent premises of La Ressourcerie Namuroise, the Business Village by Actibel, the Eco-construction Cluster or the Cafés Delahaut building.
The inauguration of the GAMMA relay hall (photo), intended to welcome young start-ups, was also on the programme. In addition to these practical achievements, new projects are emerging at Ecolys®, such as the forthcoming establishment of Wallonia’s first digital control tower.
Twelve years after it was established, Ecolys® boasts 17 companies and almost 500 jobs.
Non-building land converted into market gardening zones
The ‘sustainable’ theme at Ecolys® continues in the European ‘IMAGINE’ project (an Interreg North-West Europe project), headed by the BEP since January 2019. It aims to fight unemployment among young people by offering them the prospect of lasting employment in sectors such as market gardening and fruit growing. The BEP is coordinating the finalisation of the pilot initiative in the Namur region, structured around a local partnership with the Paysans-Artisans cooperative, the FOREM training and employment agency, the Mission wallonne des secteurs verts, which focuses on green sectors, and the CPAS de Namur (social welfare centre).
These young people, unskilled, unemployed and untrained, take practical courses in the field, among other things. At Ecolys® in particular, the BEP has set aside a 40-are non-building zone in the park for plant production (350 apple trees and 180 pear trees), run by the Paysans-Artisans cooperative.
These areas of land, currently unoccupied or unusable, are suitable for market gardening and could become drivers for job creation and social innovation.
Ultimately, if this model turns out well, the BEP could make available to other interested structures or communes tools and good practices to help set up this scheme on their dormant land.
Experience the Ecolys day on our social networks
Would you, too, like to (re)discover Ecolys®? Follow the BEP Facebook page or Instagram account and read the interviews and overviews of the day posted there.