Plans to convert roughly three acres of parking lots in and around 107th street near the ware house district into a major downtown park took a major step forward Wednesday when the owner of one of the lots came forward to city councillors to confirm a purchase price is all-but agreed to.
Council’s Urban Planning Committee held off appropriation plans until February because of that progress.
The park, which would be located in the Warehouse Campus Neighbourhood, would centre around 106 Street and 102 Avenue and would run east to 105 Street and west to 107 Street. “You don’t find an open space this large in the downtown. It doesn’t exist,” senior planner Duncan Fraser told reporters. “That’s why we identified these properties for a future park for everybody’s enjoyment.”
Lawyer Robert Noce, representing Obam properties LTD, said an offer was given earlier this year, and the price was close enough for them and the city to keep talking. “The city is really keen on developing a park there, so there’s no point in arguing the substance of the city’s desire to create a park there. All we’re negotiating now is price and the offer that they put forward made sense.”
This particular parcel is north of the Boston Pizza off Jasper avenue. One remaining hold up Noce said was consideration for a laneway for continued access to the property.
“There’s no value in spending the next year or two fighting over value if the price is reasonable.”
The money the city is using is from the Community Revitalization Levy associated with the arena district. The park is one of ten priority projects on a list compiled by city council.
“This is the first step to assemble the land,” said Fraser. “So once we get the land assembled, step two is the design exercise that we go through with the community. As planners we think in long term because this is a long term benefit for the community over the next 15-20 years.”
“It’s a highly attractive park, and we believe it’ll be a magnet for residential development.”
Concept plans include making it large enough for a sports field, and a dog run.
“The Alex Decoteau Park for example was the last city owned parking lot site with in the boundaries of the downtown plan, which we are turning into a park. So goodbye gravel, hello green.”
Alex Decoteau Park began construction in the summer at 105th street and 102 ave. It’s scheduled to open in 2017.