Boundary talks between Brantford and Brant inch closer
City and county politicians are anxious to begin hammering out a boundary adjustment deal during meetings set to begin early next month.
Although specific locations and times remain under discussion, representatives from Brantford and Brant are expected to officially begin negotiations on Aug. 7 in Brantford. Nine more meetings are scheduled through mid-September, according to information released by the County of Brant.
The City of Brantford presented its adjustment proposal to Brant politicians in November last year.
The city is seeking a transfer of more than 12,000 acres of county land located to the south, southwest and north of Brantford’s current borders.
County councillors have not yet formed a counter-proposal in relation to the city’s request, but have adopted a list of principles for upcoming negotiations.
County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy said provincial representative Paula Dill – who will facilitate the talks – plans to meet with Six Nations councillors to gather input before meetings between the city and county.
“I would like to see us get started,” Eddy said. “The city has presented their position. We have responded by developing principles for negotiation. We have lost a tremendous amount of time – there is no doubt about that.”
Principles for negotiations passed by county council include that any adjustment to boundaries will not adversely affect any party, that an adjustment will not be funded by County of Brant taxpayers and will minimize impacts on prime agricultural land, significant natural resources, environmental features and wellhead protection areas.
The county’s principles for negotiations also say that only areas of Brant that have nearby access to city infrastructure will be considered in negotiations.
Brantford Mayor Chris Friel recently said that he is satisfied with the parameters for negotiations set out by Dill, which specified that only members of city and county boundary adjustment task forces would be involved in discussions.
“It is exactly what we expected,” Friel said. “We don’t have any difficulty with this. We would have been doing this in January if we could have.”
Friel did say the city could use some more clarity on the county’s principles for negotiations in light of projected population growth. The provincial Places to Grow plan projects that Brantford will have a population of 163,000 by 2041.
“We don’t have a lot of disagreement with the (county’s) principles, but there are elements we want clarified,” Friel said. “We are talking about science, well-defined numbers and numerous reports that give us the basis for this. So as long as (the county) is not thinking the principles are going to trump science, we will be fine.”
– With files from J.P. Antonacci