A City of Red Deer property will be sold to a private buyer after it sat empty for nearly 30 years and ended up becoming a parking lot and dumping ground for residential and construction waste.
City council approved this week the sale of 5324 44th Ave. The city bought the triangular piece in 1973.
“Over the past number of years, there have been inquiries regarding the sale or lease of this property,” says a staff report.
“It was only until recently that the city received real interest in the sale and development as the neighbouring property had been redeveloped and put on the market for resale.”
The property was listed and the highest offer was chosen.
Land and Economic Development had entered into a conditional land sales agreement with the potential buyer.
“This particular resolution approves the purchase price and not the (development) which would have to go to the municipal planning commission,” said Planning director Paul Meyette.
Bruce and Patricia Buckley wrote an email to Coun. Dianne Wyntjes, expressing their concerns about the land backing onto their home across the alley.
They had heard years ago the city land would be developed as a park or green space.
Over the years, discussions around the neighbourhood have always been tinged with a degree of irony as the parcel seems to have never been really cared for by the city, they said.
A previous adjoining landowner was caring for the parcel, keeping the weeds down.
Eventually, that landowner began to make use of the land, said the Buckleys.
The first the Buckleys became aware of the sale was in late April.
“From the perspective of the overall neighbourhood we feel that this parcel is so small and so awkwardly shaped that it is unsuitable for development other than green space,” said the Buckleys, adding there’s been an annual problem with flooding in the alley.
They wanted to get area residents in a position to work with the city to find a suitable solution and to consider rejecting the land sale.
The buyer is looking to build a single family home.
Wyntjes said the land has been sitting empty for so many years, so she doesn’t see why the city needed to rush on this deal.
“I was hoping that we would have had more community dialogue on this,” said Wyntjes, who voted against the land sale.