After public feedback, city council declines to sell Hillcrest Park lots

At the March 11 meeting, city council voted against selling the vacant lots in Hillcrest Park.

Staff recommended not moving forward with the idea, noting the “disposal of this park land is not supported by existing city’s policies or bylaws and the stability and servicing of the property is unknown.”

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Council had previously received letters from residents opposed to the idea of selling the lots.

In order to sell the lots, council would have to remove the park dedication of about 2.5 acres of land. The staff report also notes sloughing on the lower part of a property, and that a geotechnical report would need to be completed.

“The engineering work to figure out if these are actually viable or not seems like a lot of work for demand that may not currently exist,” said councillor Jerimy Earl. “If we’re going to get into the business of rescinding park dedications, I think that’s a much bigger conversation.”

“We need to retain some green space in our neighbourhoods,” said councillor Shaely Wilbur. “I’m happy to have it stay as park and not go down that road of unknown expenses to stabilize that property.”

To prepare the lots for sale, staff say the additional costs would come down to $48,200. A total 2019 assessment of the land is $993,600.

Councillor Paul Gevatkoff, who initially brought forward the proposal for staff to investigate in November 2018, spoke in favour of the idea.

“The estimated total additional costs is $48,000 and the assessed value of the lots is $1 million. To me, it seems like there’s quite a benefit to the city, especially in these times where we’re trying to find cuts,” he said.

Gevatkoff acknowledged the timing may be poor, with staff busy on other initiatives, but said it should be kept in mind for the future.

“It’s probably not a good time to proceed with this, but I certainly think it should be on our radar for the future.”

Councillor Charlie Parslow agreed, suggesting they could set aside funding in next year’s budget to investigate.

“We do need to try to increase our tax base.”

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