Selkirk Council has submitted a formal application to the Minister of Municipal Relations Derek Johnson requesting that the City of Selkirk be removed from the Red River Planning District boundaries and jurisdiction.
The decision came following a public hearing on March 23, 2021 held to gauge the level of support from citizens and stakeholders for repatriating land-use planning and construction permitting from the RRPD and providing those services inhouse.
“The feedback we received at the hearing was unanimously in favour of repatriation, which is consistent with the informal feedback we have been hearing from our citizens and developers for many years” said Mayor Johannson.
Johannson said that council did not take this step lightly nor without due consideration to the short and long-term impacts to the community. Councils over the past seven years struggled with the misalignment between the operations and governance of the RRPD and the City’s vision for service provision and economic development in the community. Only after seeking and obtaining expert and unbiased advice to help review and understand the benefits and consequences of repatriation paired with the feedback from citizens, developers and administration did council make this decision.
“it’s time for Selkirk to provide its own planning and permitting services in alignment with our sustainable economic development vision. The feasibility study proved that by establishing a new, inhouse city planning office, we would save our citizens tax dollars and we could set the standards for service delivery and that’s really important to us” said Johannson.
Council firmly believes that should the withdrawal be approved, the result would be a more timely, affordable, efficient, and supportive service for the citizens and prospective community investors of Selkirk.
CAO Duane Nicol said that this is the right decision and in the best interest of the citizens of Selkirk today and into the future.
“Selkirk has the organizational and administrative capacity to take on what’s required to deliver these services”
“We are committed to responsible and sustainable community development. We demonstrate that commitment with our provincial and national leadership in the areas of asset management and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Social, economic and environmental sustainability is at the core of our Community Strategic Plan. Bringing these services back in-house will help us achieve our community vision” said Nicol.
If the application is approved, Selkirk hopes to be able to approach land-use planning from a regional perspective while delivering high-quality, city-focused services.
“It’s important for us to continue to work together to ensure land uses and other services consider the impacts on citizens regardless of municipal boundary”
Johannson agrees, saying that if the Minister approves the application, the city will be committed to implementing the withdrawal in collaboration with RRPD and all the remaining member municipalities.
“We want Selkirk to be successful, and we want our municipal neighbours to be successful as well. We truly think that this decision frees up the RRPD to focus on the development and service needs of the region’s rural municipalities and allows us to focus on our urban needs. We want to see a strong St. Andrews, a strong St Clements, a strong and successful region and even though we may not be a part of the RRPD in the future – we will continue to work together,” said Johannson.