In their fifth meeting in five weeks, Regina City Council approved Costco’s plan to relocate to the Aurora Subdivision, denied the Regina Airport Authority’s final proposal to remain exempt from property taxes and heard displeasure for a defeated motion that stood against potential sell offs of Crown Corporations.
Council passed the motion to allow the relocation of Costco with a unanimous vote.
The new location is approximately three kilometers from the current warehouse, and will contain a bigger gas bar and over 800 parking stalls.
The warehouse itself would be about 1/3 larger than the current location on University Park Drive.
When asked why opening a new location in the city’s northwest end is not on the table, Costco representatives replied their first priority is providing Regina with a warehouse that is the appropriate size for the market.
Costco added a second location in Saskatoon was approved due to the transportation differences between the two cities.
Saying Regina has a much more efficient transportation infrastructure, and is not a divided market as Saskatoon is, via the South Saskatchewan River.
They did however say a second location is not entirely off the table, and is something they continue to research.
Something Mayor Michael Fougere says is a good sign.
Fougere said he also believes Saskatoon’s larger population is a reason they now have two locations.
“They have Martinsville,they have other satellite cities outside of Saskatoon, which makes their base population quite big,” Fougere said.
Costco said they will sell their current property, and also added they have already received interest in the building.
Council also decided against reinstating the Regina Airport Authority’s property tax exemption.
Monday night the RAA spoke about the potential negative impacts YQR could see if they are forced to pay an additional 300-thousand dollars in property taxes on top of the 1.2-million in taxes they already pay.
Speaking with reporters Mayor Fougere said they know the tough position this may put the airport authority in, but says council can not re-open the budget once again to find the 300-thousand dollars they would lose if the exemption was reinstated.
“These are tough decisions to make and perhaps we can have a discussion next year, but we really are not in a position to re-open the budget to find that gap we would have. It was a tough decision to make, but I think it was the right one,” Fougere added.
The Regina Airport Authority says they will be forced to raise seat prices and other costs associated with airline providers if the decision stands.
They also feel this will divert new airline providers away from Regina and towards Saskatoon, where costs will now be cheaper, as well as passengers, who will have more flight options and in the end cheaper airfare.
Late in the meeting Monday, council faced some heat on a decision to defeat a motion put forward by Councillor, Andrew Stevens.
A motion was put forward by Stevens that would see the city take steps to prevent the provincial government from potentially selling off and winding down crown corporations.
Ten delegations spoke on the matter, all speaking to potential negative impacts Saskatchewan and Regina would see if crown corporations were no more.
When the motion was defeated, Mayor Fougere had to call order, as members of the gallery voiced their displeasure with the decision.
Fougere says he understands and respects the delegations concerns, but says crown corporations are something they do not control on the civic level.
“The passion on the issue brought forward by delegation and Councillor Stevens, no one is going to question that at all, but what the question becomes is, who’s jurisdiction is this? Who can speak for the issue? City council and municipal governments do not own crown corporations, and frankly the debate we should have would be where the impact is, and that is certainly at the legislature, with the Premier, with MLA’s and with Cabinet Ministers,” Fougere told reporters after the meeting.
Fougere went on to say the decision(to defeat the motion) does not mean he believes there is no room for a valid discussion on the matter, but feels it would be better suited at the legislature.
After the motion was defeated shouts of “shame” could be heard from members of the gallery.