Major Land Deal Reached Between Fort McMurray and the Province
Fort McMurray leaders met with government officials recently and signed a deal for a $131 million land-for-highways agreement. This will provide the northern boom community with more land to grow and new road responsibilities.
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will spend the money to improve Highways 63 and 69, according to the agreement. In exchange, the 166 hectares area of undeveloped land in Saline and Parsons Creek will be sold to housing developers. The proceeds from the land sales will fund the road work.
For quite some time Fort McMurray has experienced a land shortage for residential and commercial needs. This land will provide the necessary space for developments and will also improve the roads needing it the most within the area.
With this deal, the municipality will be given a 21-hectare parcel of land in Parsons Creek and 145 hectares total in Saline Creek, split between four lots. Fort McMurray officials expect the developments to house more than 44,000 people once complete.
Within the deal, the municipality will expand Highway 63 to six lanes from the Athabasca River to Hospital Street. They will also finish twinning Highway 69 and improve three intersections:
- Highway 63 and Highway 69
- Highway 69 and West Airport Boundary Road
- Mackenzie Boulevard and Highway 63
A bus lane will also be added at Highway 63 and Thickwood Boulevard and bus-on-shoulder accommodations will be added to portions of both highways, as well.
This is the second deal of this type in the past year. In July of 2013, the province established a 22,000 hectare area for development in Fort McMurray, as well.
The municipality will be responsible for creating the Parsons Creek interchange, which is a $150 million project. They expect to have this completed in 2015.