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TEMPORARY DIGS – Once again, members of city council met in the Heritage Room for their Monday evening meeting. Work continues in revamping the audio-visual system in the regular council chambers. Inset Robert Fendrick

Country lots will be sold at market value

Two new country residential lots in Mary Lake will indeed be priced at market value, at $230,000 each.

By Stephanie Waddell on April 10, 2018

Two new country residential lots in Mary Lake will indeed be priced at market value, at $230,000 each.

In a 6-1 vote at Monday’s city council meeting, members approved third reading of a bylaw to allow for the sale of the new 1.36- and 1.38-hectare country residential properties on Fireweed Drive.

Also approved were two residential single lots on Sandpiper Drive in Arkell priced at $127,300 for the 663 square metre site and $137,900 for the larger 718 square metre property.

Coun. Samson Hartland was the only member to vote against the final reading of the bylaw. As he has previously, he argued it’s time for the city to get out of the land disposition business.

Before voting against the sale of the land at market value though, Hartland joined Coun. Dan Boyd in favour of a motion Boyd had put forward. That motion urged council to defer the decision in order to look at other pricing options for the properties, particularly the two in Mary Lake.

While Hartland said he ultimately believes the city needs to leave the land disposition business, he also said he could support Boyd’s proposal in principle.

In bringing forward the motion to defer, Boyd explained that he had already received a lot of feedback on the high price of the lots in Mary Lake.

Boyd argued the city should consider pricing options for land that would be more affordable. He cited one of council’s strategic priorities to help address affordable housing in the city.

Boyd acknowledged that country residential properties are not meant to provide affordable housing. He said he also doesn’t want the city to be “part of the problem” in the high pricing of lots around the city.

“I think we’re part of the problem when we price to what the market will bear,” he said.

While the higher prices may aim to prevent potential property flips, Boyd noted, there could be other ways to ensure that doesn’t happen, while also keeping the prices down.

Others, however, argued against Boyd’s proposal.

Coun. Roslyn Woodcock called herself “vehemently opposed” to going outside of the market value on lots.

There is such a high demand for lots right now, the city needs to go with market value, she said.

Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu also highlighted the strong demand for lots in the city in arguing that the process should not be held up.

If the city wants to pursue different pricing options for land disposition, Curteanu argued, it should be a more comprehensive exercise that would take some time. Right now, lots are needed, she pointed out.

Mayor Dan Curtis also highlighted the need for properties to open up. He cited the demand for the most recent residential properties available in Whistle Bend – where 103 people entered a lottery for 57 residential lots last week.

Though four lots will not address the overall housing problem, every little bit helps, Curtis said. Land development is one of the most important things the city does, he added.

Coun. Rob Fendrick attended the meeting by conference call. He echoed the mayor’s sentiment, stating he’s “totally in favour” of making the lots available.

It’s a situation the city needs to move on, Fendrick said.

With that, council passed third reading of the bylaw for the lot disposition – with Hartland being the lone councillor to vote against it.

It’s anticipated the lottery for the four lots will be held in mid-August.

At that point, utility installations – power and telecommunications for all, along with water and sewer services in Arkell – are expected to have been completed.

Comments (7)

Up 4 Down 0

Stan Winter on Apr 11, 2018 at 3:24 pm

"That motion urged council to defer the decision in order to look at other pricing options for the properties"
So, why not hold a lottery and price the lots somewhere between market value and development cost which should be very low. Why not give some fortunate people a break.

Council is out of touch which Josey Wales and others have noted. We need better people on council and its time for a new mayor. I do hope some good people put their names forward for the next location.

It's important that there be some level of trust and support for council which I do not see because they have not earned it.
If you support the mayor, I say Not In My Back Yard.

Up 3 Down 0

Jayne W on Apr 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm

I will be surprised if COW has the telecommunication and power work done by August. Lucky landowner can start building when the snow flies. I would suggest the City getting their trail ducks in a row. I see a Whistlebend trail use saga happening in about two years time.
YTG will be selling lots in Cowley Creek and Hidden Valley next, I am curious how they are going to set their pricing.
I hope voters are excited for the next election as much as I am. I am seeing only a few worthy candidates on the present council. There needs to be a housing plan not band aids.

Up 4 Down 0

Sillig on Apr 11, 2018 at 1:12 pm

You can't get more scandalous than this. Q: Why does one want to be a politician? A: to set oneself up financially. What do these folks care about the common folks? Common folks who can make a really good living and not be able to afford a house in this hick town.
Good for you Councilors, get voted out but still make a half million on the sale of your 'Yukon built' house you helped to keep inflated when you retire and head south.
Open some lots at half that bu#$%^t price.

Up 5 Down 1

Josey Wales on Apr 10, 2018 at 8:37 pm

There ya go folks...the greedy b**tards do what they wish anyway.
The bar is raised yet higher still, ensuring that canyon between the haves and have nots get wider and wider.
Market value they say...what does communities of our number pay their Lords and nobles?
Any other wee village of ...hell I will give ya 35 k even, have the level of fat in their community pot, pay their mayor six figures, pay the nobles as ours for a p/t job, decorate their wee village like Disney Land and Vegas, have the best shiny trucks, sleds and quads...does the community’s I speak of total government even match our By-law staff numbers and budget?
Yes I know...Google it Josey.
Merely trying to make a point, we are a wee town...we best start fiscally act like one.
Being greedy b**tards trying to recover a trace amount of monies, the very same team...PISSED away many millions more as a direct result of IMO entitlement both nobility and management, voluminous level of what can only be deemed stupidity outta that castle.
Doing precisely the same as their ideological counterparts are doing in Ottawa, sticking it to the mere peasants gathering as much gold as their dragon needs.
Around town as of late given our chronic dismissal from ma lord and his nobility, the only thing missing?
Some dude/dudette dressed in burlap, pulling a cart... chiming a bell...
“ bring out your dead...ding...bring out your dead”

Up 4 Down 0

My Opinion on Apr 10, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Yep!!! Of course this has nothing what so ever to do with the high cost of buying a home. Do you guys live in a bubble or what?

Up 5 Down 0

PedroFerrero on Apr 10, 2018 at 3:25 pm

Laughably obscene valuations. Some of those overpaid councillors should pull their snouts out of the trough for a moment and wake up and smell the coffee ( specially-formulated bureaucrat dark and filthy brew provided by the taxpayers of course ). Pathetic.

Up 4 Down 0

ProScience Greenie on Apr 10, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Bankers are happy. Real estate types are happy. Developers are happy. Their political minions are happy. Anyone making six figures plus a year is happy.

Meanwhile, those making less than that, not so much as they haven't a hope in hell of coming up with a quarter million just for a lot, let alone another quarter million for a basic house. And to add more hurt to it all rentals are hard to find and more expensive. Not a pretty picture for many.

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