Early gift for regional district

One that’s roughly 0.5 acres in size and requires some work to bring it up to snuff

The Strathcona Regional District has accepted a large gift.

It’s not a monetary donation, but a piece of land.

One that’s roughly 0.5 acres in size and requires some work to bring it up to snuff.

The property in question is located on Mitlenatch Drive in Area D, just south of the city limits, and is surrounded by residential homes.

The owner of the property, who resides in Calgary, gifted the land to the regional district because a coho salmon-bearing stream, Midge Creek, runs through the property and makes it undevelopable.

Regional district directors officially accepted the property, in exchange for a tax receipt, at last Thursday’s board meeting after the owner provided documentation proving that the site is not contaminated and that costs to appraise the property and transfer it to the regional district will be borne by the land owner.

Tom Yates, the regional district’s corporate services manager, said staff believe the public will benefit from the regional district’s acquisition of the property which the organization plans to turn into parkland.

“It is staff’s opinion that the public’s interests will be well protected upon passage of the bylaw and execution of the agreement,” Yates said.

The deal is also a win for the environment, according to Ralda Hansen, the regional district’s community services manager, who said the stream has been abused because the lot has sat empty for so long.

“The primary impacts on this fish habitat are yard waste and garbage dumping by local residents and coverage of the creek by six different alien invasive plant species,” Hansen said in a report to the board. “Removal of these plants, maintaining the removal, and prevention of further dumping will allow native vegetation to re-establish. These issues can be managed by the regional district through signage and inspections.”

Area D Director Brenda Leigh, whose electoral area the park will fall under, said while she was originally hesitant to take on the work she changed her mind after realizing its potential.

“I had misgivings until I went out to see the site,” Leigh said. “From a stream enhancement perspective, it’s a valuable asset for us. There is a salmon-bearing stream running through the centre of the property that makes it non-developable for the people giving it to us and it does have a lot of value if the regional district had control of that half-acre of land, to save and protect that stream there.”

Once the transfer of ownership on the property officially goes through, the regional district intends to keep the site as a green space that will provide a habitat for fish, birds, animals and insects, as well as a meeting place for the neighbourhood.