A consensus is developing on Winnipeg city council for the annexation of neighbouring rural municipalities within the Perimeter Highway if growth in the surrounding communities isn’t controlled.
The trigger to the annexation discussion at city council is the plan to close two residential streets in North Kildonan to prevent them from being used as access routes to a proposed Walmart shopping complex in East St. Paul.
Councillors said development — residential, commercial and industrial — within the RMs surrounding the city is impacting city services.
But they singled out East St. Paul’s plan for a Walmart big-box mall that would rely solely on Winnipeg’s residential streets to access the development.
"That’s pretty scary," Coun. Justin Swandel said of the impact of the commercial project would have on Winnipeg residents.
"We as a city… have to start considering what the boundaries of this city are," Swandel said.
There was unanimous support for Coun. Jeff Browaty’s plan to close the two North Kildonan streets, but several councillors cautioned that the city faces similar threats from other RMs.
Browaty said Winnipeg will work with the surrounding RMs to resolve similar disputes but altering the city’s borders maybe the only solution.
"Let’s see what we can do to work together (with the RMs) but if it doesn’t work, then annexation will be the solution," Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) said.