Owner donates lot with salmon-bearing stream

Regional district’s community services manager says the stream has been abused because the lot has sat empty for so long

The Strathcona Regional District stands to add another park to its inventory after accepting a piece of land from a property owner on Mitlenatch Drive.

The regional district board agreed at its July 23 meeting to accept the land gift once the owner has provided paperwork 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.

The property is 0.5 acres in size and is 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.

The owner, who has a Calgary mailing address, wants to give the lot away as a gift to the regional district because a coho salmon-bearing stream, Midge Creek, running through the property makes it undevelopable.

Ralda Hansen, the regional district’s community services manager, 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. “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.”

Cortes Director Noba Anderson was concerned that the regional district may be taking on more than the property is worth.

“It seems we’re taking on a major undertaking in clean up and restoration from invasive species,” Anderson said. “It seems we’re taking on quite a hassle.”

Area D Director Brenda Leigh said it’s a matter of environmental protection.

“I had the same 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.”

Pending official transfer of ownership, Hansen said the regional district intends to keep the property as  green space and provide a habitat for birds, fish, animals and insects, as well as a meeting place for the neighbourhood.