Road­clo­sure pro­cesss parks con­cern

Coun­cil­lor says there was lack of trans­parency

Lethbridge Herald - - HOMESTOWN NEWS - J.W. Sch­narr LETH­BRIDGE HER­ALD

Call­ing out what he saw as a lack of trans­parency, Coun. Blaine Hyggen was the lone vote against the sale of the 43 Street right of way south of 24 Av­enue dur­ing Mon­day’s city coun­cil meet­ing. Hyggen said he was dis­ap­pointed with the process in­volved in the road clo­sure.

“How this was done was not a sin­gle bit trans­par­ent, in my own opin­ion,” he said.

“For my­self, it was not trans­par­ent at all and for that rea­son I will not sup­port this.”

The vote passed with Hyggen vot­ing against. Coun. Joe Mauro was not in at­ten­dance.

The land in ques­tion in­volves 17.34 acres sold at a price of $50,000 per acre for a to­tal of $867,000. The buyer was listed as a num­bered com­pany.

The buyer is re­spon­si­ble for all costs as­so­ci­ated with the clo­sure and the clos­ing date was set at May 28.

Hyggen asked about a ten­der­ing process for the land in ques­tion and was told that road clo­sures are com­pleted when there is a par­tic­u­lar need to ag­gre­gate land for a spe­cific process, such as neigh­bour­hood or prop­erty de­vel­op­ment. As such, the land is not avail­able for open sale.

The de­ci­sion to close the road and al­low­ing the land into the assem­bly of the neigh­bour­hood are con­nected to one an­other.

The per­ma­nent clo­sure of 43 Street is part of the prepa­ra­tion for the South­brook school site and sports field. It will al­low the con­struc­tion of the even­tual road net­work for south­east Leth­bridge, in­clud­ing the school site, as part of fu­ture de­vel­op­ment plans in the area.

Clo­sure of the road re­sulted in a sig­nif­i­cant back­lash from some mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

Coun. Mark Camp­bell said with the pub­lic out­cry which re­sulted from the de­ci­sion to close the prop­erty, he ques­tioned what might hap­pen with the sold land if there was a re­ver­sal of the de­ci­sion to close the road.

“If the de­ci­sion was re­versed some­how, what hap­pens?” he asked.

Coun­cil was told by ad­min­is­tra­tion that with the clo­sure of the road, the de­vel­oper will be­gin to work the land im­me­di­ately and in­cor­po­rate it into their de­vel­op­ment. Fur­ther, it would be “dif­fi­cult to undo it, if not im­pos­si­ble.”

Fol­low @JWSch­nar­rHer­ald on Twit­ter

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