Forget annexation, let's adjust our boundaries
By: Ken Allred
| Posted: Saturday, Jan 18, 2014 06:00 am
With all of the talk about amalgamation and Edmonton’s proposed annexation of a huge hunk of Leduc County, now may be a good time for St. Albert to apply for a “boundary adjustment” to align St. Albert and Edmonton’s boundaries with Anthony Henday Drive.
There remain several gores of land south of Riel Business Park and east of Campbell Business Park that are isolated from the City of Edmonton by the Henday or the transportation and utility corridor (TUC) as it is more formally designated. All of these cut-off parcels of land would make more sense as an extension of St. Albert’s boundaries than as islands of Edmonton cut off by the utility corridor.
Included in the area south of Riel are several sections of road allowance that need to be cancelled and consolidated with adjacent parcels of land to make them more developable either as a shopping centre, park or some other practical use. It is noted that the larger part of this parcel is listed in Wednesday’s Gazette as the lands Hopewell had originally proposed for a shopping centre.
The lands in question south of Riel are bounded by the Henday on the south, Ray Gibbon Drive on the west and LeClair Way on the north, an area of maybe 60 hectares. The lands east of Campbell are bounded by the Henday on the south, 127 Street on the east and Sturgeon County on the north – a cut-off triangle of perhaps 100 hectares.
This is not a new issue – it has been discussed since the deliberations of the general municipal plan in the early 1990s when it was first realized that St. Albert would require more industrial land. It has been an item of discussion with the City of Edmonton with each successive Edmonton mayor since the days of Jan Reimer – with no forward movement. With a new and more progressive mayor in Edmonton, now may very well be the time to renew discussions, especially since Edmonton needs to appear to be more co-operative if it ever hopes to make any headway on its southerly expansion.
I am deliberately suggesting that the issue be approached as a boundary adjustment as opposed to an annexation because that is really what it is – an adjustment of boundaries as a practical exercise in making the most logical allocation of lands cut off by Anthony Henday Drive.
This issue has been toyed with, or perhaps skirted around, for years; now is the time to get serious discussions underway. An open and frank discussion is overdue!
Ken Allred is a former St. Albert alderman and MLA.