Waiting on “free park’s” final approval

The Town of Stettler council moved along an application to rezone property which the applicant intends to donate to the municipality to be used as a park (in blue). ECA Review/Submitted
Written by Stu Salkeld

Stettler town council will not give final approval to an applicant’s desire to give free land to the municipality in return for ensuring it’s used for a public park. The decision was made by town council at the Dec. 20 regular meeting of council following a public hearing.

Director of Planning and Development Leann Graham presented council with an application for rezoning from industrial to public use from applicant Ardyn Kay regarding a parcel of property described in the agenda document as the west part of 4408 47th Ave.

“The applicant is proposing to rezone the above-mentioned parcel from industrial to public use,” stated Graham in the agenda memo.

“The applicant has requested the rezoning to aid in the sale of the 5.37 acre parcel. The purchaser has been the initiator of the sale and intends to donate this parcel of land to the Town of Stettler for public use.” Graham noted the application to rezone already passed first reading and was publicly advertised, and councillors held a public hearing earlier during the current council meeting.

Public hearing

The public hearing was called to order by Mayor Sean Nolls with town staff describing the proposal.

Town staff noted no written submissions had been received either for or against the application.

When Nolls asked if anyone present wished to speak in favour or against the application, Stettler resident Sally Hurley asked to speak. She stated she was not necessarily opposed to the application but wanted to know what the purpose of the rezoning was.

Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Steven Gerlitz stated the town was approached by the applicant in question who wishes to purchase said property and then donate it to the Town of Stettler with the intention that the town uses it as a park.

Hurley asked why the park couldn’t be located at a better place to which Gerlitz answered that this was the only piece of property the applicant identified. Gerlitz added that the intention is for the lot to become public property and also that the town will maintain the property.

Hurley asked about the effect of the park on roads, and asked what would happen if an industrial development goes in there.

Town CAO Greg Switenky responded he had no idea what might go in there in the future and also noted the applicant has a link to that side of the property. Graham added that having the green space there is a good buffer between the industrial lots and the rest of town.

Hurley stated she was not in favour of the spot in question and would prefer a different spot for the park; she also suggested town staff discuss this with the applicant.

Switenky responded the applicant wishes to use this specific parcel and he wasn’t sure if another parcel mentioned by Hurley was for sale.

Coun. Gord Lawlor noted he’d had one question from the public about this application and when he described it the residents had no problem with it.

Switenky stated the application is somewhat unusual as you don’t often see people donating land to the town.

Council debate

Mayor Nolls closed the public hearing and councillors debated the application.

In her memo Graham recommended that councillors approve second reading but wait on third and final reading of the rezoning bylaw.

“Administration respectfully recommends that council not proceed to third and final reading of the land use bylaw amendment Bylaw 2153-22 until such time the subdivision is registered and the purchaser has entered into an agreement with the Town of Stettler,” stated Graham in her memo.

Councillors unanimously approved second reading of the bylaw.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.