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Land acquisition

The CN Highfield Tunnel will allow the Green Line LRT to travel under the Canadian National Railway tracks.

Much of the land the Green Line will be built on is City-owned, but some parcels are privately-owned.

In support of the project schedule, Green Line continues to prioritize land acquisition in advance of main construction. All impacted property owners along the alignment have been informed of the project requirements and of Green Line’s interest to begin negotiations.

Green Line’s construction is being planned to minimize the impact on existing lands, properties and other infrastructure. However, a project of this scale requires a significant amount of land for its construction. The City has been purchasing land for the Green Line’s construction since 2014 and continues to review land requirements along the proposed route and keep property owners informed of updates.

Where land acquisition is necessary, The City is committed to fair and respectful land-purchase negotiations. In some cases, where negotiations are not successful or if the project timelines require land by a certain date, The City may need to acquire properties, or identified interests in properties, through the expropriation process.  However, for The City and Green Line, our goal is to reach negotiated agreements with landowners wherever possible without resorting to expropriation.  

Stage 1 will create $6B in potential property value uplift by 2040

Impact on nearby property values

If your property is close to the Green Line but does not need to be purchased, you may still be impacted. In Calgary and other areas, properties close to rapid transit stations (within 800 m) saw their market value go up. The value increase depends on the property type and distance from the station. It is expected that Stage 1 will create $2B in potential property value uplift by 2040.

What to expect: the land acquisition process

If you own property that is being considered for acquisition, we will reach out to you and explain the negotiation process in detail. The following is an outline of the general process.

1. Introductory letter

A letter will be delivered to impacted property owners that identifies: 

  • Property impact (this could affect any tenants on your property)
  • Contact details for a land agent 

2. Initial meeting

A land agent will arrange for an initial meeting with you. This allows you to:

  • Ask questions
  • Identify issues and opportunities
  • Discuss next steps

3. Market value

The land agent will arrange a site visit to help prepare a valuation to establish the market value of the property. The valuation will be completed either by qualified staff or an independent appraisal firm. The market value may not be the same as your Property Assessment. It will consider things like:

  • Renovations
  • Quality of improvements
  • Landscaping
  • Location

The land agent will negotiate with you to reach an agreement. This allows for an open dialogue around the specific terms and conditions of the proposed purchase. It can include:

  • Market value
  • Possession date
  • Damages
  • Tenancies
  • Compensation for relocation expenses

4. Corporate approval

All negotiated, agreed-upon transactions between property owners and The City are subject to corporate approval. 

Land acquisition FAQs

Can you provide details about the acquisition process?

When entering land acquisition negotiations, The City of Calgary has established a negotiation process based upon the following principles:

  • Fairness throughout the process.
  • Respect for the privacy and confidentiality of all negotiations.
  • Compensation based on market value.
  • Minimization of disruption, dislocation and inconvenience when reasonably possible.
  • Negotiation of agreements whenever reasonably possible.

What is the timeline for The City to acquire properties needed for Green Line construction?

Green Line has acquired all land needed for the start of main construction. Some remaining land requirements may still be identified through the Development Phase.

Will The City offer compensation to address relocation expenses?

These expenses will form part of the individual negotiations between The City and impacted property owners. 

How is market value determined and who will determine that for these properties?

Although market value will form the basis of all negotiations, The City will work with property owners with an understanding that each property is unique and distinct.

We rely on qualified staff to determine market value with consideration to current market activity, the individual property characteristics and standard industry practices. Where appropriate, The City also consults independent third-party appraisers to help establish market value. 

In performing the valuations, is consideration given to improvements that have been made to the property?

Yes, this is one of the reasons why The City requires access for the land agent or assessor to each of the properties.

What is the difference between assessed value and the values determined by the property valuations described above?

The process of determining assessed values is carried out using mass appraisal, mass review of sales data and typical value as of a specific valuation date. Valuations conducted for property acquisition are specific to each property and include a recent site visit and more direct analysis of comparable sales to determine market value.

As a tenant of an impacted property, will The City be contacting me as well?

The type of impact to the property and specific details related to the lease agreement will assist in determining if you will be contacted. The City will initially contact the owner (landlord) and work with them to determine the impact of property requirements to their tenants.

What happens if the parties do not agree?

If agreement is not reached it may be necessary to commence expropriation proceedings as set out in the Expropriation Act (Alberta). Expropriation is never The City’s preferred method of acquisition. We would much rather negotiate openly and fairly with each impacted property owner and reach a mutually acceptable agreement. 

Are details of land transactions public?

The City of Calgary’s land acquisition process is established through Bylaw 52M2009 – Real Property Bylaw and the Sales, Acquisition, Leasing and Encroachment (S.A.L.E.) Policy. All details pertaining to specific land negotiations are confidential under Section 25 (1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP).

What is a Notice of Intention to Expropriate (NOITE) and why am I receiving one?

The registering and serving of a Notice of Intention to Expropriate is one of the first steps in the expropriation process. The City, as an expropriating authority, is required to serve a Notice of Intention to Expropriate on all persons shown in the records of the land titles office as having an interest in the land, as well as every other person who is known to The City to have an interest in the land.