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Sturgeon County tables plans for Villeneuve Airport region

Area could host 3,040 jobs at full build-out
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FUTURE PLANS — This chart shows various planning areas for the Villeneuve Airport region as outlined by a draft area structure plan presented to Sturgeon County council June 14, 2022. The plan states that regions 1, 2, and 3 would be developed first. STURGEON COUNTY/Photo

Sturgeon County could gain around 3,000 jobs and some $14 million in taxes a year under a new plan for the future of the Villeneuve Airport region.

Sturgeon County council passed first reading of the area structure plan for the Villeneuve Airport region June 14.

County council approved a master plan for the roughly 1,200 hectares of land around Villeneuve Airport last year. That broad-strokes plan envisioned close to a billion dollars of development in the area in the next 20 years which could see it become a hub for aviation, logistics, green energy, and/or farm technology. This month’s area structure plan set out details such as servicing and how development here would affect the rest of the county.

The draft plan divides the lands around the airport into five sectors, with the south, east, and northeast sectors planned for development first as they are close to roads, rail, and servicing. The region is to become a “world-leading investment and innovation hub” which will support the use of greywater systems, solar power, electric vehicle chargers, and low-impact development.

An agricultural impact assessment found that while this region is home to some 2,550 acres of prime agricultural land, that land does not have any unique qualities and its loss is unlikely to affect surrounding farms. The assessment called for clustered development to minimize drainage impacts on farms.

This region could host some 3,040 full-time jobs and add about $14.2 million to the county’s tax coffers a year if fully developed, the draft plan showed. Getting to that point would require some $371 million in infrastructure upgrades, including widening Highway 44 and Highway 633 in the region to four lanes from their current two.

Mayor Alanna Hnatiw said this plan will bring certainty and opportunity to this region.

“This is a monumental day,” she said, adding that this plan could have the same impact on the county as the creation of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland did in a few decades.

“It all starts with a plan.”

The area structure plan goes to a public hearing later this year.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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