Councillor calls for more incentives to spur development in Prince Albert

City Councillor Don Cody said the City needs more incentive for building developers after 2023 Land Budget Overview reveals Land Fund revenue is down by $50,000.

“You know what our problem is folks?” said Cody during Wednesday evening’s budget committee meeting. “We’ve got to start promoting this stuff. We need an incentive program; we don’t have an incentive program for anything, and we wonder why it’s going down and why we don’t sell.”

According to the 2023 Land Fund Budget Overview, the 2023 budget is forecasting the sale of five lots in Crescent Acres at an average sale price of $90,000 for a total revenue of $450,000. This is a decrease of 10 per cent from the 2022 budget.

One of the primary sources of revenue for the Land Fund are land sales – which include both residential and commercial/industrial land sales. Year to date, no lots in Crescent Acres have been sold.

Cody said the City needs to create an incentive program for both residential and commercial lots to entice more people into building a home or business in Prince Albert.

“If we don’t start promoting the City, I’ll tell you what, we’re going to sit as a stagnant city like we have been for a long, long time because we don’t promote,” he said. “It’s got to do with our attitudes in this city. The City’s attitude is that we’re no damn good, we’ve got a terrible city. We’ve got crime coming out of our ears, and if we continue to talk about that, that’s what we’re going to get.”

We need to be proud of ourselves, said a frustrated Cody.

“We’ve got the best carpenters in the country, we’ve got the best contractors in the country, the best facilities in the country, the best pulp mills in the country, the best rinks in the country, we’ve got the best education system in the country, the best churches,” he said. “Everything is better than everywhere else, and we’re going to sell five lots. Unbelievable.”

Mayor Greg Dionne expressed his agreement but invited Cody to come to the next Construction Association meeting to see for himself what incentive Dionne has offered to developers.

“I offered them all lots for $1 in Crescent Acres… We are not building until we see the OSB plant, shovel in the ground, we’re not building until we see the hospital. They’ve been promising the hospital for four years now,” said Dionne.

The mayor said despite meeting regularly, the developers are not currently budging.

“We are out there; do we want more? Absolutely,” he said. “In my opinion, our whole job as a City, a Council, is to draw more people here. If we draw more people, more jobs, more restaurants, more housing, more gas stations. For me, that’s my number one priority.”

“We are the largest growing city in the province,” said Coun. Tony Head. “I think a lot of the construction projects have a big part to play here, to the point that that I think it will really help. I don’t think we’re going to need a ton of incentives when we can say we have an OSB plant, we have all these things versus ‘it’s coming, it’s coming’.”

Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick said while it’s slow going, there are new positive developments popping up all over the city.

According to the 2023 Land Budget Overview, Administration has attributed the slowdown in residential lot demand to a number of factors over the past few years including higher prices, Provincial Sales Tax implications on housing/construction costs, mortgage regulations, and the general slump in the Canadian economy.

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