The city of Edmonton has won a battle over a chunk of land south of the city, which the Town of Beaumont wants to redevelop into new neighbourhoods and businesses.
The town presented a redevelopment plan to the Capital Region Board on Thursday, but Edmonton appealed the plan and won.
Edmonton virtually has a veto vote because the board has a double majority requirement. That means a motion needs two thirds of the votes, and two thirds of the regional population to win. Edmonton alone has two thirds of the population.
Five other municipalities, Spruce Grove, Morinville, Leduc County, City of Leduc and Sturgeon County voted with Edmonton against supporting the plan, while the remaining 18 sided with Beaumont.
Mayor Don Iveson launched a technical argument against the redevelopment.
He noted a portion of the land in question has a ridge running diagonally across it that would make a better natural boundary between Edmonton and Beaumont. And it would be cheaper to service for water and sewage if Edmonton shared a chunk of the property that the capital had previously expressed interest in annexing, Iveson argued.
For Beaumont alone to provide underground services to the area would require an expensive pump system, said Iveson. A better solution would be for Edmonton's drainage system to meet the ridge from the north, and for Beaumont's system to come at it from their side, avoiding an additional cost of about $7 million, he said.
Edmonton had hoped to collaborate with Beaumont to work out the issues with the land but was "rebuffed," said Iveson. A "showdown" at the regional board meeting was unfortunate and avoidable, he suggested.
"We should work together to save money for taxpayers and ratepayers," said Iveson.
Annexed lands at centre of conflict
Last year, Beaumont annexed 1,536 hectares of land from Leduc County. Edmonton had hoped to obtain just over 500 hecatares of that property north of Township Road 510.
Leduc County Mayor John Whaley said he wasn't blaming anybody for the dispute but suggested it should have been resolved before Thursday's meeting.
"It should have been settled out of court, basically, before it even got here," said Whaley. "This is a stupid way of doing business. It pits neighbour against neighbour."
Beaumont Mayor Camille Berube described Edmonton's appeal as "inappropriate."
"Edmonton is holding up this application because it wants to annex Beaumont's northern lands," Berube told the board. "This is what the appeal is about."
After the vote, Berube, who is not seeking re-election in October, said he is "annoyed, disappointed. I don't think it should have gotten there."
But Iveson said it's now up to the Town of Beaumont to reach out to Edmonton.