Town of Battleford council weighs in on business incentives

By Angela Brown
January 22, 2019 - 3:00pm

The Town of Battleford council mulled over a few new requests for abatements from businesses and services at its meeting Monday that fell outside the parameters of the town’s existing policy.

CAO John Enns-Wind related in his report, under the town’s Commercial-Industrial Building Incentive Program, municipal tax portion abatements could be considered for two years for a new building. Under the Developer Incentive Program, municipal tax portion abatements could be considered for five years.

Discovery Co-op food store and pharmacy, which will be coming to Battleford in the spring, had asked for a property tax abatement for three years to undergo what the business described as “extensive renovations” of the former Super A Foods building at 91-22 St. W. Enns-Wind recommended granting the request with a two-year period for the discount instead, to stay within the town’s policy.

While the Co-op venture was for a renovation, rather than a new build, council overall accepted the recommendation proposed for a two-year term abatement.

The CAO said Co-op’s building permit value for the project is almost $700,000. “This is a significant investment into Battleford and is much larger than the value of many buildings along 22 St.,” added Enns-Wind. He also noted the project will be good for the town’s downtown area.

Coun. Susan McLean Tady was opposed to tax discounts catered to individual business requests, however; saying she would rather see a set policy that is fair to all.

“My concern is I don’t want to start something that we’re not prepared to do for other customers of the town,” she said. “If we can come up with a policy that can be offered to all businesses in the town, I would prefer that.”

A separate request was received from Kanaweyimik Child and Family Services Inc. They asked to have the same tax exemption status for their second building at 112-23 St., where they are currently making renovations, similar to their existing site at 91- 23 St.  Enns-Wind said the request doesn’t apply to the Municipal Act so he proposed it be considered as a downtown commercial economic development project. Enns-Wind recommended council table the matter until an incentive program is developed to revitalize downtown so that Kanaweyimik CFS can be included in it. Council agreed to postpone making any decisions on this request. While the item won’t be considered under the Municipal Act, it might be considered an economic development initiative instead.

Council also had a request from Battleford West Properties which asked for an off-site levy fee reduction, according to the CAO’s report. The developer is planning for 33 acreages for this project known as Country Estates, and requested to pay fees as the lots are sold. The total discount would amount to $40,000.

Council ultimately denied the request. The CAO will speak to the developer to look at what other options are available instead. 

  

angela.brown@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: @battlefordsnow

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