Edmonton

Province's decision on Beaumont annexation takes Edmonton, Leduc county mayors by surprise

A decision by the provincial government to let the town of Beaumont annex land Edmonton has been negotiating for has taken Mayor Don Iveson by surprise.

'There's no way that's going to be cost-effective' Edmonton mayor says

The town of Beaumont got the OK from the province to annex land Edmonton wanted. (CBC)

A decision by the provincial government to let the town of Beaumont annex land Edmonton has been negotiating for took Mayor Don Iveson by surprise.

On Tuesday, Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee issued a ministerial order that allows Beaumont to annex land from Leduc County on January 1, 2017.

Edmonton has been trying since 2013  to annex two sections of land in that area for future growth.

Iveson said the annexation amounts to about 100 years worth of potential growth for Beaumont, which he called "unprecedented."

The decision will cost homeowners and taxpayers in the area much more money for infrastructure than if Edmonton had annexed the land.

"It's going to be fractured between two or three different jurisdictions, and there's no way that's going to be cost-effective compared with if we had done that jointly," he said.

"So that's my concern. That it's potentially going to cost a lot more money, and that's not a good thing."

Private decision

Iveson took a shot at the province for the behind-closed-doors nature of the decision.

"People criticize the city of Edmonton when we do things in private ... but the provincial government gets to do just about everything in private, including make these decisions at the cabinet table," he said.

Leduc County Mayor John Whaley wasn't impressed by the decision either.

"There are 15 principles of annexation that are guides to go through when you talk about annexation," he said. "We believe they were paid very little attention to when this order was written up."

Leduc County Mayor John Whalley is upset the decision to annex land wasn't made in consultation with the county and Edmonton. (CBC)

Whaley is concerned about the future of Highway 625, which he describes as "the major lifeline" that runs east out of Nisku, with trucks that carry heavy loads and oilfield equipment.

"It's a high-load corridor," he said. "We're very concerned it has to be kept that way. It cannot become a city street."

The Leduc County mayor said he's also worried about the environmental implications.

"There's well over 22 acres of wetlands in that area, which you can't develop," he said. "Unless somebody's going to fill them up, and I hope that doesn't happen."​

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nola Keeler is an award-winning journalist who has worked with CBC in Whitehorse, Yukon and Edmonton since 2000. She has worked as a host, reporter, news reader and producer for CBC. Send story ideas to nola.keeler@cbc.ca.

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