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Councillor concerned about lot prices

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Town council approved a report to establish lot prices for Erin Crescent during its regular meeting on Monday, but one councillor expressed concerns around pricing.

Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft, who voted against the motion to establish lot prices, said the costs outlined in the report are “way too high” and he fears they will go unsold.

“I don't want to see us price these things so high that average people can't buy these lots, because we want to sell them,” he explained.

Coun. Weidenhoeft stressed that once sold, these properties will contribute to the town's tax base which is council's goal with any residential developments.

The approved report regarding Erin Crescent lists the lots between $63,900 and $115,200, with the average cost being just under $75,000. The price per square meter totals $95.85.

The lots are priced to allow the town to recuperate the $2.13 million it spent on developing the properties.

Although, Coun. Wiedenhoeft argues that there's no policy in place that requires costs to be fully recovered from the Erin Crescent development.

At Monday night's meeting he said pricing the lots at $86 per square meter would bring the 12 cheapest lots under $60,000, making them more appealing to potential buyers.

“When you hit that $60,000 threshold and above you're really going to scare people away,” Coun. Wiedenhoeft reasoned.

“Our total cost recovery at this rate would only be $1.8 million, and so we would be short a couple hundred thousand dollars from cost recovery but that is not our goal.”

“Our longterm goal is to sell lots and generate tax revenue through buildings being put up,” he added.

“Yes we want to recoup our costs but at what price? If we don't sell very many lots we are not going to recoup our development costs anyway.”

If 20 lots are sold out of the 27 it would generate over $2 million in 20 years at this year's taxation rate, Coun. Wiedenhoeft noted.

“$2 million in 20 years, that's our goal folks, to generate money through residential tax rates, not through getting our money back from development,” he stressed.

Coun. Wiedenhoeft also told council that he contacted a few places in Emo that have 100x160 meter lots available, which are substantially larger than those along Erin Crescent, and sell anywhere from $26,000 to $45,000.

“My recommendation here, and my hope is that this could go back to committee and the planning and development and executive committee could give this further scrutiny,” he remarked, although, the motion was passed 4-1.

Once the bylaw regarding lot prices is passed by council at a future meeting, an announcement will be made regarding when they will be available for purchase, at the $95.85 per square meter price.

Mayor Caul has indicated that there is already a waiting list to purchase some of the Erin Crescent properties.

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