By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
The Town of Coaldale is upping the incentives for future industrial developments.
Director of Growth and Investment at the Town, Cameron Mills, brought before council on Feb. 13 an updated industrial incentive policy for consideration.
Mills told council, “The framework of (the policy) has been discussed at a high level,” since administration began looking at the expansion of the industrial park in Coaldale. The Town currently has an industrial incentive policy which offers a one per cent cash rebate for potential projects.
Ongoing efforts to attract investment of commercial/industrial developments, has been the focus of discussion in recent years, and comes at a time when the existing industrial park developed by the town is sold out.
In considering opportunities for further industrial development in Coaldale, Mills said, “Securing private investment in developing the project through incentivisation is a more cost-effective and lower risk approach for the town compared to taking on a new industrial project using municipal funds.
“While there are advantages to (the Town) being the developer, most notably the potential for profitable returns, the flip side is that this type of development does come with the risk of losses and prolonged periods of cashflow restriction.” Providing incentives to developers requires, “substantially lower cash infusion while delivering the same result,” explained Mills.
The updated policy includes a provision outlining potential cost-sharing of internal transportation infrastructure, and additional funding to support a developer can be approved as part of the sharing of provincial and federal grants associated with the project on top of potential municipal financial supports. The policy includes an updated provision for recommendations to support potential for reductions or deferral of off-site levies, as a strategy to provide cashflow support to potential developers.
Finally, the policy outlined a construction incentive program which would offer an incentive to developers upon completion of construction of a new industrial building calculated at three per cent of the value of that building construction.
“Incentives in this case to be paid in some combination of cash or credit against future taxes at administration’s discretion. This means that if a new industrial building is constructed on a lot (with) the value of $1 million we would provide a 30k incentive back to that builder upon project completion,” explained Mills.
Mills said modernizing the policy will, “support (the) existing west industrial Area Structure Plan and serve as a guide for future privately-funded industrial expansion,”
Administration is forecasting the presentation of an offsite levy bylaw to be brought before council in March. A motion was passed to adopt the policy changes.