(Advocate file photo). (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer extends time frame for next annexation

In eight months, more will be known about the economy and city’s growth prospects

Questions about how fast Red Deer will grow is causing the city to extend its exploration phase for annexation.

City council passed a motion this week that gives administrators eight more months to study the city’s boundaries with Red Deer County.

“Annexation is a complex process that will only benefit from further exploration and refinement of data and collaboration,” said city manager Allan Seabrooke.

He feels the eight-month extension will also defer the financial costs of an annexation to a time when the local economy and city growth are, hopefully, stronger.

Council wants to ensure there’s enough land available within city limits for long-term development.

Based on the city’s incremental growth rate in recent years, and an unknown recovery time for Alberta’s economy, administration believes it needs more time to improve the data collection necessary for decision-making, as well as to collaboratively work with the county.

The intermunicipal development plan recommends the city have within its boundary a 30 to 50 year supply of developable land for growth.

Updated data indicates the city only has 22 years of available land for development.

“Our population has stabilized over the last several years,” said Mayor Tara Veer, who feels the timing could be right “to plan for our future return to a growth economy… It’s important that we look ahead and ensure we have appropriate and sufficient land supply.”

Administrators will report back to city council in eight months with annexation recommendations that will be identified during this exploration process.

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