By Trevor Busch
As part of the push for construction of a new fire hall on 49th Avenue town council has moved to purchase the Taber Legion’s rear parking lot, but citizens won’t soon learn what this acquisition will be costing taxpayers.
When pressed for details at the March 21 fire hall information session on how the town plans to deal with increased traffic congestion on 49th Avenue, CAO Cory Armfelt had announced the impending purchase of the Legion’s lot.
“The town is in conversations with the Legion to acquire the parking lot to the south end of the property… which would be parking for people coming to respond to an emergency, people that would be working there on a day to day basis.”
Armfelt then confirmed the cost of this lot had been baked into the town’s fire hall project estimates and shouldn’t represent a phantom cost overrun.
“We’re pretty certain we can get it done for that $4.5 million. So the price of the parking lot is actually within that price estimate.”
While a new fire hall (land and construction) had been budgeted $3.5 million in the town’s 2019 capital budget, this cost has now swollen to $4.5 million. The street address will be 5207 49th Avenue.
The Legion parking lot is directly south of the town’s selected site.
Following closed session discussion at council’s March 25 meeting, council voted unanimously “to purchase the Legion parking lot for under the appraised value.”
Responding to a media inquiry about the purchase price of this property at council’s April 8 meeting, Armfelt declined to provide this information to the public.
“We have negotiated with the Legion and we’ve determined a price that was under the appraised value. According to the Municipal Government Act, we cannot buy a property for over the appraised value, so we set the appraised value and then negotiate below it.”
When asked for the appraised value of the property in question, Armfelt would provide no further details.
“That would be information that you could FOIPP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act request) and we could see how much of that we could provide to you. That’s within the business interests of the municipality, and those business interests of the municipality don’t necessarily have to become public.”
The town is tentatively targeting spring 2020 to commence construction of the new emergency services building.