To move forward with the civic centre project, Chestermere City Council and administration must create a new vision for the civic centre land to reassure the landowner that the site is intended for recreational uses.
The subdivision for the civic centre site was conditionally approved, Senior Planner of Growth and Development Jordan Furness explained during the Oct. 4 council meeting.
The cancellation of the recreation centre added doubt to the actual use of the land for the landowner.
“In discussions with representatives of the landowners, that since the cancellation of the previous recreation building done by council, they aren’t interested in handing over the title or committing to providing the land to the city, until a new vision is in place,” Furness said. “The uncertainty created by the cancellation of the field house has meant that the subdivision has been completed, but we can’t proceed until we have a new vision for the site to confirm that it is for recreation uses.”
City administration worked to get conditional approval for the subdivision, and the next step is to get the registered land titles. However, city administration requires the landowner’s authorization, and they are unable to get the authorization until a replacement development permit is submitted indicating what the use for the land will be.
The landowner pre-dedicated the civic centre site land, however, typically, the land isn’t dedicated until the development has occurred.
“This was a landowner going above and beyond to help out the municipality by pre-dedicating, they were willing to dedicate it, but it was on the condition that a development permit for substantial progress be made to ensure this is used for recreational services,” Furness said.
The land would have been dedicated with the last development permit moved forward by the previous council, however, when the development was cancelled, landowners became concerned the land wouldn’t be used for the intended recreational purpose.
“The contract was essentially broken because of the cancellation of the recreation centre,” Furness said. “The landowner is waiting to get confirmation that the city is committed to it being recreation.”
Landowners of the future high school site also need more assurances.
An additional 6.92 acres must be purchased before the city can acquire the land title; however, the funds were not allocated to complete the purchase, Furness said.
“That money is not in the capital budget for this year, we will be looking to make that ask in the upcoming capital budget. So, again, the landowner in that situation won’t consent to the registration of the subdivision,” Furness said. “We’re at a holding period until council allocates money to complete the purchase of the remaining lands for the high school site.”
Furness explained that the landowner is waiting for council to complete the land purchase to move the project forward.
City administration is receiving concerns from the landowner about the lack of clarity about where the high school will be built, what the recreation needs are for the site, or if non-recreation uses are being considered.
“The landowner wants the high school, but they also want to be paid for the additional 6.92 acres that we’ve been telling council since last fall it’s required,” Furness said.
“The landowner is excited to move forward with recreational uses for that site, but is concerned,” Furness said. “We’re working to try and get a renewed vision for the recreation centre but it’s being complicated by other concerns like the lack of cash to buy the high school site land.”