City annexation application rejected
The City of Swift Current's application to annex land from the R.M. of Swift Current has been rejected by the Municipal Boundary Committee.
The City recently learned that their application was rejected after the Municipal Boundary Committee rejected the annexation request on the lands which included the Research Station. The decision stated the commitee would approve of the lands located to the west of the current city boundary, including the highway commercial parcels, as well as the lands located to the northeast of the city boundary. However, as the Committee could not approve only a portion of an application, the entire request was rejected.
“Although we are disappointed with the decision, we do respect the Committee's mandate and understand why it was rejected,” Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer stated. “Simply put, the Committee did not support our efforts to include the Research Centre in our annexation application; however, it was made clear that it supported all of the other areas we identified.”
Both the City and the RM have been aware of the decision since earlier this month, but negotiations towards finding a resolution still have the two sides as a stalemate.
“What's more disappointing is that the two councils wre not able to reach a complementary resoution on the matter," Schafer said. "The Committee clearly stated what it supported both in terms of lands to be annexaed as well as tax loss compensation the City of Swift Current would have to pay for these lands. Even after the ruling, the RM of Swift Current has asked for more than double the amount the Boundary Committee ruled was acceptable in their decision. City Council accepted the ruling of the Committee and felt it provided an avenue for the two councils to show a committment to working together.”
The RM of Swift Current stated the board’s decision offered some useful points for further discussion between the two sides.
“This process has been time consuming and costly for all concerned,” an RM press release notes. “For that reason, following the most recent rejection of the City’s application, the RM has offered to negotiate an amicable solution to the matter.”
The RM press release further notes the RM remains optimistic that a fair and equitable agreement can be reached without the need to take this issue before the board for a third time.
The RM has prepared a Memorandum of Understanding which outlines the issued the RM felt needed to be addressed, such as water and recreation. They note the city’s response was that there would be no discussion unless the RM agreed to the city’s compensation proposal.
The RM notes they would like to return to the negotiation table, and not to negotiate through the media.
Mayor Schafer agreed there needs to be further face to face negotiations.
“We believe the committee provided the City and RM #137 a unique opportunity to work co-operatively, and we were very optimistic about rebuilding a long strained relationship," Schafer said. “Obviously, our council is very concerned, as we can’t seem to reach agreement even when we know the result. We are disappointed the outcome will be delayed and we did not achieve a complimentary resoution to take to the Provincial Government, however we are confident that our next application will be approved, which will allow us to plan for efficient and cost effective growth for our City,” he added.
Regulations of the Cities Act require a community to wait a one year period before reapplying to alter their boundaries. Schafer said the city is confident the committee will approve their new application in one year's time, with the new application to include only the land areas the Boundary Committee would have approved in the recently rejected application.