Approval is being sought to start land purchase negotiations ahead of a £44m flood scheme in the Borders.
The project in Hawick, which aims to protect more than 900 properties, should be completed by 2022.
Scottish Borders Council is being asked to give a service director clearance to start discussing land deals and use compulsory purchase powers if needed.
If approved, it would allow the project team to begin consultation with land owners in the area.
Detailed design and access work is said to be "progressing at pace".
It is hoped work to remove utilities from the area can begin shortly and should last at least a year.
Procurement of a contractor for the project should start in the autumn, with construction expected to take about three years.
A report to councillors said the scheme would "change the landscape permanently" in the town.
It said that would mean the need to consider temporary land ownership during the construction phase as well as permanent ownership for maintenance, repairs and replacement.
The council will be asked to agree delegated authority to start talks on land purchase when it meets on 29 March.