On the surface, buying a building lot for $500 sounds far-fetched.

But not in Smooth Rock Falls.  A community improvement plan initiated a year ago has already seen 43 residential and six commercial properties change hands, and two dozen new families move into town.

Municipal C-A-O Luc Denault says the low cost of land and other incentives are the cornerstone of the scheme. It starts by buying the land at fair market value.

“The conditions are that the property would be transferred within the next 30 days.  That means you would take possession of property and the deal is that you need to move to construction completion within 24 months, meaning building permits six months, start construction in 12 and upon completion you then get the rebated 90 percent of the value of the land.”

Some of the other incentives are reduced building permit fees and taxes.

Denault notes that the bilingual community of 2,300 people offers a wide range of amenities, including recreational facilities and a state of the art hospital.

You can inquire about the community improvement plan – or CIP – by going to smoothrockfalls.ca .