Drumheller is a well-known and much loved destination for tourists in Central Alberta. Manager of Economic Development, Sean Wallace, is looking to entice people to see the town as not just a beautiful place to get away, but a place to stay with his proposed Residential Development Incentive Program.
The program would offer a sliding property tax abatement for the duration of the incentive period (four years for single-family dwellings and five years for multi-unit dwellings), on all new, eligible developments.
“These homes do not currently exist. Giving three years of partial or reduced taxes can lead to 60, 70, or 80 years (of taxes) to collect,” Wallace said.
There are currently more than 100 homes on the market in the valley, but those in the range of $180-$250K are often older homes in need of repairs and updating. Most newer houses are often higher-end and outside affordability for the demographics the program hopes to draw.
“Younger millennials and seniors want newer homes,” Wallace said, adding these demographics do not want to inherit problems and renovations that come with buying older homes.
Regulations within the bylaw would ensure residential, or single-family dwellings would not become income properties. Multi-unit dwellings would have a rental cap of $850.00/month (indexed to the Canada Consumer Price Index) for the duration of the incentive period, and would need to be maintained as rentable dwellings for no less than 10 years.
At the July 6 council meeting, Wallace noted that similar programs have seen success elsewhere and have driven economic growth within their communities. He hopes the Residential Development Incentive Program would not only draw new residents to the valley, but also stimulate a boom to help diversify the local economy.
The proposal is expected to return to council for a third reading on July 20.