Board reluctant to accept free land

The property is 0.5 acres in size and surrounded by residential homes

The owner of property on Mitlenatch Drive wants to give the lot away as a gift to the Strathcona Regional District.

All the owner – whose registered mailing address is in Calgary – wants in return is a tax receipt.

The property is 0.5 acres in size and surrounded by residential homes. It’s located at the south end of Mitlenatch Drive just past Redonda Way in Area D, which is south of the city limits.

Raida Hansen, the Strathcona Regional District’s community services manager, said there is a restrictive covenant on the property that prohibits development of any kind within the covenanted area.

“The property consists of a dense natural growth of trees and shrubs,” Hansen said. “A steep ravine with a vertical drop of approximately two metres runs through the length of the property. Wooden structures serve as informal bridges crossing the water filling the bottom of the ravine.”

Hansen recommended the regional district board of directors accept the land gift as it would have no financial impact on the regional district and protecting the site as green space would have ecological, social and economical benefits.

But the board, at its Wednesday meeting, was reluctant to accept the property.

Area D Director Brenda Leigh, whose jurisdiction the property falls under, said she wanted more time to “fully investigate where this property is.”

The board agreed to defer the issue to the next board meeting on March 26. Hansen, meanwhile, said that if the board does decide to accept the land gift, regional district staff are recommending the property be added to the organization’s parks inventory.

“Impact to insurance costs will be minimal and will therefore not have budget implications,” Hansen said. “Future budgets will include provision of funds for board consideration to provide signage, investigation and removal of invasive species from the subject property, potential daylighting of the ravine and improvement of the existing water crossings.”

Staff are also recommending the regional district secure a site declaration that there is no contamination on the lot, though Hansen said that’s not likely.

“Given the steep topography of the subject land, it is most unlikely that the land ever accommodated any structures or land uses that may have contributed to contamination,” Hansen said. “To eliminate potential risks that the property may be subject to site remediation, it is recommended that the landowner be requested to provide a site profile indicating if the land owner knows, or reasonably should know, that a site has been used for commercial or industrial purposes.”