Agricultural investment company Carpere Canada’s major purchase of land in the South East Industrial Park represents a significant milestone, but it is only the first of many in partnership with Moose Jaw, says the company’s chief operating officer.
Carpere Canada is excited to be the main developer of the industrial park, as it can help attract new investment and grow the population, said COO Rhonda Ekstrom. The company’s mission is to introduce quality, delicious and nutritious food and ingredients as fuel for a healthier future. To do this, it needs to create “a cluster of activities that support the agriculture value chain.”
Purchasing the 312 hectares (780 acres) would allow the company to develop a high-tech industrial park, she explained. The proposed development has a long-term vision and would be created in phases over the coming decades.
“We are currently defining the cluster of opportunities for the industrial park,” Ekstrom told city council during its May 13 regular meeting. “The clusters are aligned with the city’s key industry and economic development strategies, as well as the recent concept plan.”
Council approved a motion 6-1 to accept Carpere’s offer to purchase the 780 acres of land in the industrial park for $10,000 per acre. Coun. Brian Swanson was opposed.
The project’s main focus would accommodate industrial growth in agriculture value-added production, manufacturing, research and transportation sectors, Ekstrom said. The development would also include a mix of residential and commercial uses.
“This represents a significant milestone, but is only the first of many,” she said, adding both parties will finalize the purchase and development agreements by this fall.
It’s worth noting that $7.8 million would be generated from this sale for the municipality, said Coun. Heather Eby. Furthermore, a 10-per-cent down payment would be received upon signing the final purchase agreement, with the balance due within 90 days of closure of the deal.
“That’s very good news for the City of Moose Jaw and taxpayers. … ,” she added. “I’m very excited about this and what the future holds.”
Besides the cost of the land, Carpere would also pay $49,600 per acre to develop the property, generating more than $38.6 million for the municipality.
This is a significant event for the municipality, said Coun. Crystal Froese.
An important aspect is Carpere wants to create a larger market for agricultural value manufacturing, she continued. This is positive since Saskatchewan grows and creates so much, but ships its products elsewhere to be upgraded. She was thrilled that there could be enhanced manufacturing at the industrial park.
Swanson’s concern was with the sale agreement’s terms and conditions, specifically, with a section that dealt with the municipality reacquiring the land if the deal didn’t go through. He thought it would leave the municipality “in a very unknown position” since it would have to incur costs to buy back the property.
He was also concerned with another clause that he thought was too long — at 149 words — and could be replaced by a shorter, 11-word clause. He suggested an amendment that, should Carpere change the management structure or wish to transfer the agreement to another company, the municipality would have to give its consent first.
This was discussed in executive committee weeks ago, so there is no need to amend the contract, said Mayor Fraser Tolmie, adding, “We will not be sidetracked on any last minute amendments.”
Council then voted 6-1 against the amendment.
“The sky’s the limit in terms of what we can achieve,” noted Coun. Chris Warren.
The next regular council meeting is May 27.