Land annexation talks between the new St. Albert and Sturgeon County councils have begun, with councillors from both municipalities meeting Dec. 6.
St. Albert issued a notice of intent on June 15 to annex a maximum of 21.8 square kilometres of land from Sturgeon County. Dec. 6 represented the first meeting of the joint annexation negotiating committee.
Sturgeon County Coun. Susan Evans is chair of the committee, while St. Albert Coun. Ray Watkins is vice-chair.
Watkins said the committee is confidential for planning purposes but described the first meeting as “very congenial.”
“I got a really positive feel out of the first meeting about the annexation and I think we can work together with Sturgeon so it’s a situation where everybody’s happy,” he said.
Some of the issues the committee will deal with are compensation, tax protection, bylaw enforcement, municipal service levels and the final boundary change which will be proposed to the municipal government board. Both councils will need to approve the final annexation area before the board considers it.
A news release from St. Albert issued Dec. 8 states the city is taking the lead on public consultation and is in the process of commissioning planning and growth studies as part of the annexation application.
Negotiations will remain confidential but the city will be gathering input from residents in the coming months.
Grant funding approved
Funding for the St. Albert Pride Festival, community events grant and games legacy grant all passed through council unanimously on Monday.
Councillors agreed to grant $2,500 to the Outloud Foundation to help fund the 2018 Pride Festival.
Additionally, council provided $4,900 to the St. Albert Singers Guild for the Singers Christmas Market. The guild will perform three times at the Christmas market.
Seven individuals and three organizations will also receive a combined $10,361 from the city’s games legacy award program. That includes $2,500 toward sensory room supports and equipment for the Friends of the Northern International Children’s Festival Society and $2,500 to the St. Albert Minor Hockey Association to host an Intro to Hockey program.
The seven individual grants are for athletes competing at national or international events.