Having certain adjectives in recommendations about subdivisions can cause issues in the future, believes a Moose Jaw city councillor.
City Council looked at a recommendation to a communication towards the ministry of government relations at their meeting Monday about a proposed subdivision in the rural municipality of Moose Jaw. One of the recommendations was that the city tell the ministry that ‘The City of Moose Jaw will not provide direct water or sewer service for this development’
Coun. Brian Swanson asked to remove the word ‘direct’ from the recommendation.
“We should just simply state we will not provide water or sewer service,” said Swanson. “I made this point last week in camera, you start adding adverbs and adjectives to your motions and the next thing you know you’ve got nothing but problems with legal issues.”
Having the amendment in the recommendation wouldn’t preclude a future negotiated agreement from taking place, Swanson said.
“But to start putting adjectives in front, all we’re doing is setting up legal challenges ... where we want to be as direct as possible,” Swanson said. “We will not provide water or sewer service. And in the future, if there’s negotiations to do that, then let there be negotiations.”
This would be in line with what the city has been doing for the last several subdivisions, Swanson said.
City clerk/solicitor Myron Gulka-Tiechko asked whether it’s the intent of council to discontinue water service already existing to the rural customers.
This isn’t the first one that’s hooked up to the city’s rural water service, Swanson said, and Swanson said they should be looking at the agreements.
“I understand we’ve allowed (some connections) and people have been hooking up, but we are simply saying we’re not doing it,” he said. “And if they’ve somehow convinced the rural water co-op to do something about that, I guess that would be up to them. But I just think we need to be very clear. If we’re not careful we’re going to be providing all the city amenities at great cost to the rural areas, and we’re stuck paying, as we know, the huge bills.”
Mayor Fraser Tolmie said this is a response to the provincial government and they’re not entering a legal position with the subdivision.
“Recently we have been looking at outside water users and the contracts because of the changes in our water rates,” Tolmie said.
City manager Jim Puffalt said that the city is looking at agreements with the rural water users and that once the budget is completed, and see if there’s any control the city has right now.
Swanson said that this is a level of government higher than them asking for the city’s input and that by having the word ‘direct’ allows someone to come back on the city.
“By adding adjectives, you start making things fuzzy,” he said.
Puffalt said that typically agreements bring water to a spot on the boundaries of the subdivision and the water co op is responsible for the water after that.
On the amendment, council passed the amendment and the recommendations.