MLA addresses Bill 19

Dear Editor,

There have been concerns raised about Bill 19, the Land Assembly Project Area Act. I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight.

The purpose of Bill 19 is to ensure there are no surprises for landowners when government is considering acquiring land for major infrastructure projects similar in scale to the Edmonton and Calgary ring roads – projects that will take years to build and will benefit all Albertans.

The legislation improves the process, by making advance consultation with landowners mandatory. That way all the cards are on the table. People will know what type of project is being considered, where it may be located, and who may be affected. We want to make sure Albertans are well-informed and have the opportunity to provide input before any final decision is made.

If a project area is approved, government will pay landowners fair market value for the acquisition of their land. Priority will be given to landowners who want to sell their land as soon as possible. In other instances, landowners may choose to continue living on their land for years, using the property in the same manner they always have, until the land is eventually needed for construction and the property is purchased by government.

New developments on a designated property will require government approval to ensure they are compatible with the intended future infrastructure project. If the landowner’s development isn’t compatible, and the landowner decides to sell the land, government will make purchase of the property a priority.

I want to be clear. Bill 19 does not remove any protection landowners currently have to ensure they receive fair compensation for the acquisition of their land. This legislation ensures landowners are well informed and treated fairly, while allowing the Alberta government to acquire land for large infrastructure projects that will benefit the whole province.

For more information about Bill 19, please visit the website:

http://www.infrastructure.alberta.ca

MLA Ray Prins

Lacombe-Ponoka