A small village northeast of North Battleford may be soon to cease to exist.
The village of Rabbit Lake plans to disincorporate and become part of the surrounding Rural Municipality of Round Hill because a dwindling population has left them with fewer tax payers and less recognition from higher levels of government. The provincial government’s municipal directory pegs Rabbit Lake’s population at 127 people.
“I don’t like it that much,” said Rabbit Lake mayor, Dave Plummer as he served coffee at his cafe on Wednesday. “But there’s no other choice. We have things that we can’t get, loans for infrastructure anymore because we’re too small.”
The size of the community means it tends to be passed over for grants that the larger size of the rural municipality can attract, Plummer said.
“I think (disincorporation) is the only answer now,” he said.
The move doesn’t mean Rabbit Lake will be wiped off the map. Plummer said it will exist is a special service area within the R.M, with its own advisory council and operating on its own tax revenue.
Shirley Leigh has lived in Rabbit Lake most of her life. She said it’s a good idea to join the R.Ms larger resources. While the village still has a hotel with bar and gas station, along with store, museum, post office, rink, and hall, Leigh has noted the decline in population.
“With the closing of the school, that seems to take everything, and the elevators are gone and everything else,” she said. “We don’t want the whole thing to disappear and just have a plaque there that says Rabbit Lake or something.”
Arlene Hildebrand is upbeat about Rabbit Lake’s future. She lives on a nearby farm and is a frequent visitor.
“It’s a farming community, so it’s still viable,” she said, noting the seniors care home attracts residents from other communities, and the nearby lakes attract tourists.
The public notice gives people until Oct. 1 to file any objections to the plan with the village office.