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Edmonton blocks Beaumont’s expansion plan

Cars go by in downtown Beaumont, Alta.
Cars go by in downtown Beaumont, Alta. Shallima Maharaj, Global News

Beaumont’s plans for more housing and some business parks immediately north of the town site were dashed at the Capital Regional Board (CRB) Thursday led by Edmonton’s objection.

The CRB has a double majority vote, meaning if two thirds of the represented population isn’t onside, that’s enough to defeat a motion. In essense it’s a veto power for Edmonton.

The gist of Edmonton’s argument against what Beaumont had in mind centres around a ridge in the area that makes providing sewers expensive if the town is in charge of providing the service from the east instead of the north.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said it would mean pumping sludge uphill, and not taking advantage of gravity to help with the flow. It’s, in Edmonton’s estimation, a $10 million difference.

“If we can avoid wasting money we should do that,” he said.

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READ MORE: Edmonton, Leduc County disappointed with Beaumont annexation decision

Most mayors sided with Beaumont’s mayor Camille Berube. The vote was 18-6, with Leduc County, the City of Leduc, Spruce Grove, Morinville and Sturgeon County supporting Edmonton.

Others saw Beaumont as legally and technically correct, but going against the spirit of cooperation to be as cost efficient as possible.

“If anything it sets us back,” Iveson said. “Some mayor said even if it’s more expensive that’s okay. I think that’s an unacceptable answer.

“To support the position that higher drainage rates and higher costs is acceptable, that inefficiency is acceptable that’s completely inconsistent with what this regional board has said and adopted in our regional growth plan.”

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Mayor Berube said this will be sorted out after he leaves office. He won’t be running in next month’s election.

“I’m also annoyed and disappointed,” he said. “I don’t think that it should have gotten there because all of our applications and our plan met all the technical requirements.”

READ MORE: Mayor Don Iveson reacts to province letting Beaumont annex land wanted by Edmonton: ‘I’m really puzzled’

Edmonton is proposing the nine quarter sections that were annexed from Leduc County by Beaumont last November become subject to a study, so the two municipalities can come to some sort of agreement.

“We’ve encouraged them to designate the area north of road 510 there as an opportunity for a special study area where we could actually sit down and work through the technical issues together,” Iveson said.

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the idea is, if they can hit common ground, then a new boundary could be drawn.