City Hall scales back its bid for Beau­mont an­nex­a­tion

Edmonton Journal - - CITY + REGION - ELISE STOLTE es­tolte@post­ twit­­tolte

Ed­mon­ton has agreed to drop nine quar­ter-sec­tions of dis­puted Beau­mont lands from its an­nex­a­tion bid in ex­change for a joint plan­ning agree­ment.

City of­fi­cials an­nounced the new agree­ment Wed­nes­day after all three af­fected councils — Ed­mon­ton, Beau­mont and Le­duc County — en­dorsed it.

Ed­mon­ton voted on the plan and its de­ci­sion to back down in pri­vate Tues­day. It means Ed­mon­ton will get Beau­mont’s sup­port as its effort to an­nex Le­duc County land goes be­fore the prov­ince.

“It’s not about any­one win­ning or los­ing. … It’s easy to look at it that way, but what we did was come to an agree­ment,” said Ed­mon­ton Ward 10 Coun. Michael Wal­ters, a mem­ber of the ne­go­ti­at­ing com­mit­tee.

The agree­ment shows Ed­mon­ton’s com­mit­ment to col­lab­o­ra­tion, Wal­ters said, and a de­sire to take the re­gional growth plan se­ri­ously. That plan sets out spe­cific lo­ca­tions for higher den­sity devel­op­ment, sav­ing farm­land and mak­ing pub­lic tran­sit vi­able.

This deal has a com­plex his­tory. First, Ed­mon­ton de­clared its in­ten­tion to an­nex more than 15,000 hectares of Le­duc County land south of the city up to the Ed­mon­ton In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Then, while Ed­mon­ton was ne­go­ti­at­ing with Le­duc County, Beau­mont an­nounced its in­ten­tion to an­nex nine hectares of the same land and sub­mit­ted an ap­pli­ca­tion to the prov­ince. That an­nex­a­tion was ap­proved be­fore Ed­mon­ton fin­ished its ne­go­ti­a­tions and sub­mit­ted the pa­per­work.

Ticked off, Mayor Don Ive­son an­nounced Ed­mon­ton would try again to an­nex those same nine quar­ter-sec­tions. He ar­gued Beau­mont’s bid didn’t make sense be­cause sewage would need to be pumped up­hill for the land to be de­vel­oped.

Sep­a­rately, Ed­mon­ton reached a deal to scale back its re­quest of Le­duc County land, leaving out the air­port and other prop­erty and sub­mit­ted its pa­per­work last Septem­ber.

With Wed­nes­day’s an­nounce­ment, Ed­mon­ton will re­move the nine quar­ter-sec­tions near Beau­mont from its bid.

The city is still wait­ing for the prov­ince to sched­ule hear­ings for the af­fected landown­ers. It’s hop­ing the an­nex­a­tion takes ef­fect next Jan. 1.

The new agree­ment commits Ed­mon­ton, Le­duc County and Beau­mont to write joint land-use, trans­porta­tion and serv­ing plans for the area. The three have also com­mit­ted to find a way to share the cost of up­grad­ing and widen­ing 50th Street.

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