White City’s request to annex parts of the RM of Edenwold denied

After years of dispute between White City and the Rural Municipality (RM) of Edenwold, White City’s Boundary Altercation Application has been denied.

White City submitted the application back in 2019.

The goal was to bring the communities of White City, Emerald Park, Park Meadows Estates, Meadow Ridge Estates, Escott/Deneve, Great Plains Industrial Park, as well as sufficient additional land together under one municipality separate from the RM of Edenwold.

Basically, White City wants to bring those communities into the municipality of White City. That’ll give them the ability to expand their border and create a larger tax base.

Currently, all of those communities apart from White City are a part of the RM of Edenwold but sit on the border of White City.

Essentially, the Municipality of White City wants to grow but it’s facing difficulties due to commercial and industrial development that’s being done in the RM of Edenwold on 55% of White City’s border.

The RM of Edenwold has disagreed with White City’s proposal to annex those surrounding communities because the RM feels it has a strong, diverse tax base from those communities which it does not want to give up.

The Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) and the Municipal Boundary Committee (MBC) heard both sides of the argument in November of 2022 during an open hearing.

The hearing included presentations of evidence and legal arguments from the Town of White City and RM of Edenwold on White City’s Boundary Alteration Application.

From that hearing, the SMB denied White City’s Boundary Altercation Application.

“We are very disappointed in the decision by the SMB in this matter,” White City Mayor Brian Fergusson said in a news release.

“We respect the board’s decision but ultimately feel this is setting a dangerous precedent for urban municipalities across the province of Saskatchewan. Our team put together a strong fact-based application which unfortunately did not provide a strong enough case in the opinion of the Municipal Boundary Committee.”

He continued to say that this sets a precedent that rural municipalities can grow unchecked on the borders of urban municipalities.

According to the news release, if the RM of Edenwold continues to develop according to its 2020 Official Community Plan, 85% of White City’s border will be surrounded by commercial and industrial development in the RM of Edenwold in the near future. Leaving White City with very little space for growth.

The SMB presented its decision, it allegedly told White City that “the town (White City) has not demonstrated a need to annex land to stop the development next to its borders”. White City ultimately disagrees with this statement and feels that the town put forward a strong demonstration of the need to annex lands for long-term growth.

Since the application was denied, White City now plans to review future growth plans and opportunities for the municipality.

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