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Occasionally the City needs privately owned land to build or make necessary changes to infrastructure such as roads, utilities, transit alignments and stations, parks, or buildings. This is known as acquiring land for a public benefit or purpose.

Offering land owners fair market value, having open and transparent discussions, negotiating terms and minimizing disruptions are just a few examples of how we prefer to do business with land owners. 

What if My Land is Impacted?

The City Will Make You an Offer

If our plans to improve infrastructure affect your land, we will contact you directly to discuss how much of your land is required for our project. 

We will make every effort to work with you as early in the project as possible to provide time for discussion and negotiation, and to allow you to make any necessary arrangements. 

Our goal is to work with land owners to reach an agreement that is good for everyone and makes the process as smooth as possible — including quick payment. 

Fair Purchase Price

Our professional property agents are familiar with Edmonton’s real estate market and how to calculate the fair market value of land. They will work with you and either internal or independent third party appraisers to come to an agreement on purchase price and any other necessary arrangements. We assure you that we want to reach a fair deal with any land owner whose property is considered necessary for a public benefit or purpose. 

If you receive a proposal from the City for the purchase of your land (or any interest in land you may have), 

  • We encourage you to have the offer and purchase terms reviewed by your own lawyer. 

  • The City will pay reasonable legal expenses incurred for this purpose. 

What if we Don't Reach an Agreement?

Land Expropriation

Considered a last resort, expropriation is the legal process by which the City is permitted to take private interests in land for a public benefit or purpose without the consent of the owner. This option is available when a private party is unwilling to voluntarily sell their land. The City can take a portion of the land or the entire parcel depending on what makes the most sense for the project.  

This process is regulated by the Expropriation Act, RSA 2000, c. E-13, which requires all municipalities to comply with the same requirements and gives all private land owners the same rights and entitlements when their land interest is being expropriated.

The process and timelines for notices, approvals, payments and possession dates are directed by the Act and can be time consuming and lengthy. Whenever possible, the City would rather reach a voluntary agreement to provide property owners ample time to make necessary arrangements without having to go through a formal legal process. This is always the preferred route over the expropriation process.

What is Expropriation?

Expropriation is the process by which a municipality is permitted to acquire private interest in land for a public benefit or purpose. A municipality can take a portion of the land or the entire parcel, depending on the circumstances.
Any taking of privately owned land is regulated by the Expropriation Act, RSA 2000, c. E-13 which requires all municipalities to comply with the same requirements and gives all private land owners the same rights and same entitlements to compensation. 

Who can be Expropriated?

An owner under the Expropriation Act is very broadly defined, and includes any person registered on title with any interest in the land, including a tenant. 

Why Does the City Expropriate?

The City of Edmonton has previously expropriated privately owned land for public purposes such as: 

  • Developing and expanding highways, roadways and streets
  • Designing and constructing LRT lines, including park and ride stations
  • Building communities and parks to revitalize neighbourhoods.

While the City of Edmonton strives to minimize the impact on property owners when determining which projects to approve and what land is required, at times acquiring privately held property is unavoidable. 

The City will always attempt to acquire any required parcels of land voluntarily and by negotiating with the property owner. Typically, a City of Edmonton property agent will contact a property owner and attempt to buy the required property for fair market value. If the property agent and property owner cannot come to an agreement, the City may proceed with expropriation, however, expropriation is always a last resort. 

How are Owners' Rights Protected? How is Fair Compensation Ensured?

The Expropriation Act requires the municipality to pay all reasonable legal, appraisal and other costs incurred by the property owner. If the property owner and the City cannot come to an agreement for the voluntary acquisition of the property or with respect to fair market value, the City may commence expropriation proceedings.

While the City remains committed to navigating through the expropriation process with property owners in a collaborative manner, the Expropriation Act and the Land Agent Licensing Act  have policies and procedures in place to ensure the property owner is protected throughout the process.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement on compensation, the land owner can proceed to the Land Compensation Board to determine compensation. 

Law Society of Alberta Referral Service

The Law Society of Alberta Lawyer Referral Service helps to connect members of the public with lawyers practicing in the applicable area. These lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss legal issues and explore available options. 

To connect with the Law Society of Alberta Referral Service, you can either contact the Law Society at 1-800-661-1095 or fill out the online request form.

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