The Headliner invited five local reeves to reflect on the past year’s activities and make predictions on what the new year will hold for their constituencies.
Macdonald looks forward to growth
Balancing the needs of growing bedroom communities with the municipality’s traditional agricultural base is an ongoing challenge for RM of Macdonald’s council.
Deputy reeve Doug Dobrowolski acknowledges that parts of the municipality can be called "rurban" as Oak Bluff, La Salle, Sanford and Starbuck are home to many commuters working in Winnipeg. Their concerns don’t necessarily match those of longtime residents who make their living from agriculture.
"We can’t forget about our agricultural base," he said. "It’s still a priority."
"We’ll see continued commercial growth along McGillvray," he added.
As well as single-family homes, Dobrowolski said the development focus is turning to constructing multi-family dwellings, such as the 14-unit condominium complex that’s part of the Oak Bluff West development.
Once La Salle’s sewage lagoon is expanded in 2014, many pending subdivision applications can proceed, and Dobrowolski expects to see the community continue to grow.
"It’s going to be a busy year," he said.
St. Francois Xavier charts a steady course
St. Francois Xavier reeve Roger Poitras is pleased that he doesn’t have to recall a major flood or other emergency when looking back over 2013.
But the municipality is now better prepared for emergencies, thanks to purchases of a new fire tanker and truck.
"We did replace that fire tanker that was damaged in 2012," he said.
Poitras said another one of the year’s highlights was the Dec. 4 opening of a waste transfer station at the municipal nuisance grounds.
While the municipality’s 12 new housing starts might seem modest compared to those in other municipalities, Poitras said steady growth of between 10 and 12 homes per year is good.
"I think we’ll continue to grow," he said, adding that the sewage lagoon will be expanded in 2014, with the cost paid for by development fees.
These new homes, and others within the municipality, are being equipped with wireless water meters that can be read from the street by municipal staff.
"There was no tax increase in 2013," Poitras said. "This is the fifth year with no increase."
He’s proud of the municipality’s long history, and looks forward to the opening of Auberge Juliette, a guest inn being constructed in the former Grey Nuns’ convent in the village.
Looking for more affordable housing in Headingley
Headingley mayor Wilf Taillieu said 2013 began with a disappointment when social media giant Facebook decided against locating a data centre in the western part of the RM of Headingley. Government security issues were cited as the reason the centre was located in Iowa.
"We were so close to having it here," he said.
However, not all the preparations made for the centre were in vain, as it appears that construction on a new water treatment plant on the Assiniboine River will begin in 2014. The groundwork laid during planning for the data centre will come in handy as work on the plant moves forward. Water from the plant will be piped into the section of the RM of Rosser that lies within CentrePort to facilitate large-scale development there.
Taillieu said the municipality’s takeover of the stretch of Roblin Boulevard that runs west from the Taylor Bridge allowed drainage improvements to be made and a new popular walking/cycling path to be placed next to the road.
Future recreation development will follow the municipality’s master plan.
"We try to do a bit each year," Taillieu said.
In the new year, he looks for residential development to occur on the north side of the Assiniboine — possibly single-family homes that are more affordable than those in the small subdivisions on the south side of the river.
Avoiding a major flood is good news for Cartier
RM of Cartier reeve Roland Rasmussen is happy with what didn’t happen last spring.
Despite ominous provincial flood forecasts early in the year, the anticipated major flooding didn’t happen within the municipality thanks to a late spring with gradual melting.
"Fortunately we had minimal flooding," he said.
One of the main municipal projects for the year was the extension of low-pressure sewer line in St. Eustache, Fort Rouge, the northern part of Elie and the Springstein area. The service is expected to be available to residents in 2014.
Rasmussen said the coming year is a big one as the RM of Cartier is celebrating its centennial.
"We’ve already done a lot of planning for it," he said.
He reminds current and former residents that the deadline for sending in information and photos for the new Cartier history book from 1985 to 2013 is the end of January.
Rosser moves forward with CentrePort development
Work to provide sewer and water service for the portion of the RM of Rosser that lies within CentrePort and the development of a secondary plan will continue in 2014, Rosser reeve Frances Smee said.
"We will keep working with our CentrePort partners in the preparation of a secondary plan for portions of the CentrePort area," Smee said. The updated secondary plan will also allow new residential areas to be developed in the village of Rosser.
She said renowned planner Randall Arendt was hired in 2013 to lead community consultations and business discussions to form the basis of the new plan.
Revised zoning bylaws for the CentrePort and the non-CentrePort areas of Rosser will be adopted in 2014.
"We continue to update our bylaws to better cope with the development pressures facing the municipality," Smee said.
The municipality’s ongoing drainage improvement program involves profiling and repairing municipal drains and ditches. Riparian areas will be as part of the program.