The Rural Municipality of Estevan came into the City of Estevan's council chambers on Monday night well prepared to present their formal notice of objection to the city's proposed annexation of land from the RM.
With around ten municipal ratepayers in attendance, local lawyer James Trobert spoke on behalf of the municipality and presented a number of points that argue the city's want to annex land.
"Our focus on Monday night was, does the city have a need for this land that they are proposing to annex from the RM. The RM's position is fairly clear that no, there is not a need at this point nor likely will it have so in the future," said Trobert.
According to Trobert's findings from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Estevan had the highest vacancy rate in the province during 2016 at 27.6% vacancy. With that in mind, the RM believes the city's growth projections don't add up.
"The city already has a sufficient inventory of land within it's boundaries to meet any future expansion needs. Secondly the population growth that the city has indicated as their primary driver for this annexation proposal is based on a growth rate of 2.6%. We have filed information with the city indicating that the statistics indicate that the growth rate will likely not be that high and that the boom contributed largely to that significant growth rate and it won't likely be that over the next 30 years."
The RM also says the city can move forward with their development without annexing land from the municipality.
"As far as the city's need for a development to occur along the truck bypass corridor and wanting to take control of that, we feel that the RM and the City can work together with that to ensure an orderly development along the bypass and that annexation is not required for it. Financially the RM is concerned about the city's ability to maintain Township Road 25 which is a primary agricultural road that requires a lot of maintenance. We want to ensure that road is maintained and the RM believes it's in the best position to do so."
"Should it go to the provincial boundary committee I think the focus there is on need and whether or not the proposed annexation from the city has established that need, and in the RM's opinion it has not," Trobert concluded.
The city of Estevan is currently taking what was said under consideration and will decide what their next step will be in the coming weeks.