Council to hear tax incentive bylaw delegates

Mickey Dumont

The Portage Citizen —


At its 6 p.m. meeting tonight, city council will hear four delegates speak to the proposed tax incentive bylaw introduced three weeks ago. The bylaw is expected to hear second and third (final) readings tonight.

Bylaw 18-8672, a tax incentive bylaw introduced April 23 during last council meeting, is a bylaw to entice Vionell Holdings through a tax incentive to construct of rental properties on Meighen Ave. to be called Meighen Estates.

Registered individual delegates are Jim Keaveney, Eric Lee, Paul Zacharias

and C.H.B. Developments. The city does not include any company affiliation listed in council agenda package.

C.H.B. Developments is a local owned development company. President Chris Bures says C.H.B. Developments have shovels in the ground today at several projects in Portage la Prairie.

During Question Period at the last council meeting Bures spoke against council’s wishes to pass the tax incentive bylaw.

“I’m really torn with this whole thing,” he said Monday before the meeting. “You don’t want to stifle any development in Portage what so ever. That is not my intention (with opposing the tax incentive), but the tax concession isn’t the right way to go,” Bures said.”

C.H.B. Developments has begun construction in earnest with its 64-unit condominium development in Portage la Prairie. C.H.B. Developments will develop the project without a tax incentive. C.H.B. Developments understands rental property is needed here.

“We’ve had this project on the go for five years now. Between collecting the land and the infrastructure we were slowly trying to feel out the market. We didn’t have any big development (announcements) like Roquette or Simplot but committed to doing the project.”

With Roquette deciding to locate to Portage la Prairie and Simplot announcing its expansion plan collectively nearly a billion dollars in new investment was made in Portage la Prairie. New players and developers are looking closely at how they can become involved in the city’s new-found prosperity.

Mayor Irvine Ferris said at the April 23 council meeting, “tax incentives are one of the few levers a municipal government has to encourage certain developments or discourage others,” in stating his wish to see the bylaw pass and the project be built.

“I’m not against having more developers work in Portage,” Bures said. “That’s okay…it’s free market, open business, I’m just against someone getting an unfair advantage through tax payers’ dollars,” Bures said.

Should Vionell Holdings agree to construct Meighen Estates, it will come to market about the same time as C.H.B. Developments’ condos.

“We’re going to attract some of the same customers. One project getting a tax break on it is giving it an advantage over the other.”

Council meeting starts at 6 p.m.

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