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Council to discuss development subsidy at special meeting

PHOTO. RMWB Council meets on June 25, 2019, to hear from community leaders from rural communities like Fort Chipewyan and Conklin about the education crisis gripping those areas. MYMCMURRAY.COM/Phil Wood.

Discussion around downtown revitalization is expected at Monday’s special council meeting.

In an effort to make downtown and Waterways more attractive for developments, administration is recommending that there be a 100 per cent subsidy for the offsite levy for non-residential development.

In this case downtown is from MacDonald Island to the southern edge of Waterways.

Additionally, council will discuss a 60 per cent subsidy for all non-residential development in other offsite levy benefiting areas and for developer charges in rural areas.

Between 2010 and 2018, when the incentives expired, 15 developments were able to save 60 per cent in offsite levies, coming in at around $4.5 million subsidized by the municipality.

The new incentives would be effective immediately on an interim basis until Dec. 31, 2020.

During that time research will be done on incentives, which will be introduced to council for consideration.

Offsite levies are used to recover capital costs for infrastructure improvements for new development or growth, while development charges are used in areas not covered by the offsite levies.

You can have your say when it comes to downtown revitalization through the municipality’s survey, or by attending the next engagement session at the Urban Market on July 10.

Mayor Scott will also bring forward a motion to address the need for the East Clearwater Highway.

On June 25, 2019, Mayor Scott said he intends to bring forward a motion to draft letters to various levels of government saying that the highway is our region’s top transportation priority and the benefits it would provide.

Council will also discuss expanding the St. Vincent Cemetery in Conklin onto municipally-owned land.

Changes to the capital budget will also be brought forward as the Fire Suppression System in Fire Hall #2 has been cancelled, as well at the potential to buy back land in Conklin.

Tuesday’s meeting

Council will discuss the Well Drilling Equipment Tax Bylaw, which is projected to bring in $1,300,000 in 2019.

The bylaw, which was introduced in 1948, is a way to offset costs associated with repairing roads from well drilling activity.

While the public hearing for the Jina Burn Chess Park in Dickinsfield has been withdrawn, there will be a public hearing about the Land Use Bylaw in respect of project accommodations.

Presentations are expected to be made by OSCA, Civeo Corporation and Building Industry and Land Development (BILD) Wood Buffalo.

Civeo has argued that the report showing 31 per cent of the region’s population lives in work camps was done during the “single largest turnaround peak in Canadian history” and that a peak in April, when the report was done, is normal.

The company will also propose several changes to the proposed Land Use Bylaw.

Council will also appoint members to the 2022 Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games Host Society.

It’s also expected to approve submission of a nomination for CAO Annette Antoniak and the Financial Services Department.

They’ve submission would be for the 2019 Alberta Urban Municipalities Association Above and Beyond Award for their work on the zero-based budgeting initiative introduced in 2017.