Todd Colin Vaughan - Lacombe Express Editor

OPINION: Lacombe Market Square investment could be a problematic precedent

City recently invested $750,000 into a potential big Canadian retailer at the LMS

The City is walking a fine line regarding the $750,000 investment they made into a potential big Canadian retailer coming to the future Lacombe Market Square.

As it stands, residents of Lacombe and the surrounding area often need to travel to bigger centres for retail shopping. The creation of Lacombe Market Square is therefore intended to create shopping opportunities within the City limits and also create a new commercial tax base – something that was indicated to the current Council in the last municipal election.

The investment of $750,000 to facilitate a single developer, in theory, will kickstart the entire development of the Square — according to City officials — and municipalities often find ways to spur economic growth through a variety of methods, according to Chief Administrative Officer Matthew Goudy.

The issue of this investment isn’t whether new retail are opportunities are good for Lacombe — they are. The issue is the potential for other businesses and developers to seek out similar deals to the one this currently unknown developer is getting.

A precedent has been potentially set where businesses will come and seek similar investments from the City of Lacombe – something that is not ideal considering that citizens will see a $13-14 increase to their monthly municipal taxes until the borrowed $750,000 for this development is paid off.

It is a bind that has two sides — both of which are important.

The City of Lacombe should always seek out ways to encourage commercial growth because in the long term it eases the burden on residential ratepayers. However, as stated by Councillor Cora Hoekstra, Council has the duty under the Municipal Government Act to provide good governance, provide services and have a safe community.

This investment is a gamble — albeit a minor one — that may be outside the realm of those three pillars.

Luckily, from what I have heard from City officials, it seems to be a calculated gamble that will most likely pay off in the long run for ratepayers given that commercial taxation is something that is needed in this community.

In short, this instance was an opportunity the City had little choice but to go forward with for future benefit, but they should consider resisting the temptation to invest in single developers in this way in the future.

Just Posted

Lacombe Composite High School Cosmetology students hosts Hair Massacure

Fundraiser supports kids battling pediatric cancers

Lacombe Council asks for answers regarding Police Service deficit

Lacombe Police Service ran a $238,627 deficit in 2018

City of Lacombe releases 2018 Audited Financial Statements

City had an operating surplus of about $318,000

Wolf Creek Public Schools board meeting – April 18th, 2019

Board approves international field trip; deliberates budget; discusses dangers of vaping

Lacombe Generals honoured by City for winning Allan Cup

2019 Allan Cup champs celebrated after successfully hosting tournament

VIDEO: Police dog in Oregon struck by 200 porcupine quills during pursuit

The German shepherd had to be sedated and was in treatment for more than two hours

Calgary woman killed in B.C. highway crash

Crash closed highway for hours

Assessment says Alberta woman facing animal abuse charges fit to stand trial

April Dawn Irving, 59, is charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

Provinces, Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Oil and gas company confirms death of one of its employees in Yoho avalanche

Dana Coffield died when he was skiing in the Rocky Mountains

Cenovus CEO estimates production curtailments will deliver billions to taxpayers

The curtailment program started Jan. 1 was designed to keep 325,000 barrels per day off the market

Robbery in Leduc County estimated at $40,000

Leduc RCMP investigate break and enter and theft of firearms

Most Read