EDMONTON – Leduc-Beaumont MLA George Rogers is not holding back his feelings when it comes to Edmonton’s proposed annexation of a section of land in Leduc County, calling the bid “hostile.”
In order to keep up with the ever-growing population, the City of Edmonton is looking to acquire about 15,600 hectares of land south of its boundary, including the international airport land.
The proposal has been met with much resistance from residents and politicians in Leduc County. And during Question Period Thursday, the area’s MLA threw out some bold comments, asking the municipal affairs minister if the City of Edmonton can “just wave its fingers and make this happen?”
“What measures are you taking to bring some sanity to this process?” asked Rogers. “It would stifle future expansion of Nisku industrial park, and it’s all being done in the name of subsidizing Edmonton residential tax rates. My constituents are angry.”
Since Edmonton has nearly reached its southern limit, and considering the city hasn’t adjusted its boundaries since 1982, Mayor Don Iveson says annexation is a reality for the growing municipality.
“It’s important that this process be constructive and it would really be appreciated if the folks at the legislature could allow the process to play out,” Iveson said Friday.
“I’m a little disappointed with the tone of MLA Rogers’ questions.”
Iveson admits there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but adds the annexation is about the sustainability of all communities in the Capital Region.
“If anyone’s got a better idea, we’re open to hearing that. But all of the things being equal, the growth of the city has to be balanced with residential and non-residential. That’s good sustainable growth, which I think is what the province wants our municipalities in Alberta to experience.”
In response to Rogers’ questions Thursday, the acting municipal affairs minister said that as the province continues to grow, annexation is becoming more and more of a reality.
“But Mister Speaker, no one can wave their fingers and create an annexation. It is an incredibly complex process that requires the discussion of all the parties, including the municipalities, the land owners, to come to an agreement of how this can proceed,” said Greg Weadick.
The City expects the annexation process to take about two to five years.
This month, the City of Edmonton will be hosting a number of meetings for landowners in the proposed annexation area. For dates and times of these meetings, visit the City of Edmonton’s website.
Next week, the Leduc County Coalition will also be holding an open house. The group of business owners, land owners and residents is against the annexation.
With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News.