County, City mark West Area milestone
City of Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie and Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law officially sign the two joint agreements on Monday morning in City Hall Chambers that will move development forward on the West Area Servicing project. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The development of Lacombe’s west area is now officially set in motion with the signing of two joint agreements between the City of Lacombe and Lacombe County.
The Joint Economic Area Servicing Agreement, which deals with how services will be provided and costs associated, and the Capital Project Contribution Agreement which details how the shares of the project will be paid as well as how construction will move forward.
County of Lacombe Reeve Paula Law said the signing of the agreements was a historic moment for both communities.
“It’s great. This has been a long time coming and I’m very honoured and proud to be a part of it,” she said during a signing ceremony Monday morning at Lacombe City Hall.
“To me, this symbolizes how well rural and urban communities can work together and what you can accomplish when you do work together.”
The $15 million project, which has been in the works for a decade, will see water and sewer lines extended into Joint Economic Area near Hwy 12 and the QEII interchange. Ultimately, it will lead to the development of those lands detailed in the Midway Centre Outline Plan, including major commercial development, high-density residential and trail development in the city.
On the county side, the project will see the creation of 258 hectares of serviced land on the west side of the QEII, and an addition 212 serviced hectares for future use.
The two communities will share half the taxes raised through the development as well, and while the focus and aim of the project is on economic development and future growth, it also serves as a boon in the relationship between both the city and county.
For City of Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie, getting services to the west area was a task given to him by former mayor Judy Gordon. Now, the project, along with the partnership with the county, will be part of the legacy he’ll leave behind when he relinquishes the mayor title to someone new next month.
“I’m honoured. It’s amazing to be part of the council that made the decision to make this happen,” he said. “I trust this relationship and partnership will go forward into the future to enhance economic development not only in the city, but the county. I’m over the moon.”
The next steps in the process, according to Christie, will involve a lot of dirt moving, deep services, as well as working with the third partner in the project - the developer.
“A lot of people think it’s our development and we’re spending all this money and not attracting business,” said Christie. “This is private land. We’re at the mercy of them attracting business, as well.”
As for what the area can expect to see in terms of development, Law explained there are a number of options.
“There’s an area structure plan for that area. There’s certain areas that have been identified for commercial, some for industrial and I believe in another area there’s a possibility for residential so it does open it up,” she said.
“I’m hoping it will be phenomenal in the future, that it will be built and it will grow.”
During the regular city council meeting on Monday evening, a few more steps forward were made with regards to the project.
As per council’s request, improvements to Fairway Drive were removed from the detailed design and roadway access upgrade plans. The change has resulted in a decrease of costs from $1,491,055 to $1,166,337.
Council also gave approval to a Memorandum of Agreement between the City of Lacombe, Lacombe County and the North Red Deer River Water Services Commission to ensure water will flow through the city’s infrastructure to the area without affecting Lacombe’s water allocation.
Construction of the water and sewer systems is set to begin in the spring of 2018.