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La Broquerie targets Steinbach boundary

By: Jordan Ross

Posted: 07/26/2018 9:15 AM

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A development policy covering land within two miles of Steinbach’s eastern boundary is proving to be grit in the gears of a freshly minted joint action committee.

Reeve Lewis Weiss said La Broquerie intends to strike clauses pertaining to the transitional policy area (TPA) from the municipality’s revised development plan, which is slated for a public hearing next month.

City officials were informed July 11 at the first meeting of the La Broquerie-Steinbach joint action committee, Weiss said.

The committee, which includes elected officials from both municipalities, was created nine months ago to improve communication and anticipate zoning and development challenges along the Highway 52 corridor east of Steinbach.

"We’re just reviewing our plans and thoughts versus their plans and thoughts," the reeve told council last week.

In moving to scrap the TPA, Weiss said the municipality is acting on legal advice. Lawyer Orvel Currie previously called the policy an "archaic" and "likely illegal" jurisdictional overreach.

It stipulates both municipalities must approve new commercial, industrial, and rural residential proposals in the two-mile area, including farm-related subdivisions.

Weiss said the policy is simply redundant, as the public hearing process, and if necessary the municipal board, are sufficient mechanisms for allowing the city to register objections to proposed development near its boundaries.

"They’re allowed to object. That’s why the process is there."

La Broquerie council will still carefully assess development proposals if the TPA is deleted, Weiss added.

Steinbach mayor Chris Goertzen said the TPA should be saved because it aids long-term regional planning.

"The city’s position is that the transition zone is a positive policy, because it allows us to actually sit down together with the RM and work out, in a collaborative way, what transpires in that zone immediately around the city."

Goertzen noted the TPA is more cooperative than the development buffer zone agreements the city has with its other neighbours, the RM of Ste Anne and RM of Hanover.

"It’s not an absolute ‘no’ that things can’t…be built in those areas. It’s that we have to work together to make sure that we’re making the most efficient space possible for the taxpayers of our region."

The city’s recent annexation of a 25-year supply of land to the west and south from the RM of Hanover doesn’t decrease its support for the TPA to the east, Goertzen said.

"Really, we’re building something that’s bigger than just a city (or) an RM. We’re building a region that’s going to be prosperous and efficient going forward."

Policy aside, both Weiss and Goertzen reiterated their support for the new joint action committee, which they said is a positive step for both municipalities.

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