The City of Regina’s plan for long term growth has been a hot topic of debate for over a year now. This debate came to a head on Monday night when Regina City Council approved a growth plan which includes the annexation of land currently zoned within the surrounding RM of Sherwood.
Disputes over growth-oriented land use began last spring when the RM of Sherwood dissolved the joint planning commision with the City of Regina, which had previously served as the only official forum for growth planning discussions between the RM and the City. Since then, the RM of Sherwood has announced its plans to approve new developments on RM land which would sit just outside of the current Regina city limits, effectively stunting future growth for the City.
In order to combat this, the plan approved on Monday by City Council will see sections of land currently within the RM of Sherwood annexed. Effectively this means they will become a part of the City of Regina. The owners of this land will pay taxes to the City, and the City will be responsible for servicing this land. The RM of Sherwood will also receive tax-loss compensation for the annexed land. The actual amount of this compensation has yet to be decided.
This land dispute has popped up within the context of a broader issue currently affecting many areas of Saskatchewan. With the province’s recent influx of migrants and economic growth, major urban centers are having to expand at a growing rate, often at the expense of adjacent rural municipalities.
This urban-rural fringe has raised the question: Who’s claim to the land is more legitimate?
As this debate becomes more and more prevalent, the provincial government will likely need to step in in order to solve these disputes. Here are some of the Twitter-highlights from Monday’s City Council discussion on annexation, long term growth, and the urban-rural fringe.