Smooth Rock Falls Ontario entices residents with 90 percent off land

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Oct 06

Offering 90% off cheap land is only a partial solution to Smooth Rock Falls’ desperate condition.


Because it’s not how
much something costs, it’s how much something makes

I once did a calculation
for the city of Ottawa—even if someone gave you a free house, with the expense of a lot, development charges, building
permit fees, drilled well and septic system (it was for a rural development)
etc, it sill meant that it would cost you over $150,000 for your “free” house.
It would be even more today (this was 15 years ago). 

The point is—there is no
such thing as an “affordable” home in Ottawa. Not really.

What matters is what can you make
with it? By renting it out. By starting your own business in it. By getting a great
job in the area…

A focus on


the cost side of things will lead
Smooth Rock Falls down the wrong path.

What they need to do instead is to attract a few entrepreneurs
to live, work and play there, and to develop new enterprises in that town…
like what American expatriate Joe Kowalski did for Beachburg, ON with Wilderness Tours,

Wilderness Tours attracts 3,500 well-to-do, white water rafting, kayaking, bungee-jumping guests on a single weekend during the summer.
Imagine what that does for a nearby village of just 900 souls in terms of employment and real estate values?

So this cheap land idea won’t work without an accompanying economic
development strategy focused on bringing entrepreneurs to live in the community to go along with it. 

Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD, Ottawa Senators founder, Real Estate Investment and Business coach, ROYAL LePAGE Performance Realty broker,  1-613-762-8884


More on the Smooth Rock Falls program: 

By Michelle
McQuigge, The Canadian Press 

[September 30, 2017]

A northern Ontario town
nearly ruined by the collapse of its local paper industry is offering generous incentives
to those who want to move there and help rebuild the community.

Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., saw
its population cut nearly in half and its revenues tumble 40 per cent since the
2006 closure of the pulp and paper mill that was the town’s sole major employer.

Now, after a major rebranding
campaign that’s dubbed the town “near north, near perfect,” Smooth
Rock Falls says it wants to roll out the welcome mat for new residents and

Doing so involves offering
striking financial incentives to purchase land and establish companies in the
town about 100 kilometres north of Timmins, Ont., right on the Mattagami River.

Would-be residents, for
instance, can purchase parcels of land overlooking a nine-hole golf course for
as low as $500, 90 per cent off its market value.

Smooth Rock Falls is also
offering tax breaks for new home- and business owners, up to $2,500 off
building permits, and financial loans from the city for those who might need

The moves are already
starting to attract new people to town and reopen the sorts of businesses that
are prevalent in thriving communities but had been shuttered in Smooth Rock
Falls for years.

The town went without a
grocery store for two years before a would-be entrepreneur signed on to take it
over. And as of last month, a 38-year-old father of three has agreed to run a
motel in the community.

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.