Crews began cleaning up Lynnview Ridge last summer. ((CBC))

The City of Calgary and Imperial Oil have reached an agreement to clean up contaminated Lynnview Ridge so the former residential neighbourhoodcan become a park, golf course or other recreation area.

Under a 25-year plan announced Tuesday, Imperial Oil will cover the cost of cleanup on company-owned land in the southeast neighbourhood, and cover60 per cent of the tab for cleanup on city-owned land, leaving City Hall with a $22- million bill.

Imperial Oil's land will then be leased to the city for 99 years at $1 a year so it can become an outdoor recreation area, park or golf course.

"If we did not take action quickly, we would find ourselves, I'm sure, in the bad books of both Alberta Environment and the federal fisheries and oceans people. So doing nothing is not an option for us," said David Day, a spokesman for the city.

Since lead was discovered in 2001 at the former oil refinery site, Imperial Oil has bought and demolished 142 homes and several apartment blocks in the neighbourhood.

Abouta dozenfamilies remain, mostlyin the largest homes with the best views.The company began cleaning upthose properties began last summer.

'City is trying to be proactive'

Signy Morton lived in Lynnview Ridge with her three children, but moved out after learning about the lead problem. She now lives nearby and says the plan is a welcome relief after a long wait.

"It looks like the city is trying to be proactive over a long-term basis to maintain some kind of integrity of the land and make sure the land is safe to use."

Under the cleanup plan, testing will begin immediately to look for contamination and determine if the nearby Bow River is threatened.

Liquid hydrocarbons will be removed from the ground and there is talk of installing an underground barrier to prevent chemicals from leaching into the river.

Nearby resident Bruce Falconer said the plan is short on details.

"I think it's going to be five to10 years before we get much of anything going on here."