New apartment building proposed

by Phil Ambroziak

City officials want to ensure Meadow Lake is getting the best bang for its buck.

During the July 8 meeting of city council, local legislators had the opportunity to discuss a request from Dan Godard and Ron Marcotte, developers interested in purchasing a city-owned lot at 601 2nd Ave. West to construct a series of apartment buildings some time in the near future.

“We would like to purchase the lot for $50,000,” the developers wrote in a letter to council.

The letter goes on to indicate preliminary plans for the site, which include six to eight apartment buildings totalling 36 rental units, as well as mixed usage that would provide homes for both regular renters and seniors.

“This will help the city reach both needs of rental usage,” the developers noted.

The duo also stated, upon securing the property and formalizing all the necessary steps prior to development, phase one of the project would begin three years from now if not sooner.

“I have two concerns,” remarked councillor Curtis Paylor. “Firstly, they’re asking to purchase the property for $50,000, but the market value for that land is probably much higher. This should allow for a potential counteroffer on our part. I’m also concerned about their plans to start the first phase of this project three years from now or sooner. The timeframe seems too open-ended.”

Meanwhile, councillor Conrad Read wanted to know exactly how many buildings were planned and how many units would be in each one. The developers themselves were not in attendance for the meeting, but former city manager Richard Levesque was. Although Levesque does not represent the developers or their interests, he was asked to attend the council meeting on their behalf to help answer questions, especially with regard to the property in question.

“I have not seen a detailed site plan,” Levesque said. “But, I think they want to shy away from one or two larger buildings. I also think the price they’ve suggested is based on what developer Al MacFarlane paid for the property he recently purchased from the city.”

MacFarlane recently purchased a piece of property from the city for $80,000, but Levesque said that land was serviced whereas 601 2nd Ave. West is not.

“But, it’s strictly up to council to decide at what price they would want to sell the property,” he said.

Levesque also said the reason for the three-year timeline is because of how backed up the developers are with other projects, noting they would need at least 18 months to come up with a completed plan.

Councillor Annette Klassen suggested council consider whether or not it’s right to accept the developers’ offer instead of advertising the land for sale.

“There might be other interested buyers out there who may not have known we’d be willing to sell,” she said.
Councillor Merlin Seymour wondered if there’s a required amount of greenspace in certain parts of the municipality

“There’s not a lot over there as it is,” he said.

Mayor Gary Vidal, however, pointed out there is still the small wooded area behind the 7-Eleven store that once housed a trailer park. He also said the city has no plans to develop anything there.

“Originally that whole block was to be the site for the new courthouse, but a decision was eventually made not to use it,” Levesque said. “I’m not sure how formal it was, but when we purchased the trailer park, that property was designated as greenspace, and this lot (601 2nd Ave. West) was opened up for multi-unit development.”

Vidal went on to express his concern about selling the property for only $50,000 and then seeing it resold at a higher price.

“That number seems low to me and I personally think we should find out what the property is really worth,” he said.

Following the discussion, deputy-mayor Elaine Yaychuk moved for a deferral. The motion was seconded by Klassen and subsequently carried.

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