Town of Neepawa acquires CN property


By: Kate Jackman-Atkinson

It’s been a long road but the Town of Neepawa now officially owns the CN property. CN representative Daniel Chan attended the Feb. 5 Neepawa council meeting to mark the transfer of the 17 parcels of land that make up the 42 acres of mostly undeveloped land in the heart of Neepawa.

The Town paid $450,000 for the land located along Hwy. 5 just north of the junction between Hwy 5 and Hwy 16.

Acquiring the CN property has always been a priority for the Town for a number of years.  However, closing a deal to acquire the CN property has been one of EDO Rick Donaldson’s major projects since he started with the town and was one of council’s major projects in 2012.

Now that the titles have been transferred, the Town will focus on development and council has begun preliminary work on access and how the property will be developed. Council has been considering proposals from professional planners as well as gathering input from staff and government agencies as to how to best develop the site for highway commercial, commercial and possibly residential development.

The Town has had preliminary proposals for development of parcels and will continue to receive such proposals going forward.

 At this time, not all of the property is developable since there is some contamination of the site as well as leaseholders using portions of the property. The property is also home to the National Railway Historic site known now as the Beautiful Plains Museum.

Contamination of certain parts of the site has been an area of concern but under the sales agreement, CN will clean up an outstanding environmental issue so that development may take place on the land.

Also at the Feb. 5 Neepawa council meeting, councillor Robyn Copeland, who chairs the Infrastructure Committee, reported that the committee along with staff have reviewed the town garbage by-law. They are reviewing waste pick up options.

He said, “The fees for residential pickup cover the cost of collection and tipping for refuse and recycling. The fees collected for commercial refuse do not. There is an approximate shortfall of $167,000 for 2012.”

Copeland stated that public input will be sought out and a new by-law is being developed. The new bylaw is scheduled to come up at a special meeting of council on Feb. 12. A bylaw initially goes to first reading and then public consultation and an actual public hearing a few weeks later.  Following the hearing, the bylaw can receive a second and third reading.

The new bylaw has to be listed with Local Government Manitoba by April 5 if the adjusted fees are to be included in the 2103 budget and the 2013 tax statements.