After his motion to have a piece of parkland rezoned as industrial, Coun. Lee Atkinson faced a split council during Monday’s city council meeting.
At question was a 15.9-acre section of land that hugs 15th Street East from about the area of 12th Avenue East to 15th Avenue East, across the street from SIAST.
“It’s not as if we’re going to develop it as a park,” Atkinson said.
“A lot of the trees and things that went down in the big wind storm are still in there, toppled over … If it’s available (to business) it’s something we can promote.”
Backing Atkinson’s motion, Coun. Charlene Miller noted that if the land were re-zoned, the city would be able to tax it.
“I was not in favour of the park zone to begin with because it was commercial land and still should be,” she said.
The land was formerly zoned as industrial medium density, until last year, when council rezoned it as parkland.
A subsequent bylaw amendment was proposed on Monday, which would see a more detailed map attached to last year’s rezoning bylaw, as per a request by the Ministry of Government Relations.
Piggy-backing on this request, Atkinson’s motion would have last year’s rezoning bylaw repealed, bringing it back to industrial medium density.
I was not in favour of the park zone to begin with because it was commercial land and still should be. - Charlene Miller
“I think that we should be promoting commercial activity within the commercial sector,” he said, citing the nearby Cornerstone Shopping District, which may see further expansion to the east.
Expressing a view opposite from Atkinson’s, Coun. Martin Ring and Mayor Jim Scarrow urged council to vote down Atkinson’s motion.
“I think it’s serving a purpose for those who enjoy a break from pavement and cement and structure, remembering that we still have approximately two blocks that can be developed that will take us from 10th Avenue to about 12th or 13th Avenue,” Scarrow said.
With a new condominium project being constructed across the street from the parkland, at the southeast corner of the 15th Street and 15th Avenue East intersection, Scarrow said that this buffer area will only become more valuable in the future.
“I think that this is past the public scrutiny,” he said of last year’s zoning change. “It passed with council’s approval.”
After going to a recorded vote, Couns. Miller, Cheryl Ring voted alongside Atkinson in favour of his motion, while the rest of council voted against it, in turn affirming last year’s choice to rezone it as parkland.