2018-2022 Boundary Alteration application
On February 9, 2023, the Town of White City has filed an application for leave to appeal from the recent Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) Municipal Boundary Committee (MBC) decision which was delivered on January 12, 2023.
In that decision, White City's application, which sought to ensure that the Town would have sufficient land to support a well-planned and managed community over the next 25 years by incorporation of undeveloped lands as well as the existing subdivisions of Emerald Park, Park Meadows Estates, Meadow Ridge Estates, Escott/Deneve and Great Plains Industrial Park, was dismissed.
Following a hearing before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal on Wednesday April 26, 2023 – the Court of Appeal has granted the Town of White City leave to appeal the Boundary Alteration decision issued by the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) Municipal Boundary Committee (MBC) on January 12, 2023.
The Court of Appeal decision grants leave to appeal based on the following grounds:
- the Committee erred by failing to provide adequate reasons;
- the Committee erred by ignoring, failing to consider, or misapprehending relevant evidence;
- the Committee erred by failing to apply the proper principles and legal test and by failing to consider the required factors from s. 18(4) of the MBA, under which a proposed annexation is to be evaluated and determined; and
- the Committee erred by basing its decision on irrelevant or improper considerations.
White City filed its application for leave to appeal the MBC decision on February 9, 2023. Now that leave to appeal has been granted, the Town of White City will proceed through the appeal process, which will culminate in a hearing before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal anticipated in the fall of 2023.
2018-2022 Boundary Alteration Background
The Town of White City (the Town) and the surrounding area in the Rural Municipality of Edenwold No. 158 (RM) have, and will continue to, experience significant growth. In 2018, White City commissioned a future growth study with a 25-year range and determined population growth in White City will continue at a very high rate compared to other communities in the province.
- Given a conservative median growth forecast, the area within White City’s proposal is expected to grow to a population of 22,000 by 2045. Growth of this magnitude requires coordinated land use planning and control to ensure efficiency of infrastructure, appropriate and coordinated transportation routes, coordinated recreation facilities, education and municipal services.
- Without a boundary alteration, White City will not have a sufficient land base in which to accommodate its projected growth. If White City were not to receive any more lands for development, it’s population density would be required to rise to between 2,600 and 3,990 people per square kilometer by 2045. This would result in a population density that would surpass the projected population density of 2,090 for the City of Regina for the same time period.
- During the past 25 years, the RM has developed several urban, country residential and rural commercial development on the borders of White City. The amount of development and other barriers to growth now encompasses 55% of the Town’s borders.
- The RM has been planning and approving more urban development surrounding White City, which leaves limited land for expansion. The taxes from the urban development in the RM largely go to fund rural roads and utilities within the RM rather than helping to support urban services and infrastructure used by RM residents.
- In the RM’s 2020 Official Community Plan, they continue to signal that it intends to approve further urban and commercial development on the borders of White City to the extent that 85% of the Town’s borders will be encumbered by development in the RM in the very near future.
- In comparison to 100 other communities in Saskatchewan with a population of 1,000 or more, the average amount of development on urban borders is approximately 10%. The situation with White City is significantly above this average and is unprecedented with respect to the comparison group.
- As the Provincial Government’s Growth Plan progresses through the 2020s and 2030s more towns and urban municipalities will begin to, or are already seeing, increased development on their urban borders by Rural Municipalities. White City’s situation is precedent setting for other urban municipalities in Saskatchewan to protect the ability to grow in the way towns need and want to grow and not how rural municipalities decide urban municipalities may grow.
In May 2018, the Town of White City published it's Proposal for an Integrated Full-Service Community and launched a public information campaign and public engagement process to share it's proposal and hear feedback from the RM and the public. Following a year of engagement White City and the RM engaged in mediation through the Government of Saskatchewan Dispute Resolution Office.
Following mediation with the RM throughout 2019, it became clear to council that the Town and the RM have two different visions for the future of this community. The Town proceeded with an application to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) in November 2019. The Town’s position remains that the One Community proposal is in best interest of White City and the RM of Edenwold and will leave the RM with sufficient fiscal and financial resources to continue to provide services to the remainder of the RM.
- In April 2020, the SMB asked the Town for additional information related to the Town’s application and on May 8th, 2020 the Town submitted an amended application that addressed the additional information and formatting requested by the SMB. This application included a Growth Study Update completed by ISL Engineering and an Updated Financial Impact Assessment completed by CORVUS Business Advisors.
- In July 2020, the SMB assigned a case manager to the file. The case manager’s purpose is to ensure all parties to the Town’s application understand the basis of the application, manage and work through preliminary matters and schedule hearings and other matters pertaining the application.
- Shortly after a case manager was assigned to the file, the RM raised a question of jurisdiction as to whether the Town’s application had to be first submitted to the Minister of Government Relations for referral to the SMB or whether it could be submitted directly to the SMB.
- The jurisdictional hearing was originally set for January 27, 2021; however, due to rising COVID-19 cases, on November 18, 2021, the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) held a preliminary hearing to address the RM of Edenwold’s objection to the Town of White City submitting its Boundary Alteration Application directly to the SMB as opposed to the Minister of Government Relations. The hearing ran for approximately 2.5 hours and included legal arguments from both the Town and RM representatives.
- On December 14, 2021, the SMB issued its decision in which it ruled that the Town had followed the correct procedure by submitting its Application to the SMB and that the SMB has the jurisdiction to decide the Town’s Application.
- A hearing on the application was held November 23 – 29, 2022 in Regina, Saskatchewan. The hearing included the presentation of evidence and legal arguments from the Town of White City and Rural Municipality of Edenwold No. 158 on White City’s Boundary Alteration Application.
- On January 12, 2023, the SMB issued a decision dismissing the Town's application.
For any additional questions regarding the boundary alteration, please contact the Town of White City Office at 306-781-2355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.