Blackfalds may get a little bigger as the Town looks to annex land from Lacombe County.
In January 2009, 853 hectares (2,100 acres) of land was annexed from Lacombe County.
The population of Blackfalds at that time was approximately 4,700 people.
With the relatively high growth rate at the time, it was determined that with the additional annexed land, residential and non-residential land needs would be met for a period of approximately 30 years.
Now, Blackfalds is proposing to annex another approximately 155.57 acres.
Annexation is a process where properties within a certain area, change jurisdiction from one municipality to another. The annexation won’t change the ownership rights and landowners are not required to sell or develop their property. It allows a municipality to expand its boundaries to accommodate for future growth.
The land is the remaining, northeast quarter section of a parcel of land squaring off the municipal boundaries, in the southeast corner of the municipality. In 2009 it was not included in the previous annexation process.
Jolene Tejkl, Blackfalds’ planning and development manager said that at the time of the 2009 annexation, the landowner, Cliff Soper was serving on Lacombe County Council and the inclusion of this parcel of land in the annexation process would have required the councillor to resign his seat on council.
Soper is no longer a councillor with Lacombe County and he contacted the Town of Blackfalds to request his quarter section, excluding a small portion, be annexed to the town.
“At the time, Blackfalds had not developed east of Highway 2A. About 10 years ago our quarter section was considered for annexation in a joint meeting of the Councils of the Town of Blackfalds and Lacombe County, a meeting from which I was excluded. I was then informed that the quarter in question would not appear in the annexation application as I would have to resign my seat on Council. Annexation proceeded and we remained within the jurisdiction of Lacombe County,” Soper said in his request to the two municipalities.
As Blackfalds developed to the east the landowners were sure that the land would change hands, would be annexed, and be intensively developed including the large forest and the natural areas.
“Consequently, we agreed to the donation of a large part of the forested area to Lacombe County as a natural area not to be developed. Presently, the natural area consisted of about 26 acres,” said Soper.
The land includes the Mary and Cliff Soper Natural Area owned by Lacombe County and the house, presently owned by Cliff Soper.
Soper said he would like to be involved in any development including enlarging and protecting the natural area, providing space for the development of a recreational area focusing on our native heritage and youth activity. He wants to minimize the size of any development and preferably keep a small community cluster close to the natural area.
“I believe that with the support of Blackfalds our vision will be achieved,” said Soper.
On Dec. 14, 2021, council, through a resolution at their regular meeting, authorized administration to initiate the annexation process. A written Notice of Intent to Lacombe County was provided to all other agencies as per the Municipal Government Act and the Land and Property Rights Tribunal Annexation Procedure Rules.
Public consultation is now underway with a public open house scheduled for March 31, at 6 p.m.
The Town of Blackfalds will hold a Public Hearing prior to endorsing the negotiation report. The report will be assessed by the LPRT. They will hold a Public Hearing if there is disagreement or an objection is raised the LPRT will make a recommendation on the application to the Provincial government, who is responsible for making the final decision.