Mayor wants city to sell land near La Colle Falls dam

Mayor Greg Dionne listens to a speaker during a debate at City Hall. -- Herald file photo.

A request to lease a piece of city owned property near the La Colle Falls dam has Mayor Greg Dionne asking why the city doesn’t just sell it instead.

The Rural Municipality of Garden River has asked to lease the nearby property as part of a plan to develop a day park on the north side of the North Saskatchewan River.

City council has yet to reach a final decision, but Dionne said he’s ready to sell it outright.

“We’re paying taxes on that land for what?” he said following Monday’s executive city council meeting. “The dam is done. We’re not going to do a development out there. The land serves us no purpose and it’s costing us, so let’s bring a report back and put it up for sale.

“We don’t have a purpose for it,” he added. “We’re not going to develop the land and we’ve had a lots of requests for it, so let’s put it up for sale and get rid of it, and get rid of the cost of paying taxes.”

The City of Prince Albert owns 21-acres of land on the north side of the river, which is where the La Colle Falls dam was supposed to end upon completion. The city also owns land on the south side, including a 19-20 acre parcel.

Craig Guidinger, the city’s planning and development director, said selling the north side property has been a hotly debated topic for 15-20 years.

“We’ve had a number of requests, everything from a lease to an access agreement to the discussion of a road,” Guidinger said during Monday’s executive committee meeting.

”There has been some controversy. There have been some liability issues. There have been some access and trespassing issues with similar types of requests that have always been denied.”

The City of Prince Albert declined a request to sell the land to the R.M. last May. The R.M. needs permission from both the City of Prince Albert and the Ministry of Agriculture to survey a road leading to the park. They have already received permission from the ministry, according to a letter from R.M. administrator Leanne Mack.

Prince Albert city council has asked for a report with options to lease or sell the land to the R.M.

Dionne said he doesn’t know how much the city pays in taxes on the property. He also said the city would be open to selling the land they own on the south side of the dam as well, although he doesn’t expect many offers because it wouldn’t be cost efficient.