Continuing its unprecedented aggressive push for major industrial development, the Town of Innisfail has set the price for new parcels of industrial land totalling 46 acres at the new provincially approved industrial area south of 37th Street.
Council approved pricing and a marketing plan at its regular meeting on May 9 after considering a staff plan that proposed an introductory price of $160,000 per acre for potential purchasers.
The price would remain in effect until July 29. The rate will then increase later in the year, with servicing of the lands taking place in fall 2022 and purchasers taking possession in spring 2023.
A report by town administration to council said the proposed pricing also reflects the projected cost of servicing the property, which include water, wastewater, storm, FortisAlberta electricity, ATCO gas, paved roads, applicable offsite levies ($9,711 per acre) and remediation costs.
Council approved a motion to move ahead with the plan, along with a second motion for administration to submit a subdivision application for the creation of industrial parcels.
“I am expecting interest,” said mayor Jean Barclay. “It’s priced very well, comparable to other land in the Central Alberta region, and we also have very competitive non-residential tax rates in Innisfail. I am looking forward to seeing what comes from this.”
Innisfail hasn’t had any serious volume of industrial development since at least the 1990s.
“We haven’t had this type of development available for quite a long time,” she said.
However, Barclay still had questions about administration’s plan to put the new industrial land out to market.
The mayor wanted to know if July 29 would give potential purchasers enough time to consider the town’s offer, noting that discussions with potential land purchasers can be lengthy when significant sums of money are involved.
“It is a large investment,” said Barclay. “Are we committed to sticking to July 29? If we don’t and we say we’re extending it, that gives a little bit of an indication that maybe things are not going as well as we hoped potentially, so I worry about that.”
Barclay also wanted to know whether the town able to accept deposits on purchase agreements if it secures a contract with a purchaser before the subdivision application receives approval. She also questioned whether a lawyer would hold deposits in a trust account.
Meghan Jenkins, Innisfail’s director of community services, said land sales in the summer will create more certainty for the town this fall when it proceeds with servicing, “knowing that we have half a dozen lots that are already sold.”
She said all deposits received will be held in trust with the town lawyer until purchasers take possession of their property in spring 2023.
In the meantime, town administration will seek approval from the town’s planning commission for the creation of industrial parcels in the new industrial area. Tentative concept plans show eight lots between three and 13 acres in size, but this could change in the final subdivision application. The area currently consists of two titled parcels totalling 123.3 acres.
Council was told the proposed subdivision of the lands will result in 46.1 acres of saleable industrial land. Proceeds from land sales will help recover the cost of site servicing.
On April 25, council directed administration to tender the development of the southwest industrial park at a budgeted amount of $5.5 million, funded largely through the town’s new Borrowing Bylaw.
The majority of the lands, 77.2 acres, will accommodate public utility lots, the town yard and snow storage, a municipal/environmental reserve and almost six acres for roads.
Jenkins said the subdivision process takes about 60 days, with referrals sent out to adjacent property owners, as well as other stakeholders such as FortisAlberta, Telus and Alberta Transportation.
It would then go to the planning commission for approval, which is typically conditional upon various criteria being met prior to registration of the new, subdivided parcels at land titles.