A plan presented at city hall this morning could one day see the revitalization of a long-blighted area of southeast Calgary.

Imperial Oil used to operate a refinery near Ogden Road and 50th Avenue, but the contaminated land — which is now owned by the city — has sat empty since the refinery closed in the 1970s.

The city gave the Parks Foundation $170,000 to develop a plan to reuse the refinery park.

The proposal — which could cost $60 million — could turn the contaminated land into an energy efficient park.

It is being billed as an opportunity for environmental innovation and research on how to remediate in place.

The plan would involve Olds College and Imperial Oil, which has acknowledged it was responsible for the contamination. 

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra says it's an exciting idea because Calgarians would gain a useful park and it could lead to solutions for other brownfield sites in the city.

"There's no real process for figuring out how to take that brownfield site from what it is today, which is a contaminated piece of ground, to a point where you can use it for any number of purposes," he said.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the city doesn't have millions of dollars for a new park, but he is willing to listen.

"That's a very, very big ask," he said. "It's not in anyone's strategic plan right now. If there are private individuals who are willing to take on the bulk of the fundraising —​ you know nothing's impossible." 

A report will come back to city council later this year but when or if the plan will ever happen isn't yet known.

Plan for the site

  • On mobile? Click here
With files from CBC's Scott Dippel