Community won’t cede land to Centreport

ROSSER, Man. — A rural community northwest of Winnipeg, has rejected a proposal that would allow the bigger city’s government to annex land for use by CentrePort Canada.

Rosser’s Reeve Alice Bourgouin calls the city’s expansion plan premature, describing it as "a dramatic solution" that won’t be required until businesses actually begin setting up shop in CentrePort. 

The two communities have been in talks about annexation of the land since 2008.

Winnipeg wants to assume jurisdictional control of all the lands slated to become CentrePort, a manufacturing, warehousing and distribution centre planned for the outskirts of Richardson International Airport.

Rosser representatives say the rural community cannot afford the estimated $40-million price tag for water and sewer pipes that would service CentrePort.

Winnipeg, on the other hand, is reluctant to extend services into land it doesn’t control.

According to a report by The Winnipeg Free Press, the city wants to administer all the land in order to avoid the jurisdictional headaches that have plagued Richardson Airport, which also straddles the two municipalities.

But in a letter sent to Winnipeg’s chief administrative officer, Bourgouin said, "In acknowledging the speculative characteristics of inland port development and the contentious nature of annexation initiatives, prudence dictates that such initiatives be brought forward only when measurable land pressures confirm that they are necessary."

As an alternative to annexation, Bourgouin offered the city the opportunity to extend water and sewer lines into Rosser for free. Her municipality would make no requests to tie into the water and sewer lines, she pledged.

Meanwhile, officials from the fledgling inland port, are headed south to promote the new development to the U.S. and Mexico.

It will also be a fact-finding tour and networking opportunity for about 30 people connected to CentrePort, including CEO Diane Gray and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.

They’ll visit four inland ports, starting at Guanajuato, Mexico, and proceeding to the Alliance Global Logistics Hub in Fort Worth, Texas, the Dallas Logistics Hub, the International Port of Memphis, and CentrePoint Intermodal Center in Joliet, Ill. 

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