In 2017, the City of Moose Jaw received federal funding for their Agri-Food Industrial Park (AFIP) with the intent to be used for their Greenfield Phase 1 Water and Sewer Infrastructure Project CWWF Program.
Fast forward to now, the Government of Canada is making sure their $1.1 million grant was used for the sole purpose of going towards the project, as part of their standard procedure when providing funding.
City manager, Jim Puffalt said in his remarks at a council meeting on Monday, that indeed yes, the money has gone towards phase 1 of the project.
The City established an Industrial Park in 2016, however, the council’s direction was that no servicing could occur until there was an anchor tenant. It was not possible to locate an anchor tenant as it is extremely difficult for a company from a different province or country to determine the intricacies of servicing when its prime focus is on establishing its facility.
He adds that some of that federal funding went towards a detailed design of the AFIP in 2018 utilizing the water and sewer infrastructure project in conjunction with the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund project.
This detailed design allowed the city to enter into an agreement with SaskPower to sell them 100 acres for their Great Plains Power Station.
“That funding and that understanding of how we could service the park was an important step to getting that property put together,” says Puffalt.
“We know the Great Plains Power Station is under full construction,” adds Puffalt.
As part of the purchasing agreement and after negotiations with SaskPower it was ensured that industrial water service and sanitary sewer service were installed in the AFIP.
In 2020, the land value was established at $200,000 per acre and the business plan that proceeds from sales are used to finance the servicing required for the property.
“Our strategic plan that has been created by council has established the AFIP as a prime industrial area with growth in food processing and certainly a strategic focus.
What makes this development’s business plan different from others, Puffalt says, is that the services will not be installed until a piece of land has been purchased.
“As we go forward the next purchase of land will look to provide energy to the site as a whole with natural gas. As we carry forward, and as we sell land we do whatever infrastructure is required, we don’t put the money into the ground first.”
The goals and benefits of the Agri-Food Industrial Park are to:
Keep risk to City to the lowest level possible.
Meet the business plan for the Agri-Food Industrial Park.
Encourage food processing to meet the Strategic Plan.
Sell the land at serviced value.
Service the land in phased approach as per business plan.
Property taxes, utility sales, jobs.
Puffalt explains that there are 300 acres right now that are waiting for power and natural gas hookups, along with work to be done to provide a reservoir as more properties sell.
The AFIP will be a source of income for the city, as each acre is listed at $200,000, so those 300 acres that are awaiting services could generate an income of $60 million. Taking away the $15 million for additional work to be completed, the net revenue the AFIP could generate is roughly $45 million.
On top of all of that, Puffalt says there is an additional 1,500 acres that could be added to the park, making this a major asset for the city of Moose Jaw.
The next regular city council meeting is on Oct. 11.