While regions of the country from Alberta to New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador have been pitching the development of designated areas for testing and operating unmanned aircraft – Happy Valley Goose Bay has been one of the more prominent – the town of Alma, Quebec has quietly made it happen.

Last week, the municipal council together with the Alma airport and the Unmanned Aerial System Center of Excellence announced construction of new infrastructure dedicated to centre of excellence. Named “Project Essor,” the project includes a hangar and office space, much of which has already been claimed by interested companies.

“Three years ago, the Center was only a great idea. Now we are getting increasingly known and internationally recognized,” said Pascal Pilote, a municipal councillor and president of the Alma Airport and the UAS Center of Excellence. “We envision this project to be the first step into the development of a technology park dedicated to UAVs. Economic benefits that are related will be very significant.”

Earlier this year, the Centre played host to the annual student competition of Unmanned Systems Canada.