The Regina Airport Authority (RAA) will have to find ways to make up its own funding shortfall after city council finalized a plan to remove a property tax exemption on airport lands.
Council approved the decision at its regular meeting Monday night.
It’s a move the RAA believes will shortchange it around $300,000. Airport CEO Dick Graham had previously appeared before council and explained how various fees could increase as a result of having to pay the taxes.
The authority argued it provides nearly all municipal services on airport lands, with “very little service being provided by the City of Regina”, indicated in a report previously submitted by the RAA to city council.
But Mayor Michael Fougere countered and said the airport’s roads, water, wastewater and garbage collection all connect and move into a larger city system. He said he believes the airport needs to pay its share.
“We do provide services, not in the same way that we do for residential or businesses, but we do provide those services and they should pay for them too,” said Fougere on the CJME Morning Show Tuesday.
The city resorted to the decision after suddenly having to find $10.3 million in its own budget after decisions in the provincial budget left the financial gap.
New Costco coming
During the same council meeting, the mayor and councillors also discussed and ultimately approved an application for a new Costco to be built.
It would not be a second location, but instead a move from the wholesale retailer’s current location. The new Costco will be built near Victoria Avenue and Tower Road in a subdivision referred to as Aurora.
“A bigger one and a better one,” described Fougere.
He said there’s no hard timeline for when it will be built, but the city expects construction to start “pretty quickly”.
Council moved ahead with plans for Regina’s newest neighbourhood in the northwest: Coopertown.
It’s a neighbourhood that will run from Armour Road to Ninth Avenue North and between the Regina Bypass to Courtney Street. The city estimates it will eventually accommodate at least 36,000 people.
As of now, the 745-hectare parcel of land is largely agricultural, but long-term it’s expected to include smaller neighbourhoods, an urban centre, a zone-level park and potentially a new high school.
“It’s a major development for the northwest part of the city and it’s part of our plan for growth for 300,000 population. It’s the beginning of the process for development in that site,” Fougere said.
Council voted in favour of amending Design Regina: The Official Community Plan to add the Coopertown Neighbourhood Plan.