The City of St. Albert is submitting a proposal to annex approximately 46 hectares of land currently within Edmonton's jurisdiction by Anthony Henday Drive.
The parcels, left over from the construction of the Henday, are landlocked by the transportation utility corridor (TUC) that follows the Henday, making it too expensive for the City of Edmonton to service by bringing utilities underneath the freeway.
But for St. Albert, those lands could be incorporated within the city's boundary, aligning it right up against the northern edge of the Henday.
"Administration from St. Albert and Edmonton are in agreement that these lands would fit better in the City of St. Albert boundary for the purposes of access and servicing," said Lyndsay Francis, city planner.
"The purpose of this annexation isn't about growth. This one is about tidying up the parcels that were left behind."
To incorporate these parcels and revise the city's boundary, city administration will have to submit a revised intent to annex. The city first submitted a notice back in 2016, but since then more land has been removed from the Henday TUC right-of-way, resulting in additional parcels being fragmented and landlocked.
The lands are currently zoned as agricultural with Edmonton, with an RV permit existing on the third parcel, Francis said. The tenth parcel is currently up for sale. Once brought within St. Albert's boundaries, the lands would be included in the South Riel Area Structure Plan.
"We would service (the lands) once it became part of St. Albert."
Francis said the plan is for the city to submit the application to the Municipal Government Board this August for it to come into effect in January 2022.
Mayor Cathy Heron called the move a "win" for the city. The land has a lot of potential for industrial or commercial space with access to transportation corridors and visibility from the Henday, she said. Council passed the motion unanimously.
"With the rapidly reducing number of hectares in St. Albert for industrial land, we need to add this kind of stuff to our base. This is a simple way to do it," Heron said. "This is a win for us, this is huge."
Once the notice is submitted, the formal annexation process can continue, which includes some technical studies, public engagement and negotiations with the City of Edmonton. Part of the public consultation process will include letters to affected landowners and a web page on the city's Cultivate the Conversation platform.