Monday, 3 June 2013

Why Don't I Accuse the RM of Sherwood of Conflict of Interest?

Good morning Regina!!

I've been asked this a few times already, by parties that have a genuine concern for why I am going after the City of Regina and related parties for Conflict of Interest, and not the RM of Sherwood, specifically the RM's Reeve, Kevin Eberle. Well, CJME printed an article this morning that pretty well sums up why I don't feel there has been any malintent by the RM or the Reeve. Yes, he has lands, it's pretty out in the open there. Yes, he stands to make some money from this development. But, as outlined in the article itself, he actually has a home on these lands, his family homestead, and they continue to farm it to this day. If that doesn't tell you that he didn't just buy this land to make money one day, I don't know what else will. This is in direct contrast to certain parties that stand to eventually profit (substantially) from the annexation of their lands from the RM to the City of Regina, who have never held the lands for any true personal reason, other than that of land speculation. There is nothing wrong with land speculation in a regular circumstance, but as will be outlined in the Court Documents, it's the intent that is key in the City of Regina and related parties' situation.

Quotes to note from the Article:
"I'm not interested in having a process that a lot of people have spent a lot of time trying to work forward to have this all derailed just because an unsolicited offer came to us," he stressed.

Eberle explains that 469 acres of the 736 acre space laid out to house the development currently belong to him and his wife. Initially they rejected the idea of selling their land, he claims, uncomfortable with the idea of selling off the only home his children have ever known.

"It's where I live. We're quite comfortable where we are," he said.

Since the original pitch was made, however, the company adjusted it's footprint to exclude the Eberle's home quarter. Since the family still has land to farm north of Regina they decided to agree to contract out the land. Eberle says the project is just too important to the area, partially because developer Great Prairie is including a fully self-sustaining sewage treatment plant and water system in the plans. He feels the ability it will give the RM to service other developments in the region will help advance the council's desires to open up to development.

"We've been struggling to try and bring land use change into the RM for a very long time. This dates back to 2000, 2001."

Eberle is referring to the history of discussions around putting an Official Community Plan in place and the years of disagreements the RM and the City of Regina have had over regional development planning. He says he takes the possible perceptions of impropriety so seriously he's actually recused himself from any discussions having to do with the OCP as well. The document, which lays out the council's vision of long-term future growth, has gotten a lot of attention the last two weeks because it conflicts with the recently-revealed plans of Regina's council to annex large tracts of lands the mayor insists will be needed to grow the city in the future.

"I don't want this to harm the reputation of the RM or the council in any way, shape, or form so I've completely recused myself."

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