Regina council unanimously approves $4M land sale despite opposition from nearby businesses

·2 min read
Mayor Sandra Masters was part of the unanimous vote that approved the sale option.  (CBC - image credit)
Mayor Sandra Masters was part of the unanimous vote that approved the sale option. (CBC - image credit)

Regina council has unanimously approved an option for an undisclosed company to purchase more than 250 hectares of land north of the city despite last-minute opposition to the sale.

The purchaser is described only as "an independent commercial party" in a report that was approved by council at a special council meeting on Monday.

The $4-million purchase price for the 633.6 acres (256.4 hectares) of land is below market value, but the potential development was touted as bringing "substantial economic opportunity for the City of Regina," according to the report.

Although the public is not privy to the discussions, councillors confirmed during the special meeting that they know the identity of the developer.

They've also been provided a more detailed economic assessment than what has been shared publicly.

The parcel of land in question is north of the city, and shown on this map with blue diagonal stripes.
The parcel of land in question is north of the city, and shown on this map with blue diagonal stripes.(City of Regina)

The city's administrative staff confirmed that the developer's board will be making a decision on where to locate the potential development, which includes Regina, "very soon."

Business opposition

Despite the unanimous support that it received from council, the decision was not universally praised.

Two companies presented council with their objections to the deal ahead of the vote on Monday.

AGT Foods opposed the sale, citing a lack of consultation and concern over the developer's intentions.

Representatives from Federated Co-Op Ltd. (FCL), whose refinery borders on the parcels, voiced their opposition to the deal.

The company said they only found out about the potential sale by reading a CBC News story on the subject and claimed the potential future development would box FCL in and restrict future expansion.

FCL recently acquired True North Renewable Fuels.

The deal, representatives told council on Monday, was made with the knowledge that they would look to expand into land adjacent to the refinery — including some or all of the parcels up for vote.

Although FCL wanted to be offered the chance to take part in a bidding process, that door was swiftly closed by council's vote.

The undisclosed developer has now been granted a $4-million option to purchase the land, with $50,000 of that being considered a non-refundable fee.

That option to purchase will be required to be exercised within one year.

The City of Regina and the developer would also need to come to further agreements on a number of unspecified details that require further study.

Those would come before council for approval and would likely include further details on the developer and its plans.

If the option to purchase is exercised but construction of the proposed development doesn't get underway within two years of the purchase, the City of Regina would have the right to take ownership of the parcels.

That process would require the city to refund the $4-million option, minus the $50,000 fee.