One hundred and ninety hectares of farmland would be added to the city of Dawson Creek under a plan to extend the city’s boundaries.
But does the city need more land?
That question is raised in a Peace River Regional District (PRRD) report on a request to bring two large agricultural properties into Dawson Creek.
Adding the properties would increase the city’s land base by around seven per cent.
The sections include a 64-hectare parcel north of Highway 97 and east of 223 Road, and a 125-hectare holding between 219 and 217 Roads south of the Dangerous Goods Route.
Unlike in Fort St. John, where the city recently sought rural properties for new development, in this case it’s the landowners in Dawson Creek asking to be brought into the city.
The request came in January, when Wayne and Kerry Hansen asked that the city consider annexing their lands.
In a letter, the landowners wrote that it would be “a natural extension to existing city boundaries” that would “allow for future growth in the city.”
The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), the provincial organization that regulates farmland, does not support the existing proposal, writing in a letter that bringing the properties into the city would “be a signal for imminent urbanization.”
The commission said lands already in the city should be considered for future development.
The regional district also voiced opposition to the plan Thursday, with a majority of directors saying “there has not been a demonstration or evidence of the need for additional urban development lands” in the city.
City council signed off on the expansion in January, provided the landowners pay for a study on the costs of plugging the properties into water and sewer. A report identifies “significant challenges” in providing water at the southernmost property. The province would be in charge of providing road access.
First Nations, neighbours, the land commission and the PRRD all have a say in whether the extension goes forward.
A regional district report was critical of the plan, saying “inclusion of these lands is premature” and would “undermine the objectives of [community plans] to protect agricultural lands, promote infill and efficient use of infrastructure.”
The extension could be sent to a referendum if ten per cent of voters request one, while the province has the final say.