In an open letter to their ratepayers, Leduc County has sent out a response to the annexation of Leduc County land set forth by the City of Edmonton. Citing a "level of misinformation" that has been circulating, Council stated that they felt "compelled to clarify the County's position" on several points.
The first point that the County wanted to make clear was that there had been no "deal" made with Edmonton regarding the annexation. The County states that according to existing public documents the City of Edmonton has sufficient land available within it's boundaries to meet it's current growth needs, and all municipalities within the Capital Region have a responsibility to reduce their urban sprawl. The County also claims that their requests for an inventory of the City of Edmonton's existing land supply has been repeatedly denied.
The County states that the annexation proposal "boxes in" Leduc County and prevents the future development of it's growth options. Millions of dollars have already been spent in planning, engineering, and infrastructure in the areas between TWP 510 and 41 Avenue SW, as well as an area north of HWY 19 that is being developed as a business and logistics park. It was also noted that the County's largest water reservoir and portions of their utility systems are included in the annexation lands. The letter states that "These critical investments cannot be handed over without causing significant harm to Leduc County's long term sustainability", and that the County would work to ensure these areas would be protected in the long term.
The County calls the International Airport a "key regional asset crucial to the entire region". They continue on to say that control of the airport by the City of Edmonton threatens it's regional nature, and that even though Leduc County shares in the tax revenue from the airport, along with the City of Leduc and the Provincial Government, the County's interest in the airport is not solely revenue driven.
Leduc County states their intention, and even obligation, to county residents to negotiate this annexation proposal. The letter states that Council "strongly" believes that there are other options available to the City of Edmonton, and that they will be seeking the participation of residents and businesses while keeping information flowing throughout this process. The County concludes by saying they are "striving to ensure" that ratepayers within Leduc County end up with a better outcome than what is currently being proposed by the City of Edmonton.