There could be a new urban municipality to the east of Regina.
White City Mayor Bruce Evans put forward a proposal on Wednesday to amalgamate his town with surrounding sub-divisions like Emerald Park which all fall under the RM of Edenwold.
Evans said now is the time for the process of annexation from the RM as the community continues to grow. He said a recent growth study shows the town of roughly 6,000 people will expand to nearly 22,000 over a 25-year span.
“Approximately 2,469 acres will be required to meet the community’s growth needs,” Evans said.
“The current, unusual and combining geographic and governance model in place, surrounding the town and the lack of integration concerning taxation, land development and the provision of school, recreation and other municipal services hampers our efforts (to expand).”
— Jessika Guse (@JessikaGuse) May 16, 2018
On Tuesday, Evans said he sent a letter requesting a meeting with the Reeve of the RM of Edenwold Mitchell Huber. The letter states discussions and negotiations between the town of the RM be guided by a neutral, third-party mediator.
“I don’t want to put words in the mouth of the reeve, but he did indicate that if the majority of the folks in Emerald Park thought that this was a good idea — they would co-operate,” Evans said, adding that the RMs position could change in time.
Evans said plenty of public consultation will be planned in the future for residents on both sides of the fence.
He believes the amalgamated municipality will have multiple benefits for everyone.
“Better governance and democratic representation for residents and business owners, well planned and managed land development, cost effective, efficient and modern community services, greater capacity to build schools and recreational facilities (among many others).”
In a turn of events to what the mayor of White City said, Reeve Mitchell Huber said he has not yet spoken with the Evans.
“I was at the announcement this morning but I have not spoken to the mayor as of yet,” Huber said. “We received the (information) package late yesterday afternoon, so we spent the morning kind of going over the highlights from it.”
Huber said it’s nothing new to him as over the past number of years the town has approached the RM for land of varying degrees. He called the whole situation “very complicated” as both the town and the RM have had significant growth on the resident and commercial side.
He said his main concern from the annexation comes from what will happen years after — if it were to come about.
“My question is, where does it end? So if the town draws a line in the sand today, will that satisfy their needs long term or will we be at this again in five or 10 years again?”
Huber suggested they would be open to more of a municipal district approach.