The largest land sale in Moose Jaw’s history provides a long-term plan of prosperity for the community and should attract significant investment, says the mayor
Carpere Canada — a private investment and management company that focuses on agricultural opportunities — recently submitted an offer of $7.8 million to purchase 312 hectares (780 acres) of land in Moose Jaw’s South East Industrial Park.
The second-biggest land deal in the municipality’s history was last December, when SaskPower purchased 40 hectares (100 acres) of land in the industrial park to build a natural gas power plant.
During its regular meeting on May 13, city council approved Carpere’s offer to purchase agreement for the 780 acres, at a price of $10,000 per acre.
The next step in the process is for the municipality and the company to negotiate a servicing and purchasing agreement for the land. If this agreement is reached, the municipality could receive more than $38.6 million after all 780 acres are developed.
The municipality and Carpere have been building a relationship and have been in discussions about development in the community since last year.
“I’m very excited about this potential partnership,” Mayor Fraser Tolmie said before the council meeting. Moose Jaw “is poised to see tremendous economic growth with this development.”
This development could see many businesses move to the industrial park once it is serviced and ready for tenants, Tolmie explained. There could be more value-added products produced there, more manufacturing, with the possibility of turning that area into a transportation hub.
“It’s a great location,” he said. Other benefits include spillover into the community due to construction there. “It’s a huge boost for our local economy.”
Potentially receiving more than $38.6 million once the deal is authorized and the land is serviced is positive, said the mayor, adding he is thrilled with that amount of money coming back to city coffers since they negotiated a fair price per acre.
“We’re creating a partnership with Carpere … ,” he added. “We have to think of a long-term plan for the community. That’s what this relationship is all about. We can see growth potential for this. That means there’s a sustainable construction industry in the community of Moose Jaw for years to come.”
Once the servicing and purchasing agreement is signed, Carpere Canada would pay $49,600 per acre to develop the land and provide the necessary infrastructure. These fees protect taxpayers from having to develop it, said Tolmie. Once the property is serviced, it will become the municipality’s responsibility.
Tolmie had little concern about the deal. He was excited to see how the concept plan would look. He thought it would suit the community since Moose Jaw is ideally situated for processing, value-added manufacturing, rail transportation, plus the municipality’s desire to advance technologically.
“You can’t continually talk about how businesses in the community are bearing the brunt of taxation,” he said, “and not have a vision of expanding your tax base, because that argument will continue.”
Furthermore, discussions can’t continue to happen over taxpayers facing taxation levels without having a plan to bring in new opportunities, Tolmie continued. If municipalities don’t do anything, then they are simply satisfied with the status quo. If that’s the case, then they shouldn’t complain about the tax burden residents face.
“I am not happy with the status quo,” he added, “and we are making efforts to change that.”