For $10, you can buy a two-piece chicken dinner, a couple of slices of pizza — or, apparently, a lot in a new subdivision in Reston.
The RM of Pipestone Community Development Corp. is offering a net price of $10 per lot in a 24-lot subdivision in Reston, if the lot buyer begins to build a house on that land within 90 days or as close to that as cold weather permits, Reeve Ross Tycoles said.
It’s not quite as simple as handing over a $10 bill, though. To get the lot, a buyer would need to pay $1,000 up front, and if the building starts within 90 days on a house completed within a year, a $990 rebate will be paid upon the completion of the terms of an occupancy permit.
“We have made it a little more flexible because if someone buys a lot now, they may not start until next spring, but we will be monitoring it and there are conditions because we don’t want the lot tied up and someone hanging on to it,” Tycoles said. “We want people to build and people into housing in the area.”
Tycoles said the municipality has put money into the program, with the goal of recouping the investment through future property tax bills.
The other goal is to attract residents to the municipality, located about an hour southwest of Brandon and south of the Trans-Canada Highway.
While developers are welcome to pay $1,000 for the lots, they aren’t eligible to receive the rebates. Instead, the people buying the house would receive the rebate. There are other incentives to encourage people to migrate to the area.
Tycoles said there is a three per cent grant available to those buying an existing house or building one, of up to $6,000 total. That means the grant could be awarded on a sliding scale to buyers of a house worth up to $200,000. After $200,000, the grant would be capped at $6,000. Those building on the $10 lots would also qualify for that incentive.
“We wanted to redevelop and bring people to our area and we feel it’s working,” Tycoles said. “You can bring what you want into town, but what you need is people to live here because that protects your schools and your services. To have facilities, you need people.”
The plan includes a Reston subdivision for now, but there is talk about expanding the program to Cromer, a hamlet which is right in the heart of the region’s oilpatch, and is the site of a major Enbridge pipeline terminal.
Tycoles said a 14-lot development in the hamlet is scheduled to be offered up for tender next spring, and it offers unique opportunities.
“It’s a small hamlet, but it’s where the main Enbridge terminal and Tundra truck terminal is, and it’s got some location advantages for those who want to work there and live rurally,” Tycoles said.
“When you look at the Saskatchewan side towards Storthoaks and Wawota, then north to Birtle in Manitoba, that’s as central as it gets.”
The other advantages include cheaper land costs compared to larger centres in the oilpatch. Tycoles said lots in Virden can go for $50,000, which people in Reston and Cromer could put into their houses instead.
The spinoffs for the municipality include economic development.
“There’s always economic spins, and right now our issue is there’s few places to eat out or convenience stores,” Tycoles said.
“The more development you have, the more people look at setting up those businesses.”
Tycoles said the municipality has been working on housing incentives for about two years, such as a $500 gift to residents last Christmas, but the more recent strategies have generated more attention.
“Honestly, we did a better job about marketing it this time,” Tycoles said.
“We have gotten some news on this and I’m thinking our website has gotten 500 hits on this right now. Hopefully out of that, we’ll get 10 more people (to finish the subdivision). But whatever the number is, you are going to need a certain amount of interest before people come to the area. That’s where we are now.”
Tycoles said to date, about half of the lots in the Reston subdivision have now been sold.
The success of the project has left the municipality looking for more land to offer up for development.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 18, 2012