There’s an annexation deal between the city of Edmonton and Leduc County. Edmonton has settled for less land than it first asked for, as the county was very convincing about it’s need to protect prime agricultural land.
What they vision over the coming decades is a corridor of high density housing, that would see Edmonton with its new land maintaining the goal of 45 housing units per developed hectare, a number much higher than you’d normally see in the county.
“The vision for development for these lands would include very high density development close to an LRT extension that would ultimately reach the airport,” Mayor Don Iveson told reporters.
The airport is also key to expanding economic growth for the whole metro region he said. “We have committed to about six months worth of work with the airport authority and with the County of Leduc to determine what makes the most sense for the airport over the long term,” he said. “We’re maintaining an open mind about whether we leave the airport in our application or take it out. Part of that involves some conceptual planning for what kind of growth might happen on the airport and around it.”
Also in on those talks is the City of Leduc and Mayor Greg Krischke. “We’re really looking forward to being a partner at the table as we move forward in the development around the airport. It’s crucial for the City of Leduc. A lot of our people are employed out at the airport, and if not at the airport then in Leduc and NIsku business parks. They’re healthier because they have an airport close by.”
He said the City of Leduc has had plenty of opportunity to develop land south of the airport but chose not to because it isn’t suitable for residential development. That land is being set aside, at the end of the run ways, for commercial and industrial use, in part because of the noise restrictions in place preventing housing from going there.
Of need is a new access point to the airport lands, at the south edge of the property. “With this outlet mall coming in, 530,000 sq ft, 100 pure outlet stores, it’s going to be a very busy highway,” Krischke said. “And there’s only going to be one way in and out. We need 65th avenue to make sure that there is adequate infrastructure in place for the movement of goods and people.”
Not only did Leduc County Mayor John Whaley get to keep the prime agricultural land, that he says if valuable because it at least is three feet deep in topsoil, the Nisku Business Park also remains in the county. “That is our life line. If you take that away from us, the county’s unsustainable.”
Next is another annexation move by Edmonton, as Mayor Iveson confirms the city will pursue the same nine quarter-sections awarded to Beaumont. “It is a bit awkward that they’ve just been awarded to Beaumont when there’s an active engagement continuing between the city and the county. I’ve spoken with the mayor of Beaumont and made him aware this was under consideration with our council. We’re expected to develop to a higher standard and we’re expected to collaborate with each other.”
Mayor Whaley still shakes his head over the Municipal Government Board’s decision, calling it “a travesty.”
“Our position was, that was too much land for the amount of growth they were looking for. Why they were given all that land, there was no rationale that I can see.”
Edmonton will try to work with Beaumont on a solution, but if that doesn’t work Mayor Iveson said they are willing to go straight to the MGB for a decision.