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Willow Creek MD to sell Granum office

The MD of Willow Creek accepted a proposal to sell the Granum town office to an interested party who intends to turn it into an art studio.

Council was updated on the situation at its Feb. 10 meeting.

In January, council heard a presentation from Sabina Wurz, who wants to use the building as a residence and studio space for art students.

Wurz envisions textile, pottery, drawing classes and much more.

The estimated value of the property is $64,000, while Wurz estimates renovation costs at about $200,000.

The purchase price offered is a nominal sum of 50 per cent of the cost of subdivision and a required “party wall agreement”.

The estimated cost of subdivision and development of a party wall agreement is $5,000.

A party wall agreement addresses maintenance and deals with a shared wall.

In this case, the MD of Willow Creek owns the property on both sides so achieving agreement should be no issue.

Chief administrative officer Derrick Krizsan said because the offer is less than the estimated value, it must be advertised.

“We have had no negative comments regarding the proposal,” Krizsan reported on Feb. 10, adding he has received five letters of support and phone calls of support as well.

Wurz asked, because the building will need extensive renovations, if she could have a reprieve on the property taxes.

The art school would not be up and running for 18 months.

Reeve Maryanne Sandberg said the sale and the taxes are two separate issues.

Coun. Evan Berger asked what taxes are on the building

Krizsan responded that would be difficult to say until construction was complete.

Sandberg wondered about setting a precedent with a reprieve on property taxes.

Krizsan said the factor he looked at is the preservation of an historic building and losing that opportunity.

“The benefit would outweigh the loss in municipal property tax,” Krizsan said.

“We take each one on its own merits,” Coun. Ian Sundquist said of the tax waiver request.

Sandberg asked Wurz how long the tax reprieve would last.

Wurz suggested five years but was open to discussion.

Coun. John Kroetsch, whose subdivision includes Granum, said council would look at the request.

Krizsan suggested the best approach is to obtain more information from the assessor.

Berger said he liked dealing with each issue individually because otherwise it gets too complicated. That is the sale, then the tax waiver request.

Council authorized the sale of the former Granum town office building to Sabina Wurz.

Sandberg suggested administration bring information to council’s next meeting on the taxes for the building.

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