Winnipeg city councillors have their eyes on land outside city limits.
A consensus is developing among councillors that land in neighbouring rural municipalities within the Perimeter Highway should be annexed if growth in surrounding communities isn't controlled.
Wednesday's discussion of annexation was triggered by a plan to close off 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 within the RMs surrounding the city is impacting city services. They singled out East St. Paul's Walmart big-box store plan that would rely solely on Winnipeg residential streets to access the development.
"That's pretty scary," Coun. Justin Swandel said of the impact the 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 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 may be 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 said.
The Walmart plan is on hold after the Red River planning district told the developer the proposal wouldn't be considered until it develops alternative routes that do not impact Winnipeg residents.
But there is concern on council East St. Paul will challenge Winnipeg's move to block access to the proposed development.