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Town of Fort Macleod to buy lot for parking, green space

Fort Macleod council voted to buy a vacant lot in the historic area for development as parking and a green space.
Council followed administration’s recommendation to buy the lot at the corner of Third Avenue and Col. Macleod Boulevard.
The 66 ft. by 99 ft. lot is the former Scougall Motors lot next to The Macleod Gazette building.
“If we purchase the land now we can sit on it and let it accrue value,” chief administrative officer Sue Keenan said. “At some point in the future we could look at developing that, perhaps as some green space which would add to the ambience of the historic downtown core.”
The property has an estimated market value of $75,000.
The Town of Fort Macleod will offer $50,000 with a $25,000 tax receipt.
Coun. David Orr asked for more information about the $25,000 tax receipt.
“When the value of the land exceeds the expectations for money, they can ask for a tax receipt which costs us nothing but gives them a bit more of a break when they’re filing their tax returns,” Keenan explained.
Keenan said the assessed value sometimes exceeds the cash value of the land.
Coun. Marco van Huigenbos argued against the purchase.
“My position on this hasn’t changed,” Huigenbos said. “I think it has a lot of merit. I just don’t feel the timing of this is appropriate.”
Van Huigenbos noted that earlier in the meeting council decided to spend roughly $2-million on the outdoor pool refurbishment project.
“We are in uncertain or uncharted waters regarding funding from multiple levels of government, so I’m just not okay with this,” Van Huigenbos said, referring to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Alberta economy.
Coun. Gord Wolstenholme said businesses in that area should be consulted on plans to develop the property as green space.
“I believe that the plan all along has been that the Chamber would be very involved in the discussions and the Built Heritage Advisory Committee,” Keenan said.
The motion to buy the land was carried, with Van Huigenbos and Coun. Kristi Edwards opposed.

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