Prime land in Waneta recently purchased by Trail from the regional district will soon provide further economic opportunity to one of the city’s largest businesses.
AM Ford Sales Ltd. plans on relocating its business to newly consolidated land beside Waneta Plaza to make use of a larger property and to serve its expanding database and market shares.
The company already leases a portion of this property, which used to house a McDonald’s, for AM Ford Plus.
“We’ve always been tight for room and basically we plan on building a new LEED Millennium building,” said owner Dan Ashman, who added details are to come.
“Location, location location” has driven Ashman to the highway property that is in a convenient place for customers – next to the mall – and would reduce operational costs for the soon-to-be centralized business.
Ashman said plans for the company’s current main location in Glenmerry are being worked out but said he’s already had interest from an international auto dealership and potential strip mall owner.
“We’ve been working on this for four years, but got held up in 2008 because of the biggest recession in the last 70 years,” he said. “But fortunately because of the rebound of the auto industry and in particular the rebound of the Ford Motor Company, it’s now a very viable option.”
After the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary sold 1.32 acres of “non-essential” land in front of the sewage treatment plant to the City of Trail for $250,000 last year, the city is now turning a profit.
This land will be consolidated with an adjacent property owned by the city, which intends to dispose of the approximate four acres of total land to AM Ford Sales Ltd. for $945,000.
The city entered into a lease and purchase agreement with AM Ford for the land it currently holds on Highway 3B back in 2007.
Last year the regional district agreed to sell some of its land to facilitate the commercial development of AM Ford, which has been in business since 1985.
“Back in the spring, the details of the development weren’t released as we were in continuing negotiations
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with AM Ford for the sale of the property,” explained city administrator Michelle McIsaac.
When notice was first released of the transaction between the city and the regional district, former Trail councillor Norm Gabana voiced his concerns that if the property is developed on a large scale, construction could pose risk of contaminating Bear Creek Well.
The well has been in operation since 1981 and pumps water from an aquifer to Glenmerry, Waneta, and Green Gables reservoirs that service Shavers Bench, Miral Heights, Glenmerry and Waneta, about one-third of Trail’s water demands.
A ground water protection plan report nearing completion will include all potential contamination concerns in the vicinity of the well/aquifer and will identify strategies for managing such concerns, noted McIsaac.
“The proposed development, being a car dealership, is no different than the current operations at the property,” she added.