Annexation OK expected

A recommendation report on whether to approve City of Red Deer’s annexation proposal must still hit the desk of the municipal affairs minister.

A recommendation report on whether to approve City of Red Deer’s annexation proposal must still hit the desk of the municipal affairs minister.

But officials working closely on the arrangement for 7,500 acres are optimistic Ray Danyluk will give his blessing.

He then takes it to cabinet for final approval.

Dennis Woolsey, acting chair of the Alberta Municipal Government Board, said his board is still preparing a recommendation to the minister on whether the annexation should go ahead.

The city hopes to officially annex the land from Red Deer County as of Sept. 1.

Even if provincial cabinet gives its approval after that date, Woolsey said the annexation deal could be retroactive to then. “We’ve done this many times before,” said Woolsey.

The land involved is 267 acres west of Red Deer and includes Heritage Ranch, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and the Riverview Park residential area, plus 3,257 acres of mostly agricultural land north of the city. There’s also 3,960 acres of mainly agricultural land and some country residential areas around the eastern edge.

Annexation would increase the city’s land mass by 40 per cent.

Earlier this year, the city approved as part of its 2009 operational budget the hiring of nearly a dozen people to handle the extra services and needs.

“I think all the departments have been working very diligently since the budget,” said Charity Dyke, city communications co-ordinator for future directions. “We’re ready to start up . . . if we receive the annexation.”

Some staff have already been hired. Some won’t be hired until later this summer.

The city must assume control of services like road grading, snow plowing and recycling.

Red Deer County manager Curtis Herzberg expects the approval to happen and the transition to run smoothly.

“We’re working under the assumption that there won’t be any major issues to deal with,” he said.

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