Mayor aims to fulfill development campaign goal

Tyler Clarke
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As Prince Albert’s outward expansion continues, Mayor Greg Dionne wants to see more private developers ready land for neighbourhoods, instead of city crews.


“Why tie up millions of dollars of taxpayer monies on land development when we (can) get private development?” Dionne asked after Monday’s executive committee meeting.

“At the end of the day, all we want available is lots for sale in our city in different areas, and to me that can be done by private developers.”

During the meeting, the city’s elected officials pondered how future stages of the Crescent Acres development at the city’s east hill area will be constructed.

A city administration report outlines a plan for the city to develop 141 lots on Hadley Road, Greenshields Lane and Payton Crescent -- roads to the east and north of Smiley Drive.

“At the end of the day, we don’t need to develop 141 lots, when we have private developers out there,” Dionne argued -- a sentiment that was later backed by a handful of other councillors.

“At the end of the day our developers have said they don’t want us competing with them -- they want a level playing field,” Coun. Rick Orr said.

During last year’s municipal election, Dionne’s campaign included the reformation of private development -- his election brochure reading that he “would propose selling land to private developers with them being responsible for all infrastructure needs for new residential development in Prince Albert.”

“We sure lived up to our election campaign to go with private developers to build our lots,” he said sarcastically during Monday’s meeting.

“Whose election campaign?” Coun. Martin Ring countered.

Why tie up millions of dollars of taxpayer monies on land development when we (can) get private development? Mayor Greg Dionne

The 141 lots that make up Crescent Acres’ stages 4a, 4b and 5a would cost the city an estimated $6.7 million in construction and receive $10.6 million in revenue, should the city realize an average lot sales price of $74,852.

By selling the bare land off to a private developer to deal with, the city would receive comparable revenue with a lessened headache, Dionne argued after Monday’s meeting.

Smiley Drive has taken the city a few years to develop, with city crews constantly taken off that project to take on other issues in the city, Dionne said, arguing that a private developer would handle such a project more quickly.

“When you get a private developer, you sell them a subdivision, you tell them what that’s going to be -- you tell them how many low rentals there’ll be, how many affordable housing, the density, the lot size,” he said.

“So, there is a formula to get what the city needs out of private development without doing it themselves.”

Although keen on seeing private developers take on such projects, Dionne noted support for the city retaining control of the 61 lots that make up phase 4a -- land he hopes to see used for affordable housing.

The city’s elected officials will tackle this issue again during their next city council meeting on Monday, Dec. 9, during which Dionne anticipates a greater debate among councillors will take place, with administration providing them with more information. 

Geographic location: Hadley Road, Prince Albert

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