Council touts benefits of new entertainment district during Monday meeting

Prince Albert City Hall -- Herald File Photo

To clear up some confusion around Prince Albert’s newest development, Coun. Blake Edwards asked Administration for clarification about the details of The Yard’s development and what the addition of the district means for the City during Monday’s Council meeting.

According to Edwards, only one year after Signature Developments did a soft announcement for interested business investors, 75 per cent of sites located within The Yard District have already been sold.

“There’s a number of very exciting businesses that are being built out there,” said Edwards. “It seems like not only was this a want in the community, this was a need in the community to have a development like this.”

Director of Financial Services Ramona Fauchoux gave a few examples of what the municipal share of taxes would look like for different businesses that may end up in the brand new entertainment district. A hotel is currently in the works for The Yard and once it’s up and running, the City is set to receive approximately $200,000 in taxes from it per year. Examples of future potential businesses that may go up in the location include a car dealership with a municipal share of taxes in the amount of $180,000, a fast food restaurant with a municipal share of taxes in the amount of $50,000, and a strip mall that would generate around $90,000 in municipal taxes. 

“So that’s four examples of buildings and we’re talking approximately 15 lots that they have out there,” Edwards said. “You know what, that’s pretty amazing. That’s well done and it’s going to support our beautiful aquatics centre and two rinks that are planned so far.”

Compared to other cities in Saskatchewan, Prince Albert ranks sixth for approved debt limit per capita since the approval of extending the City’s debt limit to $120,000, according to Fauchoux.

Mayor Greg Dionne said to keep in mind that number one and two on the list is the City of Saskatoon, with Moose Jaw coming in seventh place, meaning there are three smaller cities in the province with more debt than Prince Albert.

“In order to move businesses forward, a city forward, it’s an unfortunate reality that you have to incur some debt,” Edwards said. “We’re really quite low in comparison.”

To end off his inquiry, Edwards asked that Craig Guidinger, the Director of Planning, explain what services are included in the purchase of the land that will be used to develop the new aquatic and arenas recreation centre located in The Yard. 

While the list is not exhaustive, Guidinger pointed out several differences between raw land and what was purchased by the City, including land clearing, lighting, water, storm sewer, sanitary sewer, curbs, sidewalks, and widening of Marquis Road. 

After hearing from Guidinger, Edwards confirmed he would be submitting a formal inquiry to Administration that will be available for the public to read in the near future, regarding the site and what services are included.