By Cole Parkinson
The Municipal District of Taber has received a letter from the Town of Taber for notification of annexation.
In order to fulfill requirements set out in Section 116(1) of the Municipal Government Act, the letter needed to be sent to the M.D. to initiate the annexation process.
The annexation land specified in the letter is eight parcels of land owned by the town and four privately owned parcels that are contiguous with the land owned parcels with all parcels being located west of the town boundary and are accessed off Highway 864.
These areas all house town infrastructure including the trout pond, walking trail, landfill and transfer station, stormwater outfall and dog park.
“The proposed annexation is a logical and contiguous expansion of the town boundary. It reflects the town’s ownership of 898 acres of the 957 acres proposed for annexation and the substantial town investment in infrastructure. These investments include the development of the town’s landfill, waste transfer station, stormwater outfall structure, the dog park, rodeo grounds, an integral component of the town’s walking trail network and development associated with the trout pond,” stated the town’s notice of annexation.
The Town of Taber council originally made a motion during a February meeting that stated ‘that council direct administration to begin the process of annexation for lands located west of the town of Taber associated with the waste transfer station and the trout pond, in alignment with the Municipal Government Act, Division 6, and Municipal Government Board’s annexation process and principles.’
“They (Town of Taber) have filed a formal letter with the Municipal Government Board of their intent to annex. This is the first stage in the annexation process, it doesn’t constitute the annex application, it is simply part of the process where the municipality has to officially notify the municipality in which the land is proposed from being annexed from and you have to notify the province along with all affected agencies with both municipalities,” said Bonnie Brunner, senior planner at Oldman River Regional Services Commission.
With the annexation process started, the entirety of the annexation is expected to take a bit of time to be fully completed.
The town will need to do a variety of different things in the next steps of the annexation process.
“Now that they have formally filed this, they are going to proceed with meeting with landowners, undertaking the public consultation process and meeting with the M.D. to undertake negotiations in respect to the annexation. They have to prepare an annexation report and they have to share that report with the M.D., which the M.D. can consent with the report, which means they consent to the fact that what’s in the report is a fair and accurate representation from the deliberations. Even if you consent to the report, you can still object the annexation,” added Brunner.
While discussions between the town and the private owners of the parcels of land occurred earlier this year, public consultation periods will be held in the fall.
Currently, they have an online survey on their website with hard copies available at their open houses which are expected to be held on consecutive days in September.
With all of that in mind, M.D. of Taber council realizes the annexation is going to be drawn out timeline.
“This is a process, it isn’t going to happen overnight,” said Reeve Brian Brewin.
Brunner highlighted the fact the M.D. may need to hire other sources of information in regard to the annexation if further information is outside of her range.
The M.D. also hasn’t seen many annexations over the past few years.
The administration stated the last formal annexation happened in 2007 in relation to the Village of Barnwell and the process went smoothly.
“That one was relatively simple because the landowners were able to reach an agreement with respect to annexation quickly,” said CAO Derrick Krizsan.
In regard to this coming annexation with the Town of Taber, Brewin stated he expects some opposition to come forward.
“That’s been our message to the town, we go as directed as our ratepayers,” he said.
A motion was made by the council to accept the notice of annexation and was passed unanimously.
Coun. Leavitt Howg was absent from the meeting.