By Charles Hamilton, The StarPhoenix October 28 2013 - The province has decided to slow development north of Saskatoon until more regional planning is complete. The province has rejected a plan put forward by the rural municipality of Corman Park to loosen rules around land use and allow residents to parcel off agricultural land into acreages. The decision, made public earlier last week, isn't sitting well with some Corman Park residents.
"Of course there is frustration. There are a lot of people who want to develop," said Corman Park Reeve Judy Harwood.
"We have to come up with some middle ground."
City officials raised concerns about the zoning changes in certain areas in the RM, which they say conflict with the city's tentative regional growth plan.
Corman Park council wanted landowners in the RM to be allowed to subdivide five dwelling unit parcels per quarter section, or three per 80 acres. That change would have
paved the way for numerous acreage developments north of the city. The province rejected those amendments.
"We've never said development shouldn't proceed or anything like that," Murray Totland, Saskatoon's city manager said. "All we've said is we need to have this discussion together."
Saskatoon recently released a map of its growth plan to one million people that expands the city's growth area north past Martinsville, Warman and Olser. Since the city has already expanded nearly to the edge of the district planning area in some spots, it is widely expected the city boundaries will have to be expanded again. In a letter to the province, Totland previously had urged a moratorium on any zoning changes that would spur on development. The province did not mention anything about a two-year halt zoning changes in their letter to RM.
Harwood isn't giving up her fight to allow people to subdivide. She said she may ask the province for permission to subdivide land into four dwelling units per quarter section, instead of the rejected proposal to have five. "I am confident that (the province) recognizes that people want to live in the RM and to stop development is just not realistic," she said.
Both Totland and Harwood agree, however, that there needs to be co-operation if everyone is going to benefit from the booming population in and around Saskatoon.
A regional planning conference in Saskatoon next month will be the first step in that process.