13.02.2024 - Support

Valmiera industrial park project ready to roll at last

After a decade of discussion and planning, it finally seems that Latvia's northern city of Valmiera is to get a major new industrial park.
An agreement concluded by the municipality of Valmiera with the Central Finance and Contract Agency provides for a 20-million-euro investment in the new park which is potentially important not only for Valmiera city and district but for the whole of the northern Vidzeme region.

Close to the Valmiera ring road and the railwaystation there is currently an open area of ​​55 hectares where Valmiera Industrial Park will be built.

Maija Zālamane, chief project manager of the municipality of Valmiera region, emphasizes that such a large area was necessary when thinking about development.

"If we want to develop a really functional industrial park, attract investments to the Valmiera region, create new jobs with high-tech production lines and equipment, then a small corner or one production building or a renovated old building is not enough. There will be many hectares, with connected communications," says Zālamane.

The idea for a new industrial area was born ten years ago, because there were almost no suitable places for business in Valmiera, so the land, as the Chairman of the Valmiera County Council Jānis Baiks (For Valmiera and Vidzeme) explains, was looked for in the neighboring Beverīna district.

"Then this long journey began, because this was state land, it was in a different administrative area, then in Beverīna district, we went step by step, and the border was changed," says Baiks.

The process of changing the borders was not easy, the residents of Beverin County also began to

"There was a lot of resistance, including misunderstandings, we have gone through public consultation several times, because those points of the law state that it is not just once, but must be repeated several times. These procedures are very long, complicated and time-consuming to get to something like that, but I I think that in the circumstances we are in, such industrial development should be given the green light and all possible ways to help investors come in and create new jobs should be facilitated to the maximum," says Baiks.

There was another challenge, too. During the survey of the territory, it was concluded that there is extensive military pollution, because during the Second World War there were ammunition stores here and it was estimated that up to 500 explosive objects could be found on the territory.

"Only after the remediation of the military pollution took place could digging begin. Currently, the good news is that this area is safe from military pollution, so this work is simultaneously for business development and at the same time we eliminate the danger for future generations," says Zālamane.

Now the work on the creation of the infrastructure can begin, and for this purpose, according to Jānis Baiks, European Union funding worth of 20 million euros has been allocated.

"This was a special program for the whole of Latvia, Valmiera applied, and we have won this competition. Water supply, sewerage, electricity supply will be brought to this territory, so all the necessary networks and infrastructure will be prepared so that after renting a free piece of land, an investor can come who is interested in building a factory here," Baiks says.

Sandis Svarinskis, the deputy executive director of the municipality of Valmiera district, emphasizes that this industrial area will not only be for the development of Valmiera, but also for the entire region.

"By attracting these funds, after long negotiations, it has been achieved that the railway infrastructure is also supported here, the total length of the railway infrastructure will be 3.5 kilometers, and the idea here is that the largest loading and unloading area of ​​goods in Vidzeme could also be created. This project is ambitious, and this is actually an object of national importance," says Svarinskis.

Now the main thing is to attract investors who would like to develop their business here. Works on the creation of infrastructure in the industrial park are expected to be completed within two years.

Authors: Gunta Matisone (Latvian Radio) (www.eng.lsm.lv)
Photo: Latvian Radio (LR)

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