Sealed with a kiss: Annexation deal signed by mayors of Edmonton, Leduc County

The mayors of Edmonton and Leduc County signed an annexation deal Friday that will add nearly 9,000 hectares of land to the city`s southern limits.

Negotiations to add 9,000 hectares to Alberta capital's southern limits took three years

Leduc County Mayor John Whaley laughs as Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson gives him a kiss during a news conference announcing an annexation deal had been reached between their two municipalities. (CBC)

The mayors of Edmonton and Leduc County signed an annexation deal Friday that was literally sealed with a kiss.

In a moment of levity during the signing ceremony at Edmonton International Airport, Mayor Don Iveson grabbed Leduc County Mayor John Whaley and planted a smacker right on his cheek.

The moment capped an agreement that took the two municipalities three years to reach.

Edmonton will annex two parcels of land: one is an uncontested section made up of 6,235 hectares west of the QE2 Highway and north of the airport.

But the annexation plan includes another 2,625 hectares on the east side of the highway which takes in part of the town of Beaumont. The city still needs to negotiate with Beaumont on those nine quarter sections of land.

Edmonton International Airport was not included in the annexation agreement. 

The deal between Edmonton and Leduc County also requires approval by the province's Municipal Government Board.

The City of Edmonton is paying the county $8.5 million to make up for lost tax revenue. The money is broken into a single payment of $3.2 million and then 10 annual payments of $530,000.

Residents of the affected areas will be covered by a 50-year tax adjustment period. 

Whaley said the city cut its original land request roughly in half. 

"We weren't sure we would be able to reach an agreement. We were miles apart when we first started, there's no two ways about that," Whaley said. "But we managed to get over that hurdle."

Iveson said the city didn't ask for as much land because it plans to create more dense neighbourhoods in the future. 

If approved, the agreement would take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. 

This map shows the areas covered by the annexation agreement between Edmonton and Leduc County. (City of Edmonton/Leduc County)