Mayor Clive Tolley is optimistic that Carpere Canada’s Valley View Centre project will succeed and believes the previous problems between the company and city hall are in the past.
The Richmond, British Columbia-based company and its Saskatoon consultant appeared virtually during the Jan. 24 executive committee meeting to share its plans for the property. The company also announced that it wanted feedback about the proposed concept plan.
After the meeting, Tolley said he thought Carpere Canada’s plan was realistic. He also praised consultant Wallace Insights for its presentation, giving an honest answer about the project’s developmental timeline — 20 to 25 years — and laying out the development stages.
“I’m optimistic that something can be done there. The City of Moose Jaw and people of Moose Jaw have been looking at that space for a long time, hoping that something positive and exciting will happen there,” the mayor added. “Those plans look exciting to me, so we just have to take a wait and see attitude.”
This is the fourth time that Carpere Canada has attempted to work with city hall on a major project.
The first time saw the company propose purchasing all 31.2 hectares (780 acres) of the agri-foods industrial park, but withdrew from the agreement after conducting “extensive due diligence.”
The second time, Carpere issued 22 demands to city hall and the provincial government before it would develop the Valley View Centre property. However, it later softened its stance after some conditions were met.
The third time, council wanted Carpere to share costs to fix or replace the Seventh Avenue Southwest bridge. Council later funded the entire cost to repair the bridge.
Those issues are “in the past” considering the municipality has developed the industrial park and the bridge has been repaired, Tolley said. Council and city administration are eager to help Carpere develop the property and see the results of the public consultation.
Since Carpere intends to develop this land — and has other investment projects in town — it would be unfair to doubt their sincerity about this project, said city manager Jim Puffalt.
“… Whatever has happened in the past or in other communities, we’re going to take this as we take any other opportunity,” he continued. “(That is), we find a way to make it happen, and if we can’t, we can’t. But it’s not going to be from a lack of trying.”
Puffalt noted that the city’s economic development committee is working hard on this and other projects and aggressively searching for other employment opportunities.
Jobs for people
As part of this proposed development, Carpere expects about 3,000 people to live in the new neighbourhood.
“I’m happy that private industry is coming to Moose Jaw, buying some property, taking on the cost of development, and they’re going to build a neighbourhood … (and will) try to retain as much of the original beauty of the site as possible,” Tolley said. “They’re doing it, so they believe in Moose Jaw, so why shouldn’t we believe in Moose Jaw?”
There’s plenty of room for more people to move to Moose Jaw, build homes, find jobs — Thunder Creek Pork Plant, the Great Plains Power Station, and future sow processing plant need workers — and send their children to schools, he added. Most residents will likely support this type of community growth.
Last year was Moose Jaw’s fifth-best year for building permits — 260 permits worth $65.7 million were issued — and city hall’s economic development team worked hard to support that growth, said Puffalt.
“(The) proof is in the pudding,” he added, “in that when we go aggressively after things, things will happen for Moose Jaw.”