City an­nex­a­tion ap­pli­ca­tion re­jected

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS -

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.

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