While Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation would like to purchase the land at Deer Ridge Golf Course “sooner rather than later,” it is not prepared to do so just yet, according to regional director Herb Mahood.
Mahood, who has been involved in the process over the past decade, promises golf course owner Chris Kading that he will be given plenty of notice before the province commences construction on his land.
“The 18th Street interchange is the last stage of the project,” he said. “The first stage is to build the North Service Road, second stage is to build a South Service Road, then we need to relocate 18th Street to the west and First Street to the east … to make room for the interchanges. That’ll all happen before the interchanges get built, so he’ll have lots of notice.”
While he may be given “lots of notice” before the highway is built, what bothers Kading is the fact that, in the meantime, the course remains in limbo.
Early compensation would allow him to plan for the redevelopment of his golf course, and secure more land as roughly six holes would be wiped out to make way for the new highway.
“If he’s a business man, it always comes down to short-term dollars and we have long-term plans, and the two concepts don’t always jive,” Mahood said.
Kading’s hands are also tied for other development on his own land. In 2006-07, he wanted to build a new cart storage shed on his property, and enlisted an engineering company to draw up the plan.
“My cart storage shed is completely full, so in order to grow my membership base … I need more cart storage space,” he said.
Kading submitted the plan to the city, RM of Elton and Government of Manitoba, and it was rejected by the province.
“They wouldn’t let us build a building on our property because there’s a road going there sometime in the future,” he said.
“So I can’t use my land the way I want to use my land.”
Mahood said it’s “fairly common” for the province not to allow people to develop any further on property that they know will be needed down the road, even if they haven’t gotten around to purchasing it yet.
“It’s just a typical way we do long-term planning,” he said. “We’re trying to avoid spending extra taxpayers money in the future because developers want to develop now, so we’re trying to again save taxpayers money down the road.”
Another frustration for Kading is watching other parcels of land around his property being bought by the province.
“They’ve been buying all this land up, but … their indirect off-the-record position is, ‘well there’s a golf course there, we don’t need to purchase it yet,’ ” Kading said.
Mahood said that a “fair bit” of land has been acquired by the province, and admitted that property is purchased when there is pressure from developers.
“That’s when we move forward on the actual purchase,” he said.
The executive summary of Earth Tech’s functional design study in 2002 included a recommendation to establish a “separate or special fund” for the “timely acquisition of the required right-of-way.”
“Although there is presently no committed date to commence construction of the recommended plan, right-of-way must be secured or protected as it becomes available,” states the executive summary document.
Also in the summary was a resolution from the RM of Elton, which supported the plan “conditional in that the total right-of-way required for the project be acquired within a three-year period.”
Obviously that condition was not met.
“They gave us a resolution supporting the project, and their desire was for us to buy the land sooner,” Mahood said. “I agree with that overall concept but we don’t normally do that on these long, expensive functionals.”
The Brandon Sun contacted RM of Elton Reeve Jim Boyd to see what he had to say regarding the province not meeting the condition laid out in the 2002 plan.
As this was before Boyd’s time on council, he said he plans to bring the issue to the next council meeting.
“I’ll get our staff to bring the resolution up so we can actually look at it and debate it,” he said. “At that point in time, we’ll either endorse the previous resolution or we’ll change our support.”
Boyd said the council has received complaints over the years from several businesses, who were either wanting to build in the RM or expand, but faced roadblocks similar to what Deer Ridge has experienced.
“(The province) won’t let them build because apparently it’s in this long-range plan, but they’re not doing anything about it,” Boyd said. “They can’t give us any timeline at all as to when they’re going to complete this job. All we’ve been told is it’s a long way down the road.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 17, 2013