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City anticipates annexation decision before the new year

It’s been nearly a year since the city and county of Grande Prairie participated in the final annexation merit hearing in front of the Municipal Government Board. A decision on the city’s application was initially expected much earlier in the spring, but that announcement was delayed until the fall. Mayor Bill Given says there are a plans for a joint council meeting between the city and county once they know the province’s decision.

“So at a very basic level we’ll have to re-look at our Inter municipal Development Plan. That gives us an opportunity to look at other areas for potential integration like the regional transportation networks, and I think that will be a great opportunity for the two municipalities to engage in a dialogue about how we work together to better integrate these types of services.”

At the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association fall conference last month Given says he was told by Municipal Affairs Minister Daren Bilous that a decision would be announced well in advance of December 31. Given says he is hopeful that the MGB will provide enough time between the announcement of the annexation decision and it’s implementation to allow time to prepare for providing the level of service that has been promised to new residents.

“We committed to providing the same level of service that county residents are seeing in terms of municipal services. We fully intend to do that, we just need to have enough lead time so we can plan for delivering that service. We’ve asked the minister to ensure that that’s part of the consideration when they choose when to make their announcement and when they choose what the effective date of annexation will be.”

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The City’s proposal is seeking to annex 6300 hectares of land from the County of Grande Prairie. The County’s proposal, on the other hand, would see 543 hectares handed over to the city.

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