Skip to content

City of Red Deer awaits decision on Red Deer County land annexation

If annexation is approved in 2023, it could be 2025-2026 before developments can happen
The City of Red Deer should know in two to three months whether it can annex county land west of Hwy 2 for a commercial development. (The area bordered in blue, east of the county’s Linn Valley subdivision and west of Hazlett Lake, and Hwy 2). (Contributed map).

City of Red Deer officials expect to learn in two to three months if a land annexation for west of Hwy 2 is approved by the province.

In April, Red Deer city council approved going ahead with an application to annex 533 acres from Red Deer County on the west side of Highway 2. The highway-fronted land, located just across from the city’s Queen’s Industrial Business Park, north of Highway 11A, and east of the Linn Valley subdivision, would be used for a regional commercial development, taking advantage of the high-visibility location.

If the province allows the city to absorb this land, the next step will be creating an area structure plan to outline how it could be developed.

David Girardin, major projects planner for the City of Red Deer, said a complex of big box stores, like a large outdoor shopping mall, and restaurants is being envisioned. He likened it to the commercial centre that’s sprung up in south Edmonton around the Ikea store.

If this annexation is approved in 2023, Girardin added it could still be two-to-three years at the earliest before some developments could happen.

While there’s a possibility of existing businesses relocating to this site from the heart of Red Deer, Girardin believes larger scale commercial developments would more likely crop up there, minimizing the chance of businesses leaving the downtown or other commercial centres.

Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston previously stated having a Hwy 2 commercial strip would leverage Red Deer’s central location and contribute to expanding and diversifying Red Deer as a long-term economic hub.

The City of Red Deer wants to have additional develop-able land to ensure its future economic health. An Intermunicipal Development Plan between the city and county recommends Red Deer has a 30- to 50-year supply of land, while the city now has about a 20-year supply.

Last week, a public annexation hearing was held before a provincial tribunal. Girardin said the landowners — CN Rail and the Hazlett family — spoke in favour of the annexation, while a Linn Valley family spoke against it. About five letters of opposition were also sent in.

Some of the opponents’ concerns include the reduction of available farmland, the need for wetland preservation, more noise and declining property values.

Girardin believes some of the traffic concerns would be alleviated with a recent amendment to a Highway 2 plan. The province will now allow a turn-off lane to be built from Hwy 2, enabling southbound motorists to directly access to the potential development. Northbound motorists would have to use the Hwy 11A overpass to get to a commercial development on the west side of the highway.

Girardin noted further solutions would still be needed to reduce traffic pressures on the access intersection to Linn Valley.

The three tribunal members will prepare a written report for the municipal affairs minister, either recommending in favour of the annexation or not. The minister’s decision is expected within a few months.

More information is available at

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
Read more