Council delays changes to its incentive grant program

Amending a business development incentive grant program implemented by council last year has been put on hold

Amending a business development incentive grant program implemented by council last year has been put on hold as has an application from a developer who has applied for funds from the program.

Council agreed Jan. 14 to table the application from John Peacock until its Jan. 28 meeting.

Peacock, who has torn down a dilapidated house at 5113-49 Ave. and built a four-plex in its place as a rental property, was hoping to qualify for the program. However, council hesitated to accept his application because the policy states the program is only applicable to private commercial and industrial buildings and private lots zoned for commercial or industrial purposes.

Assistant CAO Melissa Beebe said council, if they wished to approve the application, needed to determine if the request could be classed in the business category, and then amend the policy to include multi-family rental units.

Council also had the option of waiving the policy, she said.

CAO Tony Goode said the rental units are a benefit to the town.

“It seems to me if it’s for infill you could amend the policy to include it. I think it’s good for the town. A positive. We’re not talking huge sums of money here.”

Coun. Paul Payson agreed.

“Fifteen years ago when I was looking for a place to rent I could not find anything here. I do think it’s critical; affordable rental space.”

However, Coun. Gayle Rondeel said she was in favor of the infill project, but did not support approving the grant application.

“Everything about the project was done wrong (in order to apply for the grant),” she said.

Coun. Jack Webb agreed.

“Ever since we’ve been on council, we’ve been encouraging developers to do things properly.”

Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson said the issue was complicated. “I don’t think it’s black on one side and white on the other.”

The business development and incentive grant program offers up to $10,000 in grant payments depending upon the increase in the assessment value once the approved project has been completed.