Sturgeon County and St. Albert have come close to striking a deal that could pave the way for several major developments along their shared border.
A joint council committee has agreed to amend the intermunicipal development plan (IDP) that outlines future growth and annexations in a fringe area surrounding St. Albert. The changes must still be ratified by both councils before they’re official.
The deal would allow two controversial developments to go ahead unimpeded by objections from the other community.
The proposal, which is subject to a public hearing prior to council reviews, would exempt from the IDP all 1,337 hectares St. Albert annexed from Sturgeon County in 2007 and would also clear the way for the proposed Quail Ridge development in Sturgeon Valley.
The communities agreed to the types of land uses that would be developed in the IDP boundary when the agreement was signed in 2001. Both sides also agreed they would only change land uses with the support of the other community.
Sturgeon County has previously raised concerns about the city’s plan to designate industrial lands in the annexation area, land that is currently labelled ‘future study area.’ The city opposed the plan for Quail Ridge, a multi-lot acreage development, beside River Lot 56 along Sturgeon Road.
St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse said the compromise works for both communities.
“Both municipalities have needs and we have to find ways to compromise so both municipalities have their needs met.”
Sturgeon Mayor Don Rigney declined to comment on the proposed changes because they have not yet been reviewed by the full Sturgeon County council.
The deal also exempts from the IDP the Northern Lights development in Sturgeon County near the former St. Albert airport.
That development was subject to years of negotiations between St. Albert, Sturgeon County and Morinville over a host of intermunicipal issues, including access to water.
Crouse explained the changes limit the reach of the IDP so both communities can move forward, but there are no plans to scrap the nine-year-old bylaw.
“We have given no direction to anybody to deal with anything other than these issues.”
If both councils accept the proposed changes they will go to public hearing later this year.