Bowden wants to expand its boundaries
Applying to province for permission
Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017 06:00 am
James Mason, chief administrative officer for the Town of Bowden
BOWDEN - The town is formally applying to the provincial government’s Municipal Government Board for approval to add a big swath of land southwest of the town into its borders.
The land, which totals about 240 acres, is nearly as big as the existing developed town – residential and commercial – not including land in the town’s eastern borders, across Highway 2.
Council passed a motion to make that application during its regular meeting last month.
The land in question is southwest of the existing town, by and large across the railway tracks from the current built-up portion of the community. It includes a seed cleaning plant.
Under provincial legislation, the town must hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed absorption with interested and affected parties.
As of late last month, that public hearing was tentatively scheduled to be held March 28 in the Bowden Friendship Centre as part of the town’s open house, also scheduled for that same time.
If the public hearing can’t be held that soon plans call for it to be held sometime in April.
The town has prepared a letter to the Municipal Government Board which lists its reasons for wanting to absorb the property. Those reasons are as follows:
Primary access to the land in question is from the town off Highway 2A and the town itself. An alternative access is available to the northwest from the Bowden Lake area.
Each of the properties in question is owned by the town or a utility organization.
Improvements on two of the properties include a sewage lift station and a sewage lagoon which are part of the town’s infrastructure.
Waste water lines on the land are an extension of infrastructure from Bowden. However, the town doesn’t have an agreement with Red Deer County for the extension of town utilities into county land.
“All those pieces are titled to the town, but they’re in the county’s municipal boundaries,” Bowden chief administrative officer James Mason says.
Mason says the town does not have plans – at least yet – to create a new subdivision on any of that land.
“It would just give a little bit more control over the land, and a lot less confusion too, because right now, it belongs to the town, but it’s in the county,” he says.
He says currently the town has a compost pile and a brush pile there that gets burned a couple of times of year. Each time town officials want to do anything with them, they have to ask county officials for permission to do so.
This way, “they would be our own property.”
Mason says another factor in the decision to annex the land is that the province requires municipalities to plan well into the future with surrounding municipalities -- which can include counties -- via inter-municipal development plans (IDPs).
“It isn’t yet (an absolute must) but it will be. And that’s the idea – to plan ahead,” Mason says.
He says this annexation is not connected in any way to plans to develop a grain terminal north of Bowden.