EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally suggested the joint planning agreement between Edmonton, Beaumont and Leduc County would still see Edmonton take over nine quarter sections of land in the town of Beaumont, which was incorrect. It has since been corrected to say Edmonton has agreed to remove the nine quarter sections of land from its annexation application.
Suddenly the southern part of Metro Edmonton is one big happy family. For the longest time, the big city (Edmonton) and the neighbouring town (Beaumont) were at odds over a pair of annexation plans for nine quarter sections they both wanted to take from the county (Leduc County).
However, the three have formally committed to collaborating on joint planning, through the signing of the Intermunicipal Planning Framework Agreement.
That was done on Tuesday as the various councils ratified the agreement. The deal will see Edmonton remove the nine quarter sections of land in the Town of Beaumont from the city’s annexation application, while Beaumont will support the city’s amended annexation application at the Municipal Government Board.
“We can work together on land-use planning, we can work together on transportation planning, we can work together on figuring out the best way to cost-share important pieces of infrastructure like in this case, a strategy to cost-share the expansion of 50 Street,” said Edmonton city councillor Michael Walters, who’s been part of the previous negotiations dating back to the last Edmonton city council.
“The new framework agreement creates an opportunity to excel our region through collaborative planning that will ensure our communities are serving our current and future residents,” Beaumont Mayor John Stewart said in a news release. “This allows the Town of Beaumont to better plan for the future while continuing to build a sustainable community.
“We each have strengths as individual municipalities, but are stronger when we work together. This framework is a commitment to one another and our residents to jointly plan for the benefit of the region,” Leduc County Mayor Tanni Doblanko said in a news release.
The new deal will have significant benefits to agriculture, according to Walters, because less farmland will be used for new commercial and residential growth. He said that will mean overall lower costs to taxpayers, and eventually the agriculture industry in Metro Edmonton will be able to begin to expand “value-added” food operations to grow the economy.
“There’s a lot of good stuff happening now in the region that we’ve been talking about for a lot of years, and the rubber is starting to hit the road and the deal with Beaumont and Leduc County is another example of everybody’s commitment to doing the right thing for the future of this region.”
READ MORE: Edmonton blocks Beaumont’s expansion plan
Walters credits last year’s initial annexation deal between Edmonton and Leduc County as setting a template for this agreement.
As far as widening 50 Street, Walters said they’ll make sure all involved have their ducks in a row before approaching the province.
“I think from their side, they want us to be able to work together more collaboratively. Because if we come to them with a list of prioritized projects that we’ve all agreed on at a regional level, and we have our own skin in the game so to speak, it makes it easier for them to support us.”
Cost-sharing negotiations on 50 Street expansion will begin soon, he said.