Stettler petition puts spending plan on hold

A petition by County of Stettler residents has put council plans to borrow $7.6 million for a shop facility on hold.

A petition by County of Stettler residents has put council plans to borrow $7.6 million for a shop facility on hold.

Local business owner Brad Mappin is behind the petition, which was signed by about 1,100 people — more than double the number needed for a valid petition under the Municipal Government Act.

Mappin said he has never really got involved in politics before, “but this (petition) is something I thought needed to be done.

“It’s a lot of money that they’re wanting to spend, and a lot of people didn’t feel like they were being heard.”

Council received the petition on Wednesday and it was declared sufficient. A decision on how to proceed was deferred to the March 22 meeting.

Under the Municipal Government Act, council can decide not to proceed with its borrowing bylaw or put the issue to a referendum, which must take place within the next 90 days.

The shop facility has been a hot issue for weeks in the county. On March 2, county council posted an open letter on its website. Its goal it says is to “communicate some facts regarding the new shop facility and dispel misinformation being circulated that the council plans to double or triple taxes to pay for the proposed shop facility.”

The cost of the new 43,200-square-foot facility is estimated at $9.6 million, $7 million for the building and the rest to develop the land. Council proposed pulling $2 million out of reserves and borrowing $7.6 million, which would cost $400,000 a year over a 30-year term.

One option being considered was to cover all or part of the cost by introducing a special tax levy. The maximum additional charge on farmland/residential tax bills would range from around $35 to $70 per year depending on assessments. The minimum would be zero if council chose not to pass the cost on to tax bills.

The county defended the shop facility plan, arguing it would cost less to borrow for a new shop than retrofit the existing building.

“Repair costs could have the same effect on your tax bill only we would be sinking money into 47-year-old building that has air quality problems, electrical issues, space constraints, structural concerns and questionable insulation quality,” says the county.

Safety concerns forced the closure of public works offices in 2014 and they are now housed in trailers.

The cost of immediate repairs and an assessment of the shop starts at $1.2 million, and will cost more once renovations begin because the building must then be brought up to code.

As well, Alberta’s economic downturn means the county could save up to 35 per cent on building costs because of the competitive bidding climate, says the letter.

“We are in a unique situation, where construction now could add much-needed jobs and activity to our local economy.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

A man on a skateboard and a young woman pass large letters spelling out UBC at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on November 22, 2015. The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding student loan payments that officials will never be able to collect. Recently released spending documents show the government won't collect $203.5 million in debts from 34,240 students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan

VANCOUVER — A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing is set to start… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $25 million Lotto max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

MADISON, Wis. — States asked the federal government this week to withhold… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Most Read