Building for the future

After approving an incentive package for a $15-million luxury hotel development on Monday, some city councillors have already turned their eyes further down the road.

Several of the city’s elected officials are hoping to see policies put in place to boost further development in the area, rather than doing one-off deals with individual businesses.

Ward 7 Coun. Dennis Nowoselsky was the most vocal proponent of creating a new policy, which he believes will level the playing field for new businesses and streamline the approval process.

“I just wanted to see some fair guidelines so the next businessman or next businesswoman that comes in with a similar plan gets the same fair shake, and unless we have a better policy, that’s going to be too arbitrary,” he said.

Nowoselsky and Terra Lennox-Zepp were the only two councillors to vote against the proposal Monday. However, the Ward 7 councillor said he doesn’t oppose the development, he just thinks other new businesses should receive a similar deal.

Ideally he’d like Prince Albert to develop something similar to the City of Moose Jaw’s policy, which grants new businesses a five-year tax exemption on the increased assessment after construction. The policy also applies to existing businesses building expansions.

“In other cities they have a base investment tax incentive investment policy, and if you stick fairly close to that, you don’t have these controversies getting hot and heavy, and it’s fair to everybody,” Nowoselsky explained.

Not every member of council was on board with the plan. On Monday, Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne told councillors that a “cookie-cutter policy” wouldn’t work, and that special developments, like the Best Western Premier Hotel, require specific deals to make them work.

For the rest of this story, please see the Oct. 18 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.

Thierman Financial