Airport Vicinity Protection Area

Airport Vicinity Protection Area (AVPA) regulations are governed by provincial legislation apart of the Municipal Government Act (MGA). The regulations were first developed in the 1970s at the Calgary International Airport and control how land is developed in certain areas around the airport, due to the potential noise from aircrafts flying overhead as they arrive or depart. These areas are called Noise Exposure Forecast (NEF) contours.  

In 1981, similar rules and NEF contours were applied to the Edmonton International Airport under separate AVPA regulations that supersede any local planning document. It is important to understand that there are two AVPA regulations in Alberta – one for the Calgary airport and one for the Edmonton airport. 

AVPA regulations at the Calgary airport are significantly less constraining than the regulations at the Edmonton airport. Today, more than 80 per cent of the City of Leduc is covered by NEF contours, which hinders our community’s ability to grow and develop. 


Local and regional impacts 

As part of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, the City of Leduc is committed to and encourages growth that will benefit the city and the region; however, our ability to do this is significantly impacted because the majority of the city is covered by AVPA regulations and NEF contours. 

Community revitalization and vibrancy is restricted 
Leduc is unable to increase density within the NEF contours to meet mandated Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board requirements. This impacts the city’s mature neighbourhoods and our ability to increase densities downtown. Restrictions also reduce the ability to provide attainable housing as well as senior housing and aging in place options, which can have negative implications for vulnerable populations in our community. 

Being a place where people want to live, work and play is a strategic priority for the City of Leduc. We know people want to live in Leduc so that they can be in close proximity to employment opportunities at the airport, or in the event that they frequently travel for business or personal purposes. 

Ability to optimize existing housing infrastructure and infill is limited
Homes within some of the NEF contours cannot be modernized or redevelop as housing ages, which can contribute to declining neighbourhoods and lost opportunity for infill. Unable to maximize existing infrastructure, the city must focus the bulk of its development in greenfield areas at an increased cost. 

Future development in Leduc is made difficult or not possible
Large undeveloped parcels of land where the highest and best use is residential, commercial and/or recreational cannot be developed as such. This land is likely to remain undeveloped for a long time because there is little demand for new non-residential development in those areas. 

In other areas of the city, local services, community groups, places of worship and educational opportunities to progress or expand are not permitted. These missed or hindered development opportunities are an ongoing concern for the city. 

Progress on other city projects is slowed or stalled
A variety of fundamental projects that the city is working on are either slowed or on hold due to the current AVPA restrictions. This includes, but is not limited to, the Urban Centre Area Redevelopment Plan, the city’s growth study, inter-municipal development with Leduc County and implementation of Leduc’s Municipal Development Plan. 

The region’s ability to compete globally is impacted
By restricting land uses and certain development, we are unable to pursue various economic development partnerships that would benefit neighbouring municipalities and help establish the Edmonton Metropolitan Region as a global competitor. 

What’s being done to address this 

The City of Leduc is committed to diligently working with our partners to understand their perspective and shares the mindset that the Edmonton International Airport must continue to operate on a 24-hour schedule, seven days a week. Without question, this plays an important role in our collective success. 

The city’s position is that amending the AVPA regulations would help ease and address the significant impacts outlined above without negatively impacting the Edmonton airport or reducing the city’s support of its operations. In 2020, the city participated in government consultation with the province and neighbouring municipalities to discuss a shared path forward and win-win solutions. 

If amendments were made, the city would continue to use existing statutory plans and tools to continue enabling the airport’s 24-hour operations while also balancing the needs of citizens. The city has a proven record of making responsible land use decisions through local planning frameworks, such as the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and area structure plans, that help mitigate noise complaints to the airport. 

For example, the city has: 

  • Implemented a buffer within the West Area Structure Plan that spaces out residential uses from future industrial lands at the airport and within the 65th Avenue ASP, despite that area being outside the NEF contours. 
  • Implemented MDP policies that promote innovative site planning, construction techniques and building standards that will mitigate impacts from significant noise generators such as Edmonton International Airport, the Canadian Pacific Railway and the QE II Highway – with reference to industry recommendations, such as rail proximity guidelines. 
  • Refused or relocated development that could have been impacted by noise, according to the AVPA regulations. 

Additionally, the MDP directs residential development away from those significant noise generators and provides a buffer to ensure minimal impacts on residential neighborhoods. 

The city also participates as a member of the airport’s Noise Advisory Committee, which reviews noise concerns and makes noise abatement recommendations. 

Public and stakeholder engagement began in 2020 and a What We Heard Report is now available.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Learn more by reviewing the following FAQs on the Airport Vicinity Protection Area.