Leduc County “Blindsided” by Land Grab

 

 
In a release from Leduc County on December 3rd, County officials stated that they felt "blindsided" by the proposed annexation of 24 sections of Leduc County land by the Town of Beaumont. 
The issue was actually brought to the attention of the County by residents in the affected areas, who had received notification from the Town of Beaumont that their legal designation was going to shift and that they would be receiving new addresses and tax notifications from the Town of Beaumont. Concerned residents then began calling the County offices where staff was left unable to answer any questions due to the fact that no one knew anything about this proposed annexation except the Town of Beaumont.
Mayor Whaley commented that "This is not how to treat neighbours, especially when so much is at stake."
A map of the proposed annexation areas can be found on the Town of Beaumont website and it includes land to the south, west and north sides of the existing townsite, including land along both sides of 50th Street all the way up to the edge of Edmonton city limits at 41 Avenue.
In an entirely different vein, the County of Leduc has been working with the City of Leduc for the annexation of 8 sections of land, and this has been held up by the County as a model example of what it looks like when municipalities work together on a project. However, the Beaumont annexation plans have been labeled by the County as what amounts to a "hostile land grab".  
According to the Municipal Development Plan, every village, town and city in Alberta should have enough land reserves surrounding them to ensure 30 years of projected future growth. Due to the exponential growth of most towns in Alberta over the last 7-8 years very few places actually have that much land in active reserve. Beaumont's proposed annexation of 24 quarter sections would actually give them 50 years of projected growth space and more than double their current size.
In annexation guidelines set out by the Capital Region Board, of which both the County of Leduc and the Town of Beaumont belong to, as well as provincial legislation, residents and tax payers in the potentially affected areas must be heard before any transfers can take place. Leduc County had just received a request for meetings on Monday.
Mayor Whaley questioned, "It is puzzling to say the least, why proper protocol was not followed, or failing that, why simple courtesy didn't prevail?"
We attempted to contact administration at the Town of Beaumont to bring you their point of view on this issue but our calls had not been returned by press time.
Council will be discussing this matter further in their meeting on Tuesday December 4th, and the Pipestone Flyer will bring you continued coverage concerning this issue via both printed articles and quick updates on our Twitter account at www.pipestoneflyer.ca
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