Sale of rest stop land not concluded

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Still a chance for local businesses there

BOWDEN – Mayor Robb Stuart says town council is open to considering a suggestion by two local residents that businesses could be operated out of the rest stop, rather than have it sold to Parkland Industries.

During an interview with Mountain View Publishing, Stuart said although there have been some talks, it’s not too late to accept a proposal by a local resident rather than complete a sale with Parkland.

However, he said that idea would have to be considered carefully, keeping in mind advantages and disadvantages posed by both options.

The cost of the rest stop is a big issue for the town.

“The rest stop has cost us $30,000 or $40,000 every year up until this year, which is about an eight per cent tax increase,” he said.

Local residents Derrick Hansen and Jennifer Aarts came to a packed council meeting earlier this month to express concern about efforts by the town to sell the rest stop to Parkland Industries.

Suggestions were made that local entrepreneurs could create and run businesses out of there instead, and hopefully that way, trees in the area would be preserved.

“It’s not too late, because we accepted their offer and then we actually accepted it with some conditions and they responded back to us with other conditions, so right now it’s nobody’s,” Stuart said. “It’s not signed yet. As soon as they counter-offered to us, that wiped out our signatures. So now it’s in negotiation, technically.”

“The whole idea why we were even receptive or even started talking to Parkland was they could get a 10-year guarantee that that ramp would stay open, and we couldn’t,” Stuart said.

“That ramp is critical. If you’re coming in to Bowden, and you had to go into a traffic circle and then up to the rest stop, through the school zone, who’s going to do that? Nobody. And the diner and the golf course would suffer,’ he added.

“If you took that ramp out of there, then, especially for the downtown, the Reddi Mart, a lot of the traffic comes in there. What else? There’s the liquor store; those are the only two that really get deliveries in town any more.”

Stuart said a proposal by local entrepreneurs would also have to be assessed against the impact it might have on existing businesses.

He pointed out that earlier, the town gave another group a chance to sell things at the rest stop, but that effort died out.

Stuart said he too, would not like to lose the trees. However, he also pointed out they’re a source of complaints each year, because they’re poplars, and thus, expel fluffy seeds in the spring and that fluff annoys many locals.

“I’m glad to have the input; any suggestions are good,” Stuart said. “Like, if somebody says ‘I think all the street lights should be painted pink’ – yeah, it’s great to have the input, but then, ultimately, we’re responsible for the whole town.”

Robb Stuart, mayor of Bowden

“I’m glad to have the input; any suggestions are good. Like, if somebody says ‘I think all the street lights should be painted pink’ – yeah, it’s great to have the input, but then, ultimately, we’re responsible for the whole town.”

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The Innisfail Province has been the source for news and community information in Innisfail and area since 1902.