White City moves to combine nearby communities to form one city

1 / 4
White City moves to combine nearby communities to form one city

The Town of White City wants to become one with its neighbours. 

On Wednesday, Mayor Bruce Evans announced a proposal to join Emerald Park and neighbouring subdivisions with the town to form a single city under one elected authority. 

The discussion around amalgamation or annexation has been ongoing for years, but the town began to proceed with a concrete plan about eight months ago.  

"There will be those I'm sure who don't think that this is the right idea, but we do," Evans said.

Although the city would be larger, Evans maintained it would retain a small-town vibe with large lot sizes, although some areas could have condos and apartments. 

Steven King, a local business owner, agrees with that. 

"Where I live, it's a small town feel," he said. 

"I don't think that's going to change. We've added a grocery store, we've added a drug store, we've added a bunch of services and it really hasn't changed the complexity of the community."

King works in Emerald Park and lives in White City. 

White City wants to build a lake and have a recreational facility as well as a high school.

"In order to attract that high school we need to have a sufficient tax base," Evans said. 

He said people who live in the area already consider it to be one community, where people go to the same school and see each other at the same grocery store. 

"The difference is that we are under two municipal jurisdictions," he said. 

According to Evans, should one city be formed residents in the proposed community would have a say in who represents them on council. 

Evans suggested that "hasn't always been the case in the past."

"There have been ongoing issues about democratic representation," he said.

Emerald Park resident John Panter was at the announcement in White City on Wednesday.

He moved to the area in 2010 and is all for the amalgamation. Panter said he had a brief volunteer career in which he would attend city council meetings and write about it.

"I'm a rare bird that didn't necessarily like going to council meetings, but I felt it was my responsibility," he said. "I've seen both governance model from both sides."

Panter suggested a growing community should have elected officials representative of and responsible to the community.

"Emerald Park, which has almost 40 per cent of the population of the RM of Edenwold has one elected official on a seven person council," he said.

He said the needs of the community haven't been met.