By Marianne Curtis
The RM of La Broquerie council has agreed to sit down with local developers after a dozen builders attended a recent council meeting with a list of questions.
The group of developers, led by Louis Balcaen demanded that the municipality revisit their rules and regulations pertaining to development in the region.
“We are frustrated with the lack of support from the Town and the Municipality to development; it should be a win-win for all,” Balcaen told council. “Instead, no one in council seems to appreciate the revenue generated by subdivisions – you have treated us quite shabbily.”
One of the biggest issues that the developers would like addressed is the amount of bond that they are forced to place on their subdivisions before they receive council approval.
“We are being charged four times the amount of bond that other places charge their developers,” Balcaen pointed out. “Why is La Broquerie charging us $500,000 for something that Steinbach asks $100,000 for? We expect the charges but we also expect a fair price.”
“I was recently asked for a $1.6 million bond,” added John Giesbrecht, another developer. “People want to build here but that is ridiculous. At that cost they don’t want to do business with the RM of La Broquerie.”
Reeve Marielle Wiebe explained that the bond amount is determined by an engineer who figures out the cost of infrastructure into a new subdivision such as roads, sewer and water.
“The bond decreases as things are done in the subdivision,” stated Wiebe. “It was established because we’ve had developers build a subdivision in the past and then walk away after their lots are sold, leaving us stuck.”
Prior to the last municipal election, the RM of La Broquerie was recognized as being the fastest growing community in the province but that has changed in recent years, pointed out the delegation.
“We can not sell lots for $60,000 like Steinbach does but we are being forced to come close to this,” stated Kenny Tallaire. “It is embarrassing when there is no pride in the municipality anymore. You think we are the bad people and when we come in we are treated shabbily. People are afraid to come into the office now.”
Farrel Rempel voiced frustration about having to apply for building permits on behalf of customers because of issues within the municipal office.
“There is no way you would run a business this way, if you did you would not be in business very long,” Rempel told council.
The RM of La Broquerie council has decided that they would call a special meeting to discuss the issues further.
“We want to make sure things are done and done well – we will review it and maybe we can find a fair balance,” concluded the reeve. The meeting will take place in June.