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“We’ve heard tales of our own demise here and there, but we’re still here and we’re still committed and we still have a vision for this project and for the community.”

The land, Station 44, is located at the corner of 79a Street and the Alaska Highway, and is zoned for a retail centre and other commercial uses. The 220 acre project that would include residential complexes, retail stores, and hotels.

As most national retailers prefer that a “power centre” like this one be developed by a company with experience, G-8 says it presented the plan to at least 15 established developers across the country, but none took the opportunity. So far, G-8 has had some “box stores” show willingness to commit to the project, including Winners/Home Sense, Canadian Tire, Michaels and Sport Check, but so far none have fully committed.

In order to start developments, significant work on infrastructure must be done, including work to the highway and intersection, and service to sewers. The total service budget of the development is between $26 to 30 million. The project has experienced trouble since 2008, after the market collapse, and is currently $9.383 million short for its plans.

Fort St. John bylaws state that developers must pay the cost of servicing roads on their land. Thus, Thielmann is instead proposing that the City invest in the project through developing the intersection, services and 79a Street, which he says will be used by all Fort St. John residents. He believes Station 44 and the investment in those areas will be a “benefit to everybody in Fort St. John”, and will attract people to the city, and keep money in the city.

He’s suggesting that the city invest an estimated $8,000,000, which would cover the intersection, the sanitary and storm sewers, and 79a Street plus engineering and contingency. The remaining $1.383 million would be paid by the developer. It’s proposed that the city’s funding would be recovered through future tax revenues.

G-8 has appeared before council multiple times before. Mayor Lori Ackerman has sat in on many of the meetings and expressed that she has some concerns about the high amount: “That would also be the City contributing to the developer for their subdivision.” She pointed out that Northern Health recently developed 112th Avenue north of the hospital, as they were the developers: “I’m sure that moving forward, the province would be waiting for their reimbursement.”

Instead, the City has requested a presentation from staff to inform new city councillors, and eventually give G-8 a decision during budget discussions.

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