PENHOLD – For the second time in 10 years the Town of Penhold is expanding its boundaries.
The province approved the annexation of about 1,300 acres of land from Red Deer County on Feb. 21. The town is now almost double its size with the addition of eight quarter sections of land to the east and northeast of town. The newly annexed land moves eastward towards Highway 2 with land on both the north and south sides of Highway 42.
The process took about 18 months to complete, said Penhold mayor Mike Yargeau.
“Previous annexations haven’t gone this smoothly. I think it took a lot of work on the county side and on our side to come together and do this responsibly and as smoothly as we did,” said Yargeau, whose community had its first annexation in 2008.
“Predominantly the pieces that are close to Highway 42 will now become commercial and light industrial development-type areas,” he added. “We didn’t have a lot of commercial or industrial land before.”
The annexed land brings much potential for development, he noted.
“This really sets us up. With the county and with our staff we put together a really good, long-term growth plan for Penhold,” said Yargeau. “It looks at where Penhold is going to be in the next 50 years.
“It opens up a whole wealth of opportunities for developers to come in and work with Penhold,” he added, noting no definite plans have been discussed at this stage.
Yargeau said the annexation doesn’t become official until April 1 but he is sending notice to citizens the new lands are open for business and the town is looking to work with any developers who are interested.
Yargeau noted individual landowners played a key role in the process as well.
“Part of the annexation process involved a lot of consultation with individual landowners. They met with Red Deer County and with Penhold multiple times and any concerns they had were also put in the final document that went to the Municipal Government Board,” said Yargeau, adding the land is still owned by individual landowners.
“For the most part there were no major objections. There were some landowners with some concerns that hopefully we addressed in our application,” Yargeau added.
“We’re still here to work with all the landowners that are now going to find themselves within our boundaries.”
He noted one area where the town did expect some changes.
“We had asked for a 10-year taxation period and instead they changed that to a 15-year period,” said Yargeau, noting landowners will continue paying Red Deer County rates for that 15-year period.
“Overall, we’re really happy with the document that was approved,” he concluded.
Mike Yargeau, Penhold mayor
“I think it took a lot of work on the county side and on our side to come together and do this responsibly and as smoothly as we did.”