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City signs agreements with local couple for water services in rural area

The property is north of Moose Jaw and adjacent to Highway 1. The Cowans want to subdivide the property for agricultural, industrial or commercial purposes.
City hall spring 1a
City hall is located at the corner of Main Street and Fairford Street. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

City hall and a local couple will sign several agreements so the latter can connect to municipal water lines for a project that develops eight hectares (20 acres) north of the city.

During its June 27 regular meeting, city council unanimously authorized the mayor and city clerk to sign an infrastructure agreement, an extra municipal servicing agreement and an extra municipal servicing connection agreement between the City of Moose Jaw and Cal and Deborah Cowan for water service for land at SE-13-17-27 W2 in the Rural Municipality of Moose Jaw. 

The property is north of Moose Jaw and adjacent to Highway 1. The Cowans want to subdivide the property for agricultural, industrial or commercial purposes.

The Cowans will have 15 years to pay the City of Moose Jaw $55,000 for the four developments. Their first payment will be $11,000, while the remaining $44,000 — $14,667 per subdivision — will be paid as more subdivisions occur. The outstanding amount will be forgiven if the remaining money is not fully paid because no further subdivisions occur. 

Negotiations long, arduous, tough, great

David Chow, a lawyer representing the Cowans, thanked council and city administration for completing the agreement process. Negotiations went well, even though they were “long and arduous” with occasional hurdles.

“What we have come to is beneficial to the City of Moose Jaw, it meets the needs of the Cowans and it meets the responsibilities of city administration and council,” he said. 

Chow added that minor changes were made to one section of the extra municipal serving agreement that didn’t make it into the final council report. However, city administration was flexible in allowing the changes since they did not substantially affect the agreement.  

Both parties reached an agreement on all major points during “great and tough” negotiations, city manager Jim Puffalt said. This agreement breaks new ground for the city since it now extends water connections to locations outside its boundaries. 

“It’s an exciting new agreement and concept for the city to take,” he remarked. 

Discussions initially focused on connecting the Cowans’ development to a four-inch water line on 16th Avenue Northwest, but the potential exists to connect to an eight-inch line near the North Service Road and provide larger developments with some services, Puffalt continued. 

The city has fully serviced land in the Agri-Foods Industrial Park, but it does not want that property used for storage, pipe yards, or farm implement dealers that don’t require full services, he said. So, it’s exciting that larger parcels of land are available nearby for such matters. 

Council appreciation

This is a great initiative, especially since the municipality cannot accommodate this size of project within city limits, said Coun. Crystal Froese. This subdivision shows that council must work with its RM partners to bring businesses into the area since it will benefit both organizations. 

“I’m excited to see how this moves forward and develops,” she added.

Coun. Jamey Logan agreed, adding he suspects many people who work in the adjacent RM live in Moose Jaw. With these subdivisions, more people will move here, attend sporting events and pay taxes.

Contract details

The infrastructure agreement deals with construction within city limits. The Cowans are responsible for building and installing all works and services, as approved, reviewed, inspected and monitored by the city engineer. The municipality will own these works, but the couple must pay for and install, maintain and warrant such works.

The extra municipal servicing agreement deals with construction of works outside city limits, with the Cowans responsible for construction, installation and maintenance of these works. 

Any further connections to municipal water lines will require city hall’s prior written consent and require the Cowans to collect a connection fee.

The extra municipal servicing connection agreement handles the connection of waterworks outside city limits to works inside municipal limits. 

If the city annexes land that the Cowans own, then city hall will cap all subsequent connection fees on those lands using the same formula used for subsequent and third-party connection fees. 

The next regular council meeting is Monday, July 11.