Ten dollars doesn't buy a lot these days. But in one southwestern Manitoba municipality, it can still buy you a plot of land.
The Rural Municipality of Pipestone is continuing to offer select lots in three communities for just $10, as long as buyers build a house on the lot within 15 months of the sale's closing date.
It's part of continued efforts to increase the region's population and tax base. And it appears to have paid off.
"In the last five years, we've had about 25 lots sold under the $10 lot program," said Tanis Chalmers, the municipality's economic development manager. "That's 25 new homes or apartments."
Many of those new homes are adjacent to Highway 2 on the outskirts of Reston, 88 km southwest of Brandon in Manitoba's oil patch.
Chalmers said lots have been sold through the program in Reston, as well as in the towns of Pipestone and Sinclair, Man. The municipality also looked for interested buyers for lots in Scarth, Man., considered a ghost town with little more than a few street lights and an old community centre.
"It's been really good... especially for our schools our rec programs," she said. "We now offer an after school program. We actually now have a licensed child care centre [in Reston]."
"It's something that has definitely been nice to see," Chalmers said of the new homes and faces in town.
Right now, five lots remain up for grabs in Reston, with a handful more available in Pipestone and Sinclair, according to Chalmers.
So, what do you get for $10?
"Depending on what community you purchase in will depend on the services," said Chalmers. "In Reston, municipal sewer and water, hydro and MTS connections to property line."
"Depending on what community you purchase in will depend on the services" - Tanis Chalmers, RM of Pipestone
Prospective buyers are required to pay a $1,000 deposit at the time they buy the lot. Once the buyer's home is complete, $990 is refunded, according to Chalmers.
Newcomers to town include families from British Columbia, Alberta, Winnipeg and other places. Those people have come to work, open businesses or join other family in the area, according to Chalmers.
She estimates the cheap lots initiative has resulted in a 2.5% increase to the area's population alone.
Interest from other communities
Chalmers said the municipality has also fielded calls from towns and municipalities across Canada wanting to know how they can mimic the program for themselves.
And if the demand for additional lots continues in the region, plans are already underway to clear more land.
"We are currently looking at conceptually planning a quarter section [subdivision] adjacent to Reston that would be for multiple uses," she said. "As well as a subdivision in Pipestone."
Chalmers said there has already been interest in some of the remaining lots for the upcoming construction season.