By Greg Price
The quest continues to acquire a nominal sum for the FCSS building located at 5009 56th Street.
An update was made at the joint council meeting between the Town of Taber and the M.D. of Taber in late June at the Administration Building.
“When the hospital was re-modeled, FCSS was required to go over there as well. Programming that they had been having in various places around town, it was less than ideal for some of the programs,” said Merrill Harris, Deputy Reeve for the M.D., who chaired the meeting. “It wasn’t too long after leaving that building, that we tried to get it back for them. We started lobbying for it and the town got involved.”
In a rural municipalities meeting in March, Reeve Brian Brewin made contact with Sandra Jansen, Minister of Infrastructure with the request. A tour was made of the facility by Jansen along with Taber Adult Learning, Taber Food Bank, and a First Nations representative at the beginning of April to showcase how the building would be used for health and education purposes by Taber and District Community Adult Learning Association and by Barons Eureka Warner FCSS.
The M.D. was prepared to offer a nominal sum of $1 given the public use of the building. The belief by the M.D. of Taber council of the day was the public had paid for the building once already and as the building requires extensive renovation to be utilized as a public building, it was felt that considerable renovation expense and operating costs would be incurred over the lifetime of the building.
As part of the process, the province undertook an extensive consultation with other provincial ministries to determine if any of them had a need for the building.
“We are waiting to hear back to see if we are going to be able to get that or not,” said Harris of the surplus AHS building in question, as council has received a letter correspondence from Jansen issued to Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health, of a request for nominal fee transfer of the building, dated May 17.
Joe Strojwas, town councillor, chimed in, adding Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter had verbal confirmation the building would be transferred over to the Town of Taber/M.D. of Taber.
“Consequently, it wasn’t in writing and they reneged on their gift. Of course, they put a price tag on it that was $700,000 or whatever it was and at that point, there’s no point in buying it when you have to put another $400,000 into it,” said Strojwas. “I’d be quite surprised if Alberta Health Services sells it for $1.”