IN THE NEWS: Valley Line West expropriation process

Today, the City of Edmonton released a report on the Valley Line West LRT project. You can read it here. The report makes public the City’s plan to begin the process of expropriating a group of properties, or portions of those properties, so the west leg of the Valley Line can be built and operated.

“We are proceeding with the process of expropriation at this time, and we want Edmontonians to understand what the expropriation process is, and what it isn’t,” said Adam Laughlin, Deputy City Manager of Integrated Infrastructure Services with the City of Edmonton.

Adam Laughlin

Adam Laughlin

“Our goal here is what it always is,” Laughlin said. “And that’s to acquire 100 per cent of the required properties through voluntary negotiation with the landowners. That continues even though we are taking this first step in the expropriation process.”

The Valley Line West LRT will run 14 kilometres from 102 Street downtown to the Lewis Farms Transit Centre. The expropriation report is going to City Council now so that planning, preparation and procurement work can be done for construction to start in 2020.

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What is on the list?

Here are the addresses in the report:

valleyline2

Of these 22 properties, 17 involve partial land requirements. Eight of the partial land requirements represent areas less than 20 m2. Below are a couple of examples of those partials. The coloured sections show the portion of land that is required.

(Meadowlark Rd, 87 Ave)

(Meadowlark Rd, 87 Ave)

 

(156 St, 94 Ave)

(156 St, 94 Ave)

As little impact as possible

Laughlin said partial land requirements illustrate the City’s principle of working painstakingly to reduce the impacts to private land as much as possible.

“We work to balance the needs for infrastructure, such as right-of-ways, roads, sidewalks and landscaping, with the need for the property,” Laughlin said. “And we look to expropriate as little property as we have to to make the project work. That principle extends right through the design process.”

City Council held a public hearing earlier this year that resulted in a series of amendments to the Valley Line West concept plan, Laughlin said.

In other cases an entire parcel of land is the only option.

(104 Ave, 124 St)

(104 Ave, 124 St)

“Along 124 Street we are dealing with an already constrained right of way,” said Laughlin. “Some buildings are built so close to the road right-of-way that there isn’t enough room. We looked at the project and land needs from a lot of angles. We considered various options and the impacts to buildings.”

None of the properties in the report are designated as historic or are in the current inventory of historically significant buildings, Laughlin said. Laughlin added that the City has contacted or attempted to contact all the property owners or representatives in this report in advance to notify them about the expropriation report released today.

Some 217 properties are required in the Valley Line West project. Approximately $150 million has been set aside to acquire land for the Valley Line West LRT.

Fairness, negotiation

Expropriation is governed by provincial legislation. Landowners are entitled to fair market value for their property and are supported in the process of negotiating for potential damages.

“We call expropriation a process because it happens according to very specific rules,” said Laughlin. “Yes, the City of Edmonton has a vision for the LRT, but the road to get there is by listening and negotiation and respect for landowners and tenants.”

Next step

At Executive Committee on October 15, councillors decided to debate the expropriation process report at the full City Council meeting on October 23. That meeting is open to the public and will be livestreamed on the City of Edmonton’s website.

We’ll update this post at the City Council meeting.

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