Homeowners in the rural area of La Broquerie shared their concerns regarding property taxes and road conditions with council on Wednesday morning. 

Another delegation had previously appeared before council on April 24 with similar concerns.

One of the main issues being brought up is poor road conditions. 

Reeve Ivan Normandeau comments that bad roads are not an issue that only La Broquerie faces.  

“There's not just bad roads in La Broquerie, there's bad roads all over Manitoba. It is a challenge for sure, but people make it look like it's unique to La Broquerie, but unfortunately it's like that all over Manitoba,” he says. “If you talk to our neighbors in Hanover or in Ste. Anne, everybody's dealing with rough roads this year.”  

He notes that a majority of the roads in the rural part of La Broquerie were built 50-60 years ago.  

“We're dealing with roads that were built a long time ago, that we're probably not built up to spec at that time. Right now, we just have to deal with those and try to fix those as best we can.” 

Resident Keith Puzianowski says both residents and council have the same goal, to fix the roads.  

“I don't think there's a divide here of what we all want, I think we all agree. Our objectives here between council and ratepayers are congruent. Everybody wants to see better roads, better infrastructure.”  

He says they just need to figure out how they can achieve that goal.  

“And the only way we're going to do it isn't by shouting across the room from each other, that's not going to help anyone.”  

Puzianowski says he has taken road samples before and has gotten them evaluated.  

“They're within spec for what you're ordering from your contractors, it’s not a contractor issue. The stuff that they're putting down on the road is called traffic gravel,” he says. “Traffic gravel isn't particularly suitable for our road environment. It doesn't compact properly, it turns into a slurry when it rains, it blows off from the wind, and our investment ends up in the ditches and in the field.”  

His suggestion to council is to create a ratepayers group, or a small advisory board, where three rural residents knowledgeable in building roads could work with one rural councillor to come up with solutions.  

He says it would be great to work collaboratively to achieve their common goal.  

Since the council meeting on Wednesday morning, Reeve Ivan Normandeau says council plans to discuss the possibility of a ratepayers group. 

"It's a good idea, and maybe we could have something so that we can ask them to find out some information. Right now we don't have any plans per say to go forward, but it's something that we for sure will bring up as council." 

Another ratepayer presented council with a jar he says is filled with a sample of his road.

“The stuff that they put on the street, we collected a sample. This is what they put on the streets, why are we putting sand on the roads?” 

Another ratepayer presented council with a jarThe jar that was presented to council. Photo provided.

The resident reiterates that everyone wants better maintenance on rural roads. 

“I think it’s fair that if we increase taxes in the rural area by almost 10 percent, that we have the right to expect proper maintenance on the road, that we have the right to expect proper material brought in, and not sand on the road." 

A few residents at the council meeting threatened council with annexation. However, the residents were unsure of the process and who they would like to be annexed by. 

Another main issue that was brought up is that those living in the rural area will see an increase of 9.4 per cent, while homeowners within the LUD will only see a property tax increase of 5.5 per cent. 

One ratepayer told council that this is causing division in the community. 

“You can't tell me you in La Broquerie are not using the country roads, so why are we paying for their benefits also? Why can't you just, if nothing else, take the five per cent and 10 per cent, split it in half and everybody pay the same thing? You're giving the rural people a bad taste in their mouth about the people in town.” 

The RM of La Broquerie is not the only municipality to have different property taxes for different areas. For example, the RM of Hanover is made up of five communities plus the rural area, and in 2024, some communities will see their taxes go up, while others will see a decrease from last year.