A lease on two sections of land Wetaskiwin county council is saving for sewage lagoon expansion is being renewed at a new, extended time period, also with a proposed delayed rate increase.
In the past council has renewed the lease on a yearly basis but at its April 14 meeting approved a 5-year lease plan at $1,050 per lot per year, with a 25 per cent cost increase after year three.
For the first two years the county has set the rate at $6 per acre. Council was told the land is not valued higher because it is deemed passable for only pasture.
“My recommendation is we go ahead with the lease,” said assistant CAO Rod Hawken.
Coun. Larry McKeever was one of multiple councilors to feel the price the county was charging to rent out the land is to low and he inquired what pasture land is worth elsewhere. Coun. Keith Johnson estimates it would be between $20 and $30 per acre.
Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers says with the land quality and location — new the sewage lagoon — it would be difficult to rent out. Erwin Wolter of Pigeon Creek Farms has always stepped up to rent the land with the understanding council may eventually need it for a lagoon expansion or setbacks.
“I was just thinking $6 seems a little bit low. I was hoping since we’re going long term we could go a little bit higher,” said McKeever.
Coun. Lyle Seely also felt the price should be increased, for it sits to far below fair market value. “It’s a little to low.”