City of Prince Albert council refused to support a request by the RM of Prince Albert to annex part of 48 Street in order to raise and widen the road.
The annexation would allow the RM to access grants to help improve the road, which is partially in the city and partially in the RM.
The annexation started with council in favour of the project, with Coun. Ted Zurakowski saying it was a good idea.
“I think that this is an example of where we can turn an issue into a positive relationship with our neighbours,” he said during the meeting. “I think this is an issue where we can talk to our neighbours. There’s a need there. It’s a priority for them and it costs us nothing.”
He said it also would improve the lives of the community within and without Prince Albert and is a win/win.
It was a sentiment shared by Coun. Tony Head who moved the recommended action to proceed with developing an agreement and also Coun. Blake Edwards – at first.
“In the spirit building positive relationships, I’m going to support this motion. I think this is what they want to do, build a road. In talking to the Reeve, there’s no other plan than to just build the road and make it safer for their people,” Edwards said. “I’m going to take that at face value.”
Corn. Dennis Ogrodnick did not agree.
“A couple months ago, where were they with Marion Aquatics? No. They didn’t want to give money to that. Where have they been with our public library? Where have they been with all of our public facilities?,” he said.
“If they want to know what it’s like to pay for something and not own it, build that road for us. Why annex it? Why would we give up a road in our jurisdiction to an RM? Let them know what it means to spend money on city residents so city residents can use it and benefit from it.”
He said if the RM wanted to build a positive relationship, they shouldn’t pick and choose the issue.
“It has to be built on our city then and our area and our region. That’s what it should be on, and not just specific projects that favour them,” said Ogrodnick.
Don Cody supported Ogrodnick’s position and said he had never heard of a rural municipality annexing City land.
“That hardly ever happens, if it happens at all,” he said. ”Normally speaking, the cities, the towns, the communities take over because they want to build something for their city.”
He pointed out the graders working and land clearing happening to the south side of the city.
“You mean to tell me they’re not going to butt right up against the City of Prince Albert and try and take our business into their community? Absolutely they are,” Cody said. “That is not the spirit of co-operation.”
Despite the fact that he believes there should be a spirit of co-operation, Cody re-iterated that the RM has not been there when the City wanted cost-sharing for facilities that rural residents also use.
Staff had recommended the annexation and said that it is only the roadway that the RM wants to annex and there would be no loss of property tax revenue if it were to proceed.
“They have a number of residents that use that road and they feel they’ve got access to some federal or provincial funds to bring that road up to a more acceptable standard, including paving the road,” said Director Craig Guidinger, director of planning and development, in his presentation to council.
“I don’t believe we’ve got any plans to pave that road in the short term. I certainly think it’s worth pursuing.”
The motion was defeated, with Councillors Charlene Miller, Head and Dawn Kilmer voting in favour of it and all remaining councillors and the Mayor opposed.
Susan McNeil, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald