Got an extra ten bucks? If so, you, too, could be the owner of a sparkling new plot of land in Reston, a rural prairie town in southern Manitoba bordering Saskatchewan on the west and North Dakota on the south.
In an effort to jump on the oil boom in that part of the country, officials are selling undeveloped land for a mere $10, an initiative they first started in 2010. Back then they had 14 lots for sale, 11 of which have houses built on them today, economic development officer Tanis Chalmers told ABC News .
That plan was so successful that in September the Rural Municipality of Pipestone, of which Reston is the biggest town (population: 550), decided to put up an additional 10 lots for sale, along with the three left from 2010. So far, nine of the lots, which range in size from 70 to 88 feet by 130 to 160 feet, remain, "But I've had offers on them already from both Canada and the U.S," said Chalmers, adding that the initiative has been so effective that the local school finally "has a standalone kindergarten class."
Agriculture and oil are the main industries in the town, which was founded as a railway point for the Canadian Pacific Railway, but Chalmers says she hopes to attract small business, too. "We need to have supporting services to support the people living here and coming," she said. "We'd like to see a new hotel here, a new restaurant, a bar."
The plan is pretty straightforward: To buy a property, wannabe homeowners have to sign an agreement and put down a $1,000 deposit. Once a lot is purchased, owners have 90 days to begin construction, and 12 months to complete it. As soon as the town receives the occupancy permit, they will refund $990 of the original down payment.
"You don't have to live here full time, but you do need to put up a permanent structure," said Chalmers.
As further incentive, the town is offering a $6,000 grant to people who've built a new house or purchased an existing home in the rural municipality. The grant, mind you, can be used for anything from home upgrades to a new car. Chalmers says taxes hover around $1,500 to $2,500 per year.
Todd Vanloo, who recently moved to Reston, told CTV that he was lured by the offer.
"We couldn't pass up this opportunity of a house of this nature for this kind of money, and a lot for $10," he said.