Downtown Business Incentive Program discussion postponed by council

Patrons walk down Central Avenue during the Downtown Street Fair -- Herald file photo.

Two meeting items related to the Prince Albert Downtown Business Improvement District (PADBID) will be discussed at a future executive committee meeting after the discussion was postponed on Monday.

The draft Downtown Business Incentive Program and a bylaw amendment request were removed from Monday’s agenda at the request of City of Prince Albert representative on the PADBID board, Ward 7 Coun. Dawn Kilmer.

Kilmer said postponing the discussion would give the PADBID board more time to review the items.

“I just want to let the council know that the board works very diligently, (and) does want the same things that the council and the city working toward,” Kilmer said during Monday’s meeting. “However, they don’t get to meet very often in person… We are meeting next Monday and given that opportunity, we’re able to look at the items, discuss the items face to face, and then come up with the direction that that board would like to take.”

Mayor Greg Dionne supported the motion because he believed a face-to-face meeting was the only way to get a better understanding of the items for the PADBID board.

Ward 1 Coun. Charlene Miller supported the motion and having PADBID discuss it.

“It’s important as well with these incentives that we should consider revitalization of our downtown before we do any of this stuff,” Miller said.

City Council unanimously passed the motion.

Council previously reviewed a letter from the Prince Albert Downtown Business Improvement District about the Business Incentive Program at their July 18, 2022 Executive Committee meeting. The letter was then forwarded to the Department of Planning and Development Services for review and a report.

On June 2, the Director of Planning and Development Services, along with the Director of Finance and the City Assessor, again met with members of the PADBID Board to discuss their request for downtown incentives. Through these discussions, it was determined that the program would satisfy their request at this time. The Economic Development Manager will track the success of this

program and will continue to work with PADBID to improve its effectiveness.

Administration believes a vibrant downtown is important because Downtown areas are often the historical and cultural heart of a city. Encouraging development in these areas can breathe new life into aging buildings and infrastructure, making the City more attractive to residents, tourists and businesses. Another reason listed in the report is that vibrant downtowns can act as economic stimulators, attracting a variety of businesses, which can lead to job creation and increased tax revenues.

These were two of five reasons listed in the report.

Administration recommends the development of an incentive program that can attract new business into the downtown core.

The report stated that the best and most common way to incentivize downtown development is through taxation incentives. This program provides a full 100 per cent tax abatement to properties located in the downtown, which is currently not provided in any other area of the City, making this a unique program to the downtown area.