Seven-figure tax break request denied by RM of Lajord council

·2 min read

An Invenergy Canada request for a $1 million tax break on a proposed wind farm fell on deaf ears when the new RM of Lajord council met for the first time Nov. 17.

RM administrator Lynette Herauf said the company had made the request as “they believe these tax concessions would enable a measurable cost reduction in their bid price.”

“They believe these tax concessions may assist in the project’s selection and ultimately the acquisition of the RM of a long-term taxpayer,” Herauf said.

The proposed wind farm project within the RM of Lajord would provide 300 megawatts of wind energy for SaskPower. Invenergy is one of 19 companies who responded to a request for proposal on this project. SaskPower is expected to make its selection in 2021.

New reeve Armond Gervais noted the RM did not offer Western Potash any similar concession, while another councillor referred to a business plan that would require such a tax concession as “scary.”

“Then you are setting precedent,” councillor Larry Grant said. “And it’s the old story. Vale comes in and they don’t want to pay any taxes or any consultants because ‘Look at the tax money you are going to get.’”

Gervais referred back to Western Potash’s situation

“When we started out with them, they did all the work and we were going to get it all back in taxes,” Gervais said. “All the work we did they paid for, but at first they wanted us to eat it and we’d get it back on taxes. Now look at where we are and it was $100,000 of work we put in there that our ratepayers would have paid for.”

Council then voted to reject the request.

As this was the first meeting of council after the election, committee assignments and a new deputy reeve had to be selected. Grant was chosen as deputy reeve. New appointments to two local fire departments were also approved. Dustin and Wade Ulrich will join the Riceton Volunteer Fire Department, while Kyle Muller and Sharla Bernhardt will join the Kronau and District Emergency Responders.

Keith Borkowsky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Quad Town Forum