Municipality needs to find way to cover cost to service business park

Section: 
News

 By Barb McKay

 

The future of Kincardine’s business park lies in the hands of Kincardine council, according a senior planner with BM Ross and Associates.

 

Business owners, developers, municipal staff and members of the Penetangore Regional Economic Development Corporation (PREDC) gathered at the Municipal Administration Centre last Wednesday for a public meeting regarding the servicing master plan for the Kincardine business park at Highways 9 and 21.

 

Plans to develop plots of farm land east of Highway 21 and south of Highway 9 have been underway for more than a decade. At that time, the Municipality purchased a portion of the land, where Canadian Tire, Sobeys and Meridian are located, and spent $1.6 million, or $60,000 per acre to service it with sewer lines, water and storm ponds.

 

Development plans have stalled, however, because of the high cost associated with servicing the remainder of the business park. Cost estimates, which include road construction and water and sewer service extensions, total $10 million, which works out to $80,000 per acre.

 

“At some point we need to get developers and landowners to talk to the municipality and get something going,” said Matt Pearson, of BM Ross, which is creating the master plan. “Council has to say we want to do this and get into some discussions. It is sewer and water and roads, stuff you can physically see, that is driving up the cost of this and it’s not going down, it’s going up.”

 

Pearson said once public and agency consultation on the servicing master plan is complete a report will be made to council; likely within the next couple of months. From there, BM Ross will proceed with an environmental assessment process for a sewage pumping station and a water booster pumping station, both of which are required to completely service the business park. In the meantime, Pearson stressed,

the Municipality needs to come up with a cost recovery strategy for the park, whether it’s through development charges or the creation of an area rating bylaw or a combination of the two.

 

“I know you have people who are keen (to get going),” he said.

 

John Satosek, owner of the Kincardine Canadian Tire, asked if the Municipality could potentially offer incentives, such as lower development fees or tax freezes, to land owners to encourage them to develop the lands.

 

“If a developer has to pay $80,000 per acre here and can get land cheaper somewhere else, they need to have some incentive,” he said.

 

Former mayor Glenn Sutton, who attended the meeting, said while the Municipal Act does not allow for certain breaks, there are ways to make the costs more bearable by spacing them out.

 

Arif Ismail, managing partner of Legacy Hospitality Management and Development Inc, which owns a portion of the business park, said he has been able to work with the Municipality so far and isn’t deterred by the cost.

 

“That $80,000 per acre is a fair amount,” he said.

 

Sutton asked representatives from BM Ross if it would be possible to attract an independent gas station to the business park, which could share the property with Kincardine Tourism, citing the Municipality’s years old plan to build a tourist information centre. He said adding an independent gas station would help to force a reduction in gas prices. His question went unanswered.

 

Pearson said there currently is no time frame to complete the business park, pending a plan to finance the servicing of it. The first phase, once environmental assessments are complete, Ontario Ministry of Transportation approval is given and funding is in place, would be to extend Durham and Russell streets through the business park, connecting them to Millennium Way. Twelve-inch water mains would need to be installed and would connect to the current system at Durham and Russell streets. A water booster pumping station would be needed to carry water to properties closer to Highway 9 because of a slight incline, which would cause a loss of water pressure.

 

The sanitary sewer lines would need to connect to the sewer system at Scott Street.

 

“Because it is so deep we can take advantage of that and get a bit more out of it through surcharging,” said Dale Erb, an engineer with BM Ross.

 

He noted that the Park Street pump station will require upgrades and adding new pumps would be the most economical solution. In addition, two new storm ponds would be required.