New expansion is planned for High River with the 2015 South East Annexation proposal, which includes approximately 370 acres of land in the MD of Foothills immediately adjoining the town boundary south and east of the Highwood High School.
High River’s growth and future development depends on increasing its geographical footprint through annexation. This is the process where land is transferred from one municipality to another. Applications to annex land are made to the Province of Alberta which determines the merits of the application. From its start as a village of 640 acres in 1901, High River has annexed land progressively as the town has grown. Significant annexations took place in the 1970’s and 1980’s and again in 2002 and 2012.
The current annexation proposal has been generated by a desire to replace some of the land lost due to the 2013 flood. The proposed annexation is comprised of two parcels of land: 50 acres west of 104 Street (10 Street in High River) proposed for residential development and 320 acres east of 104 Street, proposed to be kept in reserve for possible commercial/industrial uses.
The Town hosted a joint Town/MD public Open House on 22 January 2015 to provide an opportunity for residents and stakeholders to learn more about the intended expansion. The following information was made available at the Open House:
Attendees at the Open House had the opportunity to comment on the proposed annexation and as well an on-line survey was offered for individuals to provide feedback. Results of the Open House, the on-line survey and Facebook messaging was compiled in the What We Heard Report.
A Public Hearing was held by Town Council on 27 April 2015 providing an opportunity for interested parties to address Council. In addition to comments made at the meeting, a petition opposing the annexation was also submitted to Council.
Town and MD Councils have established an Annexation Negotiation Committee to examine the issues associated with the proposed annexation and to draw up an agreement that deals with the issues. A draft Annexation Agreement has been endorsed by this committee and has been forwarded to both Councils for consideration. Town Council considered the Agreement on 11 May 2015 and approved it. MD Council is going to consider the Agreement at a future meeting.
The Annexation Agreement is the key part of an annexation application and if both Councils do approve it, the annexation application can be assembled and forwarded to the Province. The Province’s Municipal Government Board will consider the application on behalf of the government and will hold its own independent public hearing.
If you are interested in further information, please contact Planning and Development Services at 403 652 2110 or email@example.com