Admin advises council to reject property donation offer

Prince Albert City Hall -- Herald File Photo.

City administrators have urged council to reject a Prince Albert couple’s offer to donate a one-quarter acre property on 18th Street East in exchange for a $21,250 donation receipt.

The site used to be the home of a rental property that was demolished in 2018 following a severe fire. The property owners made a formal offer in June 2020 after discussions with the City’s planning and development department. They also offered to pay the taxes right up until the date the offer was made.

Administration recommended against accepting the offer due to concerns about the state of the property. There were also concerns about future maintenance and assessment costs, and the glut of similar city-owned properties already on sale in the area for $1.

In a report included in Monday’s council meeting agenda package, Financial Services Director Cheryl Tkachuk wrote that the City already has trouble selling similar properties, and didn’t need to take on others.

“There is currently no benefit for the City to take on this property,” Tkachuk wrote. “This property is not very attractive.”

The City does not know how much the land is worth, and paying for an assessment would cost between $400 and $600. Tkachuk wrote that City staff would need to clean-up the site, which could cost up to $30,000 depending on the severity of the work. She estimated maintenance costs at around $200 every two weeks.

Although there is no debris on the property, City administrators say the land still needs to be properly leveled. There are also concerns about flooding risks due to poor reclamation.

Utilities on the property were not disconnected properly and removed before the demolition, and the City would have to pay for any tree or shrub overgrowth that required maintenance or removal.

The property donation report is one of 15 reports from administration and committees on the agenda for Monday’s council meeting. Those reports include an update on the City’s Back Alley Curfew Bylaw, which was implemented last June, along with a development permit application for a new Residential Care Home at 2201 First Avenue West.

Council will also hear presentations from two youth delegations: the Heart of the Youth Community Powwow and Communities Building Youth Futures Prince Albert.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m. in City Hall.