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Calgary, Rocky View County working on an industrial corridor on the city’s southeast border

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said it’s a different way of building the region than has traditionally been done.

The City of Calgary and Rocky View County met Monday to look at a potential collaborative industrial corridor that could be developed on the city’s southeast border. It came out of the Annexation Negotiation Committee that had been established between the two sides.

Thus far, updates on the state of negotiations have largely been provided during a closed session at Calgary city council meetings. This is the first major update on the file being made public.

“The growth of logistics centres, shipping hubs, manufacturing facilities, film production, and a variety of other industries remains a priority in the Calgary Metropolitan Region,” the statement read.

“This renewed united approach will demonstrate how strong inter-municipal relationships can benefit our citizens and the economy.”

Both regional mayors spoke of the collaborative nature of the discussions.

“It’s been encouraging to see councillors from Calgary and Rocky View County demonstrate an interest in collaboration that increases regional efficiency and attracts greater investment,” said Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

Rocky View County Mayor Crystal Kissel said the cooperative approach will benefit residents and businesses in the region.

“Rocky View County recognizes that by working collaboratively with our partners at the City of

Calgary we can advance significant economic opportunities across municipal boundaries,” Kissel said.

The antagonism of annexation

Mayor Gondek told LiveWire Calgary on Monday that, in the past, if the city needed to grow or preserve land for future use, it would simply annex it.

The prior council made the decision to enter annexation negotiations with Rocky View County. With both regions getting new councils, they decided to try to form a partnership rather than the antagonism of negotiations.

“We’ve actually got an opportunity, with how this land play could work, in a way that’s mutually beneficial but not sucking up all of the resources towards only an annexation,” the mayor said.

There’s no formal process for how this will work; it’s a sort of pilot project, the mayor said. Both regions’ administrations will be sitting down to determine how costs and benefits will be equitably distributed. Instead of being myopic, they can look at a larger regional effort to attract and service potential suitors.

In the past, it was often a bidding war: Property tax advantage to Rocky View County and infrastructure (housing, transit, transportation network, land servicing) advantage in Calgary’s favour. The City’s Industrial Land Strategy action plan identifies the need for solutions on the tax front.

Mayor Gondek said they’ve heard loud and clear over the past year that potential big prospects aren’t interested in geopolitical boundaries and the infighting that can come with it.

“If the message we can deliver is, you know what, whatever you need to do and however we need to make it work, we are absolutely interested in discussing it and we are active partners in ensuring that your business locates here – that’s a completely different story than what we used to do,” she said.

It could also usher in a new blueprint for regional cooperation – be it transportation, or even residential development, the mayor said.

There were no specific next steps provided, or a timeline on when further negotiations would take place.