A plan to annex a parcel of land just east of Calgary has now shifted focus.
In December 2021, the City of Calgary was looking to annex 1,676 hectares of land from Rocky View County, just east of Shepard, to be used primarily for industrial purposes.
Now, a new approach to the use of the area is taking shape — one that may not require annexation at all.
On Monday, the city announced that the Annexation Negotiation Committee for Rocky View County and Calgary met to consider whether a collaborative industrial corridor could best be developed, something they say could benefit both city and county.
The city said in a release that the area is a significant inland port with plenty of opportunities to grow manufacturing and logistics centres, film production facilities, and a variety of other industries.
"Previously, all we had to rely on was geopolitical identity and what belongs where," said Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek.
"What we're interested in doing now instead is looking at the business opportunity, the economic development opportunity, and, quite frankly, how does the servicing model get done in the best possible way for regional interests."
In September 2021, Rocky View County was notified of a request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, by the City of Calgary, to proceed with plans to start the annexation process for land currently within the county.
Gondek said the previous Calgary council thought it was important for the city to be in charge of the land, which is yet to be developed. But this council, she says, feels there's an opportunity for the two municipalities to work together.
"The interest of both parties is to make sure that we are realizing our fullest potential given the market confidence in Calgary and the region right now," said Gondek.
"We know that people are very bullish on our city. We've seen a lot of people relocate here. We've seen many businesses come here. We want to take advantage of that."
A 2021 statement on Rocky View's website said that the county had not determined its position on the urban expansion but intended to engage with Calgary in "good faith."
"We were interested in the joint-planning area because we believe it will benefit the region as a whole," Rocky View County Mayor Crystal Kissel told CBC News on Monday.
"We think we can achieve the same result, in having a well-planned area, if we do it together."
She added that it's a new road for Rocky View, where the municipality would essentially be going into business with the city and both parties would need to agree to contract terms.
If that collaborative approach doesn't work, however, annexation is not off the table.