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Possibility of Rosser annexation resurfaces in water dispute

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Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz recently suggested that annexing a section of the RM of Rosser might be the quickest way to allow large-scale development in CentrePort’s Brookside Industrial Park West to proceed.


The RM of Rosser and City of Winnipeg entered a service sharing agreement in 2011 that would see the city extend sewer and water service into CentrePort’s Brookside Industrial Park West and other land which lies within the municipality. Approximately 60% of CentrePort’s 20,000 acres are in Rosser.


City council was forced to adjust the agreement last December after receiving an objection by the International Joint Commission, a Canada-US agency that regulates cross-border water issues. The objection is based on the historic agreement allowing Winnipeg to pump water from Shoal Lake for the use of city residents, and not for sharing with neighbouring municipalities.
Without water service, larger businesses aren’t able to locate in Brookside Industrial Park West, as they can’t meet fire safety requirements.


Katz’s statement came after the IJC released a preliminary assessment saying the city will be in non-compliance if it transfers water beyond its boundaries.


"We continue to work with our CentrePort partners on finding the best solutions for moving servicing forward. Rosser council has passed a resolution for accepting in principle a wastewater agreement with the City of Winnipeg and we continue to explore alternate solutions for providing water services," RM of Rosser reeve Frances Smee said in a May 2 statement.


She said the municipality does have water services on its west side.


"We have, in no way, exhausted the options that exist for bringing water to CentrePort." Smee stated.


The RM of Rosser council rejected an annexation proposal in 2009. In a letter to the City of Winnipeg’s CAO, dated January 5, 2010, then-reeve Alice Bourgouin wrote against a proposal to annex the municipal land within CentrePort’s boundaries, and outlined how the municipality was willing to work with the city on CentrePort’s development.


Riva Harrison, CentrePort’s executive director of marketing and communications, said the corporation is reviewing the IJC’s decision before commenting further.

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