A plan to expand the Crescent Acres neighbourhood took another step forward with the approval of a plan begin to begin annexing a portion of the neighbouring municipality.
City councillors voted unanimously Monday to annex 44 acres of land from the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert.
The motion to support the boundary changes was moved by Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick who, along with Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edwards, was pleased to see the report before council.
The other part of the motion would see administration meet with representatives of the RM to negotiate both the annexation settlement and agreement.
Ogrodnick explained that at community meetings a north access to Crescent Acres was a major issue for residents. The eventual expansion would ease congestion at 15th Avenue and Muzzy Road as well as on Olive Diefenbaker drive.
“Once that north access comes into play and gets built, it will help the eastern parts of both of our wards. This is a good agreement as long as we are able to build this and it is something that the residents of both of those wards badly want and are happy that our director is moving forward with this,” Ogrodnick said.
Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski also voiced his approval of the eventual north access to the neighborhood as a great step in the development of Prince Albert and saluted the work done on the file.
“It is not only an issue in that area but in terms of traffic flow throughout our whole city because you absolutely avoid that area of town at certain times of the day. Well done let’s move on,” Zurakowski said.
Mayor Greg Dionne thanked the city manager and both the previous and current council for their work.
“I have been on council for 19 years and boy there was lots of talking but I have got to thank this council and the council before for bringing this forward,” Dionne said during the meeting.
After the meeting, Dionne explained that opening up another access point on Crescent Acres will also benefit development.
“We are having more and more development there on Hadley and other streets in the back there and that’s where our new lots are. So before we get them all open let’s get the traffic out to the highway,” he explained.
The land to be annexed has already been bought by the city. They hope to extend Byars Street and add another highway junction at Highway 302.
Once the Byars Street extension is done, the city plans to later extend Olive Diefenbaker Drive.
The city purchased 80 acres in 2020. Development of the rest of the land, which remains within the RM’s boundary, will be up to the RM council.
“It is up to them to plan for, but we want to be proactive and be a partnership to how that land is developed, Guidinger said.
The planned construction is part of a larger Transportation Master Plan and a future Crescent Acres Neighborhood Plan.
The extension of Byars Street was already included in the 2021 budget by public works. The cost is $200,000 for required engineering design and geotechnical work with $700,000 expected to be added for construction in the 2022 budget.
The proposal was initially presented at an in camera session on Feb. 1 and presented to RM council on Feb. 11. The RM was receptive, and only had a few questions about taxation and timing.
The process of land annexation is when land is transferred from one municipality to another neighbouring municipality. There are a number of steps in the process, including consultation with the municipality in question, negotiation of a payment for the land in question and the annexation agreement and public notice.
The first steps in annexation were completed with the presentation to the RM of Prince Albert. Once there is a complementary resolution from the RM, the city and RM can enter into negotiations to negotiate a purchase cost. The city intends to propose a financial settlement similar to those in the past. The value of the settlement will be directly connected to the current agricultural tax rate applied to the land multiplied by a 22.5 years.
Other costs will come from issuing public notice and other legal items such as preparation of the agreement itself among others.
Once the annexation price and terms of agreement have been negotiated, city administration will report back to council.
The annexation team will included the directors of planning and development and public works, planning manager and capital projects, city solicitor’s office, city clerk’s office, director of the Prince Albert and District Planning Commission, Reeve Eric Schmalz and administrator Roxanne Roy of the RM of Prince Albert.
-with files from Peter Lozinski, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald