Fate of Oliver Park to be decided next week

News source from CTV News

Edmonton City Council is set to make its final vote next week on whether a section of Oliver Park will get the boot, and be replaced with a 24 storey tower.

The proposal goes to a public hearing at city hall on Monday, but for councillors it won’t be as simple saying yes or no to a tower in the park.

The proposal comes with a “land swap” that has been highly controversial within the community.

The site’s would-be developer, Abbey Lane Homes, owns a similar piece of land near the park. The developer has proposed a trade of the lands, swapping ownership with the city.

The city could then turn its newly acquired land into a park, replacing what would be lost in Oliver. Area residents are split on the idea.

“This is a neighbourhood where most people are living in multi-residentials, so they’re living in towers, etcetera, they don’t have yards, they need spaces to bring their kids to play,” said Lisa Brown with the Oliver Community League.

“So of course if you live close to the St. John’s school site, you want a park, and if you live close to Oliver Park, you want a park here,” said Brown.

If council rejects the swap, Abbey Lane Homes could apply to develop the site it already owns.

Brown believes it would be a shorter building, but still it worries would cast shadows on the neighbouring community garden many in Oliver hold dear.

Councillor Scott McKeen is reserving judgments until he hears everyone’s arguments on the 29th, however he enters the discussion with caution.

“Continuing to wedge towers in every available even a small parcel of land in Oliver, at some point we could mess things up,” said McKeen.

With files from CTV Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson

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