The manufacturing industry employs approximately 1.7 million people and accounts for more than 10% of Canada’s GDP with over $318 billion worth of goods being exported by manufacturers each year (Canadian manufacturing sector gateway, 2017). Industrial parks provide opportunities for manufacturers to be co-located in an area that is zoned and planned for industrial development. These parks are marketed to attract investment as they offer well-equipped infrastructure and services, and are designed to meet the needs of most industries (Fernández and Ruiz, 2009; Zhao et al 2017; World Bank, n.d.). Costs are lower in these parks as services such as waste removal, security and cleaning can be shared and businesses can benefit from economies of scale (Ramos & Fonseca, 2016; Zhao et al 2017). Sharing of water, materials and energy have also resulted in environmental and economic benefits including decreased greenhouse gas emissions (Eckelman & Chertow, 2013). Further benefits occur when waste products of one manufacturer become the raw products of another (Zhao et al 2017). Communities also benefit from industrial parks as they create job opportunities, increase the area’s tax base through direct and indirect taxes on business operations and provide revenue for public services (DiPietro & Everson, 2006; Ramos & Fonseca, 2016, Miller, et all, 2005). Businesses in the park frequently use the services of local companies which can lead to further employment opportunities and an economic advantage for the region (Memedović, et al ,2012)
When siting or determining the most suitable location for an industrial park, academic literature emphasizes the need to evaluate socioeconomic, physical and environmental factors (Ruiz et al, 2012; Zhao et al, 2017; Leigh et al, 2014; Fernández and Ruiz, 2009). These include such criteria as distances from urban areas and roads, the slope of the land, distance to water sources, the depth of the water table, the type of soil and how the land is currently being used. (Ruiz et al, 2012; Zhao et al 2017; Leigh et al, 2014.). These factors can have a significant impact on the siting as too great or too small a slope or sandy or clay soil may, for example, increase the costs of building or can make the site unsuitable for development (Ruiz et al, 2012; Leigh et al, 2014; Swinton and Kesik, 2008). Siting a park too close to an urban centre can have disastrous results as demonstrated in 2013 when an industrial chemical facility exploded in the United States causing 15 deaths, injuries to more than 260 people and damaging 150 buildings including schools, a nursing home and an apartment building (Tinney et al, 2016). While this is an extreme case, it does emphasize the need to ensure that industrial parks are located a safe distance from urban developments. By assessing site options, local or regional officials and industrial developers gain information that is important from an economic and job creation perspective. Identification of a “best site” can make the selection process more efficient and the construction phase easier as a number of factors have already been taken into consideration (Fernandez & Ruiz, 2009).
A GIS-based weighted multi-criteria evaluation analyses site-specific criteria and constraints to identify not only the suitability of locations within a study area, but also the best overall site. For example, GIS has been used successfully as a (decision-making) tool to site industrial parks as evidenced in Isfahan and in Ardabil Iran where criteria such as distance from residential areas, roads and railways, water supplies as well as protected areas, current land use, the degree of slope and the depth of the underground water table were used (Reisi et al, 2011; Fataei et al, 2015). It was also successfully used in Northern Spain where socio-economical (e.g. population, workforce costs), physical-environmental (e.g. soil, land use, water availability) and infrastructures and urban development factors e.g. transportation infrastructures, energy and water supply) were analyzed and evaluated leading to the identification of the most appropriate zones for industrial development (Ruiz et al, 2012)
Purpose of Research
The purpose of this research is to identify and prioritize land areas that are suitable for establishing an industrial park in the Regional Municipality of Halton, Ontario, using a GIS-based multi-criteria evaluation model.
Objective 1: Identifying Variables Contributing to the Siting of an Industrial Park
Objective 2: Developing A GIS Model
Objective 3: Applying the model to the Halton Region
Objective 4: To Evaluate the Strengths and Limitations of the GIS Based Model