White City plans for further expansion of Betteridge Road

·4 min read

A proposal for construction of Betteridge Road between White City Drive and Emerald Park Road was advanced a step at White City council’s Nov. 16 meeting, with two lanes now being planned for construction.

This project can later be scaled up to four lanes, to incorporate council’s proposed Town Centre development project, with the ability to expand the four-lane road project in the future all the way to the Pilot Butte bypass road, White City planner Mauricio Jimenez noted. At present, the prerequisite land for that expansion sits within the RM of Edenwold.

Phase 2 of the pre-construction work was already completed by Stantec, as approved by council on Aug. 10.

Jimenez said more land will be required from the land developer for a municipal right-of-way.

“In order to achieve this, we need to acquire some land,” Jimenez told council. “Initially how we do this is when a subdivision comes forward, and we have a plan for that right-of-way to be expanded, we require that specific right-of-way from the developer ... However, as we don’t have a subdivision plan in place at this time, we have to work with developers who have subdivision plans in place that will allow us to move into the next phase of development without going through all the hassle of presenting a subdivision to acquire the right-of-way we need.”

To date, White City council has allocated $211,914 in Saskatchewan Municipal Economic Enhancement Program funds to this phase of the Betteridge Road project, with the goal of building the road in the 2021 construction season. Where the Town of White City has a 20-metre right-of-way on that road now, it will require a 26-metre right-of-way, expanding further to a 30-metre then 34-metre right-of-way to accommodate the newly-approved plans.

“Then we are going to match what the RM (of Edenwold) has west of the town boundaries, where they have a 34-35-metre right-of-way,” Jimenez said.

White City’s planning department’s recommendation to build only two of the four lanes comes as the town does not yet have agreement of all of the area land owners. Great Plains Leaseholds, the landowners on the north side of the proposed road construction, has opposed it.

“We had a conversation with them where we offered a specific amount of money for the amount of land where essentially they will be losing for the town, and their answer was no,” said Jimenez. “We’ll follow up with a proper communication, a proper offer and then we’d receive a reply.”

Jimenez told council there are other options to acquire that land from Great Plains Leaseholds. One is to expropriate the required land, which he noted would likely delay the project for a year due to the expropriation process, and would drive up the overall costs due legal and process costs. The other option is to wait, proceed with only two lanes of Betteridge Road instead of the planned four lanes, from White City Road to Emerald Park Road, building the south side of the road where there is co-operation with landowners.

This would not prevent four lanes from eventually being built, Jimenez said, as they would simply wait for a subdivision plan for that land to go through the approval process and get the land at that time through regular processes.

Immediately following Jimenez’s report, and without further debate, council voted to approve the recommendation to proceed with the two south-side lanes.

Otitoju named Deputy Mayor

As the Nov. 16 meeting was the first since the municipal election, Council had to select a new deputy mayor. Previous deputy mayor Howard Slack was defeated in that election, though a deputy mayor would have had to be officially chosen at this meeting anyway. As part of a lengthy debate on whether the deputy mayor’s term should be two years or four, council discussed options for who should serve in the deputy mayor’s role and eventually elected Rebecca Otitoju unanimously for the position.

Keith Borkowsky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Quad Town Forum