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Council plans a purchase to preserve history

The rural municipality of Wallace-Woodworth includes the villages of Kenton and Elkhorn and many other former districts and communities as well.

A single parcel of land to be put up for the 2021 tax sale in the RM of Wallace-Woodworth includes a piece of history and the council is anxious to preserve that. However … it’s complicated purchasing land that doesn’t belong to anyone.

The Chief Administrative Officer Garth Mitchell explained:

“It’s owned by people who no longer exist. The Blair Community Club and all the people who were executive members are no longer; so basically there’s nothing can be done with the title without going through a process like this.”

The adjacent land owner was offered the opportunity to continue to pay the taxes. “He does farm a fairly large chunk of it, a parcel. But he was not interested in doing that again,” said the CAO. “We can acquire the property for a tax sale by passing a resolution for the CAO or ACAO to be bidding on the RM’s behalf.”

He discussed an option to set the reserve bid to cover the expenses of $3050.77, accrued to this point.  Beyond that reserve bid the property would go to the highest bidder. Another way would be to set the basic bid at $1 and if no one else bid we would get possession of it.

The CAO continued, “I think having gone through this twice, I think we’d be better off to get it into our name and then we can preserve that cairn and make sure that it stays intact. Whose to say if another owner could knock it down and our history would be lost.”

The parcel of land has to be sold through public auction. Council can provide a dollar guideline within the motion.

“That brings another complication,” says Mitchell. “Anything over the $3050 has to be returned to the owner of the land. In this case it’s non-deliverable. That money would have to be held in trust. It would sit on our books for an extended period of time before we can bring it before the courts.”

After discussion it was decided to draft a resolution that would allow the CAO or ACAO to bid.

PROMOTING COMMUNITIES

Council approved a motion to pay Cardinal Signs final invoice of $33, 653 for a marquee sign for the Village of Elkhorn.

“The sign looks fantastic in town, lots of positive comments. I think it’s certainly going to be a very positive thing for the future,” said Reeve Clayton Canart.

Prairie Gateway Tourism is publishing a tourism coupon book for the area. Coun. Mark Humphries, on the tourism board said, “We’re just looking for ways to promote tourism going into next season. We hope to regenerate some interest in the area and obviously give businesses a chance to offer a discount to people… .”

Advertising within the booklet is mainly done by private groups. The municipality will advertise the campground in Elkhorn.

LENORE LOTS

There’s been an offer to purchase a vacant lot in Lenore. Councillors questioned the wisdom of selling empty, non-serviced lots in the hamlet. CAO Mitchell informed council that the lot assessed at $1,100 would only generate about $20 per year in taxes.

Reeve Canart could see no value in selling an empty lot at this time, but wondered if there would be a way to enter into an agreement to rent it or allow the use.

Mitchell spoke of entering into an easement agreement. “If they are building a greenhouse, it must be built to RM standards.”

He said there were considerations if a future builder wanted to purchase the lot.

Canart said, “I was just thinking that if someone wants to look after it, it’s a benefit to the community to have it clean looking and useable. And more attractive to somebody looking for a property. But I agree, I don’t think it makes sense to sell it, unless a building’s going on there.”

Council asked Mitchell to see if the people would be interested in a rental agreement.

AG EMERGENCY

The notice submitted by the municipality, State of Agricultural Emergency, received recognition from the province. Councillors debated what help the declaration was for farmers.

Part of the concern was that information they had seen about programs such as rejuvenating dugouts indicated the programs were closed.

He suggested that council should follow up and find out if programs are going to be re-opened and to see if people can continue to make application.

RESIDENCE NEAR VALLEY

A request for a rural property subdivision for Kurt and Lacey Goulden was discussed at length, due to the desired location of a dwelling near the Assiniboine valley. Coun. Diana MacDonald excused herself from her seat while Development Officer Corey Nixon brought information.

He said, “We don’t want to hold up the subdivision, but we don’t want buildings to happen until the engineering is complete. No permits for the dwelling are to be issued until they can provide us with information from Manitoba Climate and Conservation that they’ve agreed on a septic system.”

Nixon said it is a hazard prone area. “We’ve identified this to them (applicants) and we are allowing them to mitigate the hazards…. The subdivision approval is for a single-family dwelling in the rural general zone.”

With municipal garbage dumpsters near that area, CAO Mitchell said he will seek advice to include municipal infrastructure in the written draft, to ensure these don’t have to be moved at any time.