INNISFAIL — Town council has approved second and third readings of Innisfail’s new borrowing bylaw to finance the $5.5 million development plan for the new 46-acre Southwest Industrial Park on the reclaimed sewage treatment plant and lagoon lands south of 37th Street.
The bylaw, now officially known as the SW Industrial Park Borrowing Bylaw, will become valid on July 27. The town can move ahead and submit its loan application for $5.5 million.
At council’s regular meeting on June 27, Erica Vickers, the town’s director of corporate services, said her report outlined upcoming loan issuance dates and application deadlines, including an update of “ever changing” interest rates and one for the preferred 10 years, which is now up to 4.69 per cent.
However, Coun. Gavin Bates wanted to know at what point would council decide the details of what it’s authorizing to borrow.
Vickers countered the intent for the loan was to have it designed as interest-only with semi-annual payments starting in December, and with the “brunt” paid off at the end of the term. She added it could be changed but there would likely be a tax implication.
“I'm not for only paying back interest, otherwise we're just passing on a huge potential problem,” said Bates, who expressed concerns about rising interest rates.
“I want to see some of the principal paid off. I would never take out a loan in my personal life that I wasn't paying principal off.”
Mayor Jean Barclay said the town has “fairly consistent revenue streams” and there would be a return on investment with the new industrial land.
“I personally am quite confident we will sell the land out there long before 10 years is up, and that land would be paid off,” said Barclay.
Council ultimately approved both second and third readings.
Vickers said the town can wait until it can pay off the full balance or it can pay of the loan as income from land sales come in.
“Hopefully in two, three years we'll have enough to pay it off,” said Vickers.
Last month, Innisfail council approved the first land sale at SW Industrial Park; a sale of 4.19 acres to the Innisfail Seed Cleaning Plant in the amount $670,400.
The new SW Industrial Park is considered by the municipality as the cornerstone for its long-term vision of the Innisfail Economic Development Strategy & Tactical Plan, also known as Power of Place.