Stop the land grab!

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Annexation Map

Stop the land grab.  The city of Edmonton has filed an intent to annex 38,000 acres of prime Leduc County land under the guise of future growth needs – this land grab equates to an area 1 1/2 times the size of the City of Red Deer.

OPEN HOUSE April 15,2014

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Leduc County Coalition is having an OPEN HOUSE on April 15, 2014.  The open house will be at Ritchies Bros Auction Center in the Auditorium.  Starts at 5:30pm with a Reception and Meet and Greet.

Come on out and meet the folks behind the Coalition and voice your concerns about the City of Edmonton annexation plans.

Fate of farmland, international airport raised during Edmonton annexation meetings

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November 27, 2013

Photo by: Ed Kaiser

Article by: Gordon Kent

EDMONTON – The city’s proposal to annex part of Leduc County has some people concerned about the future of agriculture in the area, Edmonton urban planning manager Peter Ohm says.

About 300 people attended three recent open houses to discuss city plans to take over 156 square kilometres of its southern neighbours, including the Edmonton International Airport and a slice of Beaumont, Ohm said Wednesday.

Numerous speakers indicated they enjoy their rural lifestyle and asked what would happen to the district’s high-quality farmland, Ohm said. However, most of the property involved is already designated as a priority growth area that’s slated for urban development.

“It’s certainly not a continuance of what’s there … In some cases, there’s an element of displacement here.”

Participants also wanted to know how much property taxes would go up if they became part of Edmonton and what services would be offered, Ohm said.

Leduc County has the lowest residential tax rate in the capital region.

While Ohm said higher taxes could be phased in, this will have to be worked out with county officials as part of annexation negotiations expected to start next year.

Another issue that arose was the operation of the international airport.

Some speakers wanted to know the city’s position on a proposed third runway, which would create noise that could limit housing projects nearby, and if the city intends to stop the facility operating 24 hours a day, Ohm said.

But he wants to study the issues involved before making any commitments.

“It’s a very important element to the future economic vibrancy of the region … We haven’t thought about what we would do with it other than we appreciate the value it represents.”

More to come …

Redford tells convention delegate Edmonton’s annexation plans must be in everyone’s best interest

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November 24, 2013

RED DEER — Premier Alison Redford was non-committal Saturday on Edmonton’s bid to annex chunks of Leduc County, saying that regional decisions should be made in the interest of everyone affected.

Redford was asked about the proposal by a Leduc resident and businessman during a question-and-answer session held Saturday morning at the Progressive Conservative party convention in Red Deer.

“Just to put you on notice premier, there is a concerned group of citizens in this area that are going to stand by and hope that the constituency and the board recognizes that the Nisku Industrial Park and its growth is critical to the economic engine of this province,” delegate Clarence Shields told Redford.

Shields said he was concerned that if successful, Edmonton’s annexation hopes in Leduc County would “totally enclose the Nisku Industrial Park, leaving it with absolutely no place to grow.”

Edmonton announced last March it wants to take over 156 square kilometres to the south, including the Edmonton International Airport and a portion of Beaumont.

In her response, Redford said she is concerned about the issue.

“We do think that whenever you’re looking at any kind of regional decision making … that the principle has to be that when people come together to make decisions together, they’re making them in the best interests of everyone,” she told the gathered delegates.

That’s the spirit behind Bill 28, the Modernizing Regional Governance Act, recently introduced in the legislature by Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths, she said. The legislation was met with backlash from some smaller communities, as well as organizations representing municipalities, forcing the government to announce it would begin a consultative process before the legislation becomes law.

“That’s a piece of legislation that requires more work. It requires a lot more consultation with our municipal leaders, county councillors, to make sure that we get this right,” Redford said.

Shields said he was encouraged by Redford’s response.

“It’s important for all of us to grow and I think she recognizes that,” he said. “Hopefully she’ll stand beside us and at least the question is on the table now.”

Former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, who is attending the Tory convention as a delegate, was hesitant to comment on Edmonton’s annexation bid and Redford’s response, but said he has faith in the city’s current administration.

“As a citizen of Edmonton, we need to be able to grow and find ways to work with our neighbours and my belief is that Mayor (Don) Iveson and council will do that,” Mandel said.

Edmonton’s annexation attitude irks area residents, officials

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Omar Mosleh
QMI Agency
Leduc County residents were united in their opposition to Edmonton’s proposed annexation plans at a recent open house meeting held by the city.
Edmonton held two open house consultation meetings with question and answer sessions on Nov. 18 and 19. A third will take place on Nov. 26 at 5 p.m. at the Four Points Sheraton in south Edmonton.
Edmonton is looking to annex two quadrants of land that lie within Leduc County to accomodate its growth: one to the west of the QE II highway, and one on the east side, which would include a three kilometre long strip of land along 50th Street and Highway 814.
The total size of the proposed annexation area is 15,600 hectares and includes about 900 people. The meeting was held to solicit public feedback before the city holds more consultation meetings in the spring.
Top of mind concerns were the loss of prime agricultural land, diminished opportunities for the county to grow and a potential tax hike when the annexation becomes official.
“The biggest concern (for me) is the loss of great agricultural land,” said Leduc County resident Iris Zelter, whose family has been farming and ranching in the area for more than 20 years.
“Black chernozemic soil is the most productive soil in North America and it’s all over this area,” she said. “That’s why people originally settled here, because it can produce crops really well.”
She argued that areas to the west and north of Edmonton are more abundant in sandy and saline soil, which are not are as well suited for agriculture.
“I think they need to consider the long term,” she said. “Not just where people will live, but how are you going to feed those people?”
Edmonton’s annexation proposals conflict with Beaumont’s proposal’s to annex 24 quadrants of land to its north, west and south, all within Leduc County and some falling within the same area that Edmonton is seeking.
“We understand that everybody is looking for an opportuntity to grow and maintain their sustainability,” said Edmonton’s Urban Planning and Environment Manager, Peter Ohm. “So we’re looking forward to those discussions in negotations.”
Ohm stressed that during the annexation process, residents would be largely unaffected; there would be no changes to land use, the county would still have jurusdiction over zoning and development, and there would be no changes in service levels.
The annexation process could take roughly two to five years before boundaries are adjusted.
The land development process takes approximately 10 years, from the time of assembling the land to the time people move into the newly built subdivisions and work areas.
Leduc County resident Ed Wedman, who lives just south of Edmonton in the proposed area near Devon, said the open house presentation did little to ease his opposition to the annexation.
“There’s lots of questions, and lots of roundabout, but no answers,” he said. “There just trying to soften the blow.”
Wedman, who first had his family farm homesteaded in 1892, said the annexation could force him to move out of the capital region.
“With this whole proposal, buying land for farming is out of the question,” he said. “So regardless, we’re going to have to move if we want to expand.”
During a question and answer session, several residents expressed significant concerns of a future tax hike, as well as having additional taxes for their farm houses, which are currently exempted in Leduc County.
“You put a new roof on an outhouse, you’ll get taxed for it,” Wedman said sarcastically.
Ohm said any tax increases would be phased in over a number of years.
Edmonton Assessment and Taxation official Rod Risling said farm buildings could be exempted from additional taxes for an extended period as part of the transitional process.
Reduced service levels was also a concern, as expressed by Zelter during the question and answer peiod.
“The City of Edmonton is already strapped by your own admission in providing policing, infrastructure and transportation,” she said. “How are we going to be serviced, if you can’t even take care of your own city?”
Beaumont resident Carole Hudson said the open house did have some positive points.
“It was fairly well organized,” she said. “There were a lot of display boards, and people could post little suggestions on them.”
She was also encouraged by the feedback forms and the fact that City of Edmonton officials were taking note of people’s comments.
Hudson is opposed to Edmonton taking a portion of 50 Street, which turns into Highway 814, from Beaumont because she sees it infringing on the town’s growth opportunities. “If we’re not allowed to grow, how are we going to make (Beaumont) better? Because all they’re going to do is grab up the land and put a bunch of houses in it,” she said. “When you have communities like Devon, Beaumont and Leduc, and we’ve established our particular identities, I don’t see why anyone has to come over and manage us,” she said.
Leduc County Mayor John Whaley bluntly stated that he didn’t see any positives in the proposal, and said the annexation could harm the county’s future sustainability.
“It’s a high priority growth area. If they take all this land, that’s all the area that can be easily serviced with sewer and water,” he said. “Anything else cannot, so that limits our development anywhere else in the county.”
Whaley has hopes the city will pace itself strategically and come to an amicable compromise with its partners in the capital region.
“The city should be looking at doing what’s reasonable and use some common sense going forward here,” he said. “And understand that there’s more than just a city in this region. We all have to live here.”

Leduc County mayor feels snubbed by Edmonton in looming land takeover

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November 8, 2013

By Stephanie Dubois, Metro News

Leduc County’s mayor says he feels ignored by Edmonton’s new mayor as the city moves closer to gobbling up a sizable swath of the southern area.

Mayor John Whaley said communication has been non-existent with Edmonton officials since their last annexation meeting with previous Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel in the summer.

Whaley told Metro that as of Thursday afternoon, he had not had his call to Mayor Don Iveson returned after two days.

“We’ve had no discussion with the new mayor or with anybody else…and we don’t know the plans at this time. They’re just doing their own thing as if we’re not here.”

It was back in March that the City of Edmonton announced their plans to annex Leduc County lands, which would include lands south of Edmonton, bordered by Highway 2.  The International Airport, as well land north of Beaumont, are also part of the proposed takeover.

Since then, talks of the annexation have mostly played out in the media, said Whaley.

“I was hoping for a fresh start with the new mayor, I’m still hopeful we can still have that. What is going to sour the relationships is this is all been played out in the press before we even had discussions. That’s what is wrong with this process.”

On Friday, the City of Edmonton announced their next steps in the plans is to host three open houses so they can hear from affected landowners from Edmonton, Leduc County and Town of Beaumont on the proposed annexation of roughly 38,000 acres of county land.

“This will be our first opportunity to meet with [landowners] face-to-face, hear their questions, their perspectives and respond to that,” said Peter Ohm, manager of Urban Planning and Environment with the city.

Annexation discussions between the City of Edmonton and Leduc County were put on hold prior to the election, explained Edmonton officials, with no specific date of when they will re-commence.

The three City of Edmonton open houses will be held as follows:

  • Nov. 18 from 5-8 p.m. at the RedTail Landing Golf Club at the Edmonton International Airport
  • Nov.19 from 5-8 p.m. at the Nisku Inn in Nisku
  • Nov. 26 5-8 p.m. at the Four Points Sheraton in Edmonton

Show your Support! Sign the Petition against the Annexation!

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Sign the petition to the Alberta Municipal Government Board in support of not approving the City of Edmonton’s proposed annexation of 38,000 acres of prime Leduc County land.  Let’s stop the land grab!!

Click here to sign the petition and show your support

Edmonton claims it needs more land for the next 50 years!

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The City of Edmonton claims that the proposed annexation will allow it to secure enough land to meet its needs for residential and business employment development for the next 50 years because of their prediction that the population is expected to grow over 1.4 million.

We are not against the sustained growth of the Capital Region; however why does Edmonton need to secure so much land for the next 50 years?  Why aren’t other undeveloped areas of Edmonton being looked at and utilized instead of seeking more county lands?

Don’t be fooled…Edmonton hosting open houses

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The City of Edmonton will be hosting open house events regarding the proposed annexation.  Please attend and show your support for Leduc County and let Edmonton know that we don’t want them to take our land and destroy our county.  Leduc County and the Leduc County Coalition will be holding information sessions in the near future for you to have a chance to get the full picture of the annexation.

Mon, November 18, 5-8pm
Red Tail Landing Golf Club
7, 435 Airport Perimeter Rd
Edmonton Intl Airport

Tue, November 19, 5-8pm
Nisku Inn, 1101 4 St
Nisku, AB

Tue, November 26, 5-8pm
Four Points Sheraton
10010 12 Ave SW
Edmonton, AB