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Mark Rendell

City Briefs: In Other News

The latest civic action: they're only making plans for Niven; also check your arrears

Niven Phase V

After years spent trying to sell three large empty lots in Niven Lake Phase V without success, the City is considering a significant price reduction as well as an increase in allowable density to make the land more appealing to developers.

RedCliffe Developments, which built 16 units on a nearby lot, has already expressed interest in one of the properties.

RedCliffe’s “project would consist of attached homes, townhomes and six-plex condos depending on market conditions. Based on these discussions Administration is proposing a price adjustment of 15% from $950,000 to $807,500 as well as a density increase from 14 to 20 units,” says the memo given to council for Monday’s Municipal Services Committee meeting.

If City Council agrees, the other two unsold lots would likewise see their price dropped by 15 percent and their density cap increased. Although the price drop is sizeable, the reduced amount would still be within a price range that appraisers came up with when valuing the lots in 2012.

“We have a developer who’s ready and willing to go, and we should probably take that opportunity when it comes,” said Jeff Humble, the City’s director of Planning and Development. “We don’t think we’re upsetting the market place,” he continued, in response to a question from Coun. Niels Konge about the impact of lowering the land price. “There’s ample room for other developers to purchase land within this subdivision.”

Although the current zoning would allow the increase in density and, according to Humble, traffic studies have shown there shouldn’t be a congestion problem even with the extra units being built in the area, Coun. Adrian Bell was keen that the City consult the neighbours before approving anything.

“If we’re increasing the density I believe the neighbours have to at least be asked their opinion,” said Bell.

City admin said consultation could be included as a condition of any sales agreement with Redcliffe or future developers. The issue should come back to council for a vote in the coming weeks.

In Arrears

If you “forgot” to pay your municipal taxes two years running, there’s a new looming deadline to meet if you don’t want your house auctioned out from underneath you.

The tax arrears auction is tentatively set for June 15, 2016, although council hasn’t voted to approve the date yet. Right now there are 15 properties on the list. One property owner owes as little as $148, while others owe significantly more – one hasn’t paid a whopping $46,319.

Those unable to pay tens of thousands of dollars all at once may be let off the hook somewhat.

“I’m sure we’d be willing to work with someone who came in and was willing to pay,” said Jeff Dalley, the City’s director of Corporate Services. The property owner would, however, need to pay off the amount they owe for 2014, if not 2015, before the summer’s deadline.

In the end, it’s very rare for people to actually hit the deadline without coughing up what they owe in municipal taxes.

“Some property owners just leave it until this point, and will most likely be off the list before it goes to auction,” said Mayor Mark Heyck.

Grant funding awarded

NACC and The Yellowknife Seniors Society are the two biggest winners when it comes to multi-year funding from the City. Both are set to receive $52,000 a year for the next three years, although council has not yet voted to finalize the amounts.

All told, the City is set to deliver $762,750 in multi-year funding over the next three years to 14 organizations, according to the memo for yesterday's MSC meeting. The other big winners are the Ski Club ($30,000/year), the Gymnastics Club ($20,000/year) and the NWT Disabilities Council ($18,000/year).

In terms of single year grants, 14 organizations hosting festivals or events in 2016 are looking at a total of $105,500 from the City. The biggest winners here are Folk on the Rocks ($15,000), The Long John Jamboree ($13,000) and the Canadian Championship Dog Derby ($13,000).

For community service organizations, a total of $58,250 is set to be given to 13 organizations. The largest amounts are going to the Yellowknife Association of Community Living ($10,000) “to assist with their programs” and to the Yellowknife Golf Club Association “to assist with their maintenance programs and youth programs.”