Annexation - High Level Airport
The Town of High Level is proposing to annex lands within Mackenzie County, including the High Level Airport which is currently located within Mackenzie County.
All the lands to be annexed are Town-owned or Crown lands. There will be little, or no, impact to privately-owned land. The High Level Airport sits on land owned by the Town. The consolidation of the affected land into the Town will provide more effective servicing for the airport lands and provide for a better and more efficient planning and development of the lands to reflect the intent, goals, and objectives of the Town of High Level.
Other lands at the Airport are owned by the Government of Alberta and utilized by the Ministry of Forestry and Parks for Alberta Wildfire’s administrative offices and its airtanker base, and the Ministry of Infrastructure. The private residences and commercial buildings at the Airport are on land leased from either the Town or the Province.
The Town of High Level is pursuing this annexation to allow the Town to better manage the High Level Airport and the Town’s raw water source at Footner Lake, which are currently located within Mackenzie County.
The Town embarked on an extensive public consultation to ensure the public, landowners, and affected stakeholders were made aware of the annexation application and had an opportunity to provide input before the matter is considered by the Land and Property Rights Tribunal. Public consultation also offered the Town of High Level an opportunity to develop an understanding of concerns raised and to establish applicable mitigation measures, if required.
The Town of High Level has made direct contact with the landowners located within the area proposed for annexation (the relevant Provincial Departments and Agencies) and local authorities impacted by the annexation (such as utility companies). The Town has also reached out to the Dene Tha’ First Nation and Beaver First Nation and provided opportunities for the residents of the Town of High Level and Mackenzie County to ask questions and provide input into the annexation process.
Annexation within Alberta is a provincially legislated process where a municipality changes or expands its jurisdictional boundaries. In general, the reason that municipalities annex lands is for the purpose of accommodating future population growth, although annexation sometimes occurs to accommodate natural features in the environment, roadways, or infrastructure.
Financial and Organizational Impacts
Once the annexation is complete, the Town of High Level will become responsible for the municipal infrastructure and operations within the annexation area.
Conformance with Strategic Plan
This Proposed Annexation conforms with the Town of High Level’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan through:
Goal #1 – Vibrant Economy – Opportunities generated that deliver economic growth, diversity, and strengthen our sustainability for both the Town and the region.
Goal #2 – Infrastructure, Growth and Reliability - Community needs are met with reliable infrastructure and attractive shared spaces.
Town of High Level is proposing to annex lands within Mackenzie County which include the High Level Airport, Footner Lake, and the Town's existing wastewater sewage lagoon for several reasons.
The purpose of the public consultation is to ensure there are opportunities for the public, landowners, and affected stakeholders to be made aware of the annexation application and have an opportunity to provide input before the matter is considered by the Land and Property Rights Tribunal.
Public consultation also offers the Town of High Level an opportunity to develop an understanding of concerns raised and to establish applicable mitigation measures, if required.
Annexation Area Increase
After purchasing SE-33-109-19-5 and 792 2039; 1 in October 2022, the Town obtained support from Mackenzie County to further annex these two parcels into the Town of High Level. The Town publicly advertised the annexation area increase on social media, two January 2023 editions of The Echo Pioneer, and advised all affected stakeholders and authorities via letter in December in 2022. This increase in area brings the total lands to be annexed from Mackenzie County to approximately 1,935 hectares as shown in Figure 2.
Sept 14, 2023 Update:
Following the Town of High Level's application, Mackenzie County has issued an objection to the annexation to the Land and Property Rights Tribunal.
The following documents are available for viewing.
The Land and Property Rights Tribunal has confirmed receipt of the Town’s Annexation Application and will commence their own public and stakeholder notification process. The Town has requested an annexation effective date of January 1, 2024, and will update the public once a decision has been made by the Government of Alberta Cabinet on the Annexation Application.