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Brandt fires back at Steinbach opposition

By: Dave Baxter

Posted: 04/12/2019 11:21 AM

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A Hanover councillor had strong words for the City of Steinbach yesterday over its opposition to amendments proposed in Hanover’s development and zoning bylaws.

During a Wednesday morning public hearing in Hanover, Councillor Bob Brandt spoke about Steinbach’s recent unwillingness to cooperate with neighbouring municipalities when it comes to allowing for development near the city’s border.

"I’m looking forward to the day when the City of Steinbach will work together with their neighbours instead of opposing them," Brandt said. "They’re doing this to the RM of La Broquerie and now they’re doing this to the RM of Hanover."

"It’s time that they learn to think regionally."

Hanover council approved an amendment to its existing development and zoning bylaws that would allow for a piece of land west of Homestead Crescent to be re-designated from agricultural to rural residential.

The change will still have to be approved by the Municipal Board before it can go forward.

Developer Abe Bergen is proposing to create a housing development on the land.

Bergen spoke during the hearing, and said he has been surprised by the battle that has occurred over his plans.

"When I started this plan over a year ago I had no idea that piece of land would become such a battleground of policy," Bergen told council.

"The application process and media coverage have made this an interesting journey."

Bergen told council the land as it currently sits has no agricultural value calling it "too close to residents for intensive agriculture, and not suitable for cattle grazing, manure management or forage."

"In other words it really has no agricultural value other than serving as a buffer. Practically speaking this land hasn’t seen a cow for decades," Bergen said.

Bergen also said the land in recent years has been used as a place for teenagers to "hang out and party."

"I think the neighbours would prefer new neighbours rather than partiers," Bergen told council.

Bergen also claimed he has tried to work with and "be collaborative" with the City of Steinbach, and concerns were raised on Wednesday as both Bergen and Hanover councillors refuted a recent media report that neither Bergen nor the municipality have had any consultations with Steinbach about the plan.

"I met with Steinbach’s Mayor Earl Funk on November 30 and had a follow-up conversation a week later to share with him the plans that I had developed, so contrary to what has been reported in the media there has actually been numerous documented points of consultation with the city," Bergen said.

Steinbach has also recently objected to development bylaw plans proposed in the RM of La Broquerie.

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