Representatives from the Town of La Ronge have met the neighboring community of Eagle Point for initial talks regarding the potential for amalgamating. A meeting took place last week featuring city officials and about a dozen homeowners.
“The town wanted to get a sense of our appetite to joint them,” Dan Boyer, a resident and member of the Eagle Point Homeowners board told larongeNOW. “It really was just exploratory and they wanted to hear what we’d like to see from joining.”
Boyer said residents have long wanted to have roadway improvements and maintenance, and getting connected to the town’s water and sewer service might also be a benefit, but he added there would be a cost and some residents want to know what that might be.
“I have an open mind on things, but I’d say it was a 50/50 split among those who were there as to whether they’re interested in joining,” Boyer said. “People moved out here in the knowledge they’d have to haul their own water and we’re on septic. We also know that our taxes would probably go up if we joined the town.”
Mayor Ron Woytowich described the meeting as a success, adding there appeared to be enough interest to warrant another gathering likely in February. At that time, he said more information such as costs and benefits for both sides will be available in more detail.
Various councils have been exploring the idea of Eagle Point joining La Ronge for the last 25 years, Woytowich noted, but a formal meeting never took place until last week about the subject. Considering town council might decide to extend water and sewer services to the municipally-owned airport north of La Ronge someday, he said it makes sense for council to strike a deal with Eagle Point residents to join them and be incorporated in the expansion as well.
“The majority of the cons was what they were going to get for their money and if it was just a tax grab,” Woytowich said. “Yes, we do want part if the tax base because we want to plan more services, but at the same time, we also want to make sure, as a community, everything is pretty much the same.”
Community planner for the town Abby Besharah said she thought the meeting was very positive and a basis for further discussion. She added the way the town is approaching the matter is very different to how things went a number of years ago when the town expanded.
“In a lot of ways [the meeting] was meant to avoid repeating historic, more adversarial ways of having this discussion when there was a boundary expansion that included the airport,” she said.
With files from Derek Cornet
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