Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Leduc County Mayor John Whaley have signed an annexation agreement between the city and county.
They were joined by City of Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke, and Edmonton International Airport (EIA) president and CEO Tom Ruth to announce the Inter-Jurisdiction Cooperation Accord — a joint planning partnership between all four jurisdictions.
In the deal, Edmonton gets more than 15,000 acres of land west of the QEII Highway and 6,485 acres of land east of the highway. That’s less land than was talked about when negotiations began three years ago.
“Since the initial application was put into effect, the Capital Regional Board has worked hard to come up with a new regional growth plan with much higher expectations for density in urban development,” Iveson said.
“The City of Edmonton is very happy to conform to that newer plan.”
The County of Leduc gets $8.5 million in compensation to cover off 50 years of tax protection for residents.
“That is huge for the residents, unless they decide to develop of course – then they’re in another ballgame,” Whaley said.
The deal must still go to the Municipal Government Board for the Government of Alberta to give final approval.
Despite being joined by the head of the EIA, the airport was not part of the deal, but the group did announce an economic development partnership to promote the airport and business opportunities to an international market.
“There is a strong case for us to work together to understand how, as a region, we can enable this airport to grow and be most effective as an economic driver,” Iveson said.
Part of the deal is land use around the airport will be set up so it can be a 24-hour-a-day facility. Industry will be below runway airspace instead of housing.
There are still nine quarter sections on the east side that currently belong to the Town of Beaumont. Those are still subject to negotiations between the town and Edmonton.
“We’ve done the work,” Beaumont mayor Camille Bérubé said of the nine quarter sections in question. “We know that we’re able to provide the services et cetera, so if you’re going to be talking jurisdiction, no, we’re not prepared to talk about the transferring of jurisdiction. We can certainly collaborate on services – how we would provide them if we need to enter into shared service agreements, that’s possible – but the jurisdictional part is not on the table at this point from Beaumont’s perspective.”
“In spite of good faith efforts to negotiate with Beaumont, we have not been able to achieve the same level of collaboration about long-term growth as we have with the county,” Iveson said.
“Beaumont’s tax base is primarily residential – strongly residential – and by incorporating what we’ve been given and including these nine quarter sections of land, we’re able to significantly diversify our tax base,” Bérubé said. “So that’s the significance of why it is that we feel that that land needs to be remain in our jurisdiction.”
Last fall, Edmonton reached a framework agreement with Leduc County to annex a nearly 9,500-hectare piece of land between 41 Avenue SW and the airport, west of the QEII, as well as a piece of land south of 41 Avenue SW near 50 Street.
The land Edmonton originally sought was about 2,584 hectares larger than what’s been agreed upon. The original ask included a piece of land west of the airport.
Edmonton had been trying to annex the land from Leduc County since 2013.
With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News and Scott Johnston, 630 CHED