Leduc County says no to annexation, asks City of Edmonton to return to discussion table

March 28, 2013 — Leduc County is calling on the City of Edmonton to set aside its recent proposal to annex 38,000 acres of county land and return to the collaborative process.

If the City of Edmonton has issues to resolve with its partners in Leduc County, it should work to address them under the process created less than a year ago, says Leduc County Mayor John Whaley.

“On April 11, 2012, Leduc County and the City of Edmonton signed a letter of intent to work together to coordinate our growth. The county entered this agreement in good faith, because we support strong municipalities in a strong capital region,” says Whaley. “We’ve spent the past 11 months working towards fair solutions. There’s just no good reason to walk away and there’s no rationale to propose annexation at this time.”

Annexation should be a last resort and there’s simply no reason to give up on the existing process and other forums for regional collaboration, says Whaley.

Leduc County has a proud history of working with its regional partners, including the cities of Edmonton and Leduc, the towns of Devon, Beaumont and Calmar and the Village of Thorsby. Examples include the building of the Anthony Henday ring road, participation in the new C-Line transit service to the Edmonton International Airport and involvement in the River Valley Alliance and Regional Water and Sewer Commissions. The county has already identified lands for a future airport transit corridor and is working on regional transit through the Capital Region Board.

“If there are issues, let’s get them on the table and fix them. Let’s not throw down a heavy-handed and arbitrary proposal like this because it isn’t the way to get things done in the capital region,” says Whaley.

Leduc County shares the vision of the provincial government that collaborative solutions are key to the success of municipalities. The province demonstrated its support for this vision by recently increasing grant funding for regional collaboration.

Whaley says the annexation proposal doesn’t make sense for Edmonton or for the county — for a city already struggling with low density and the resulting high cost of services, the proposal represents a gigantic new sprawl.

Leduc County has well-developed plans for the areas in question and the annexation bid creates a cloud of uncertainty that will damage ongoing efforts to attract new investment. Moreover, annexation would seriously impede the physical connectivity of the county and its ability to provide services effectively. Loss of this land would deprive the county of millions of dollars of revenue that is currently used to enhance services in communities across the county and service regional assets such as the Edmonton International Airport.

Leduc County asks the City of Edmonton to return to the discussion table and work together to find collaborative solutions for the mutual benefit of all regional partners and citizens.

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