The Town of Bentley held a public meeting regarding the proposed annexation of land from Lacombe County on April 18.  

The land is part of the Southeast Bentley Area Structure Plan (ASP), which provides for commercial and industrial development on about 200 acres of privately owned land adjacent to the town.   

The annexation proposal is for the land covered by the ASP to be removed from Lacombe County and included in the town.   

Albert Flootman, Planning Advisor for Parkland Community Planning Services explained that annexation is the process of transferring local government jurisdiction over land from one municipality to another. 

“It’s not the Town of Bentley taking the land over from the owner, the ownership isn’t affected, the owner still gets to call the shots as any private property owner does, and remains in control of development in the future,” Flootman said.   

Annexation is intended to be strategic and based on the long-term needs of the community, 30 or more years in the future.   

Flootman explained that the purpose of the annexation is to ensure an adequate supply of land in a variety of configurations for urban development, in this case, the town is looking to have industrial and commercial land available to help the town grow.  

“The town has not grown in generations,” he said. “What this is about, is creating opportunities for urban, commercial, and industrial development to happen so that residential development happens as well, to strengthen the community to improve long-term viability.”  

A concern resulting from the proposed annexation is the loss of agricultural land and constraints on farm operations.  

“There will be loss of agricultural land associated with this, but the ASP makes it very clear that the right to farm the land continues, as long as the farmer wants to farm,” Flootman said. “There would be no loss of the existing rights to cultivate the land.”  

Bentley’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Marc Fortais explained that often the challenge for small communities is to attract investment and industrial and commercial business.  

“If you don’t get your act together as a community to develop a solid plan that shows you want to attract these types of businesses, nobody is coming,” Fortais said.  

He added, within the next decade, there might not be much change to the land, but the town must set the plan in motion now, for when development comes.   

“The whole plan is to show that Bentley’s open for business, and we’re willing to attract development here if development wants to come,” Fortais said.  

Going forward, the town will continue to receive input from the public through an online survey, gain final comments from the landowner, and prepare a draft land annexation report that will be reviewed by the Town of Bentley and Lacombe County.