Practice Areas

Municipal Reorganizations

Lawyers in this area of practice

An amalgamation between municipalities is the combining of two or more municipalities into one larger municipal entity. An annexation on the other hand is the process whereby a municipality expands its geographical boundaries to include lands held by another municipality.
 
Changes to municipal boundaries are required for many possible reasons:
  • to balance population densities and their needs
  • to protect the interests of inhabitants
  • to allow for future planning purposes
Amalgamations
Past experiences show best results are obtained for all parties if they agree to work together to obtain a common goal. By agreeing to amalgamate, parties can obtain increased economic development and viability, as well as benefitting from increased operating efficiencies including the lessening of the need for multiple municipal offices, public works buildings, and the associated administrative staff.
 
While there are many benefits to amalgamations, attention to the concerns of different rate-payers (urban vs rural) must be considered and balanced. Rural rate-payers may be opposed to having to pay for services more inclined for the benefit of urban rate-payers and vice versa.
 
Our team has collaborated and represented clients in amalgamation proceedings including assisting them with:
  • drafting and negotiating agreements
  • reviewing and advising on the possibility of different taxation rates for areas based on the services received to rate-payers in those areas
  • advising on the new council representation
  • negotiating the transfer/division of capital assets including municipal land
  • negotiating the transfer/division of reserves and accumulated surpluses
  • assisting with public consultation
Cooperation, mutual respect, communication, and understanding between the parties in the amalgamation process are vital. We can assist the parties to determine the role each will take in the new entity and can help to minimize conflict between the parties.
 
Annexations
We support and assist our clients in understanding the complex laws and procedures applicable to the annexation of land by one municipality from another. Annexations are often met with controversy. It is important for all parties involved to fully understand the benefits and risks involved with annexations.
 
We have experience in assisting clients to expand their own boundaries or resist another municipality from annexing common land. As some annexations can result in extensive litigation before a final decision is reached, it is important for municipalities to understand their rights and to have someone available to them to articulate their position before any board having the authority to determine the outcome of an annexation proposal.
 
At DD West LLP, our lawyers have experience with:
  • preparing proposals for annexation
  • assisting with the negotiation and consultation process with affected parties
  • preparing reports for the appropriate board to review
  • advising and consulting with clients and planners regarding geographic boundaries
  • assisting with public consultation.
Characteristic Work and Projects:
Amalgamation of Powerview-Pine Falls municipalities