By Schnarr, J.W. on April 17, 2018.
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.”
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