Edmonton

Century Park site home to dirt pile instead of development

A conflict over the pedestrian connection between the new proposed park and ride lot and the Century Park LRT station has halted development in the area. Now, residents are living next to a pile of dirt.

Dust irks residents who were hoping for new development near the Century Park LRT station

Mattie Matheson is frustrated that the development in Century Park stopped abruptly years ago. The dirt pile has only added to her frustrations. (Laura Osman/CBC News)

Nearly eight years ago, the residents near the Century Park LRT station were told the area would soon feature new condos, a pond and shops along a main street.

Instead, they are living next to a pile of dirt.

A conflict over the pedestrian connection between the new proposed park and ride lot and the Century Park LRT station has halted development in the area.

Now, residents are dealing with a large pile of dirt beside the parking lot that has been brought in illegally from a construction site across the street.

"The dust is unbelievable," said Mattie Matheson, who lives in the area. "In our homes, on our shoes, in our clothes. It's absolutely everywhere." 

Matheson said the neighbourhood has been frustrated for years after development of the Century Park area stopped abruptly.

"It was supposed to start in 2000, and they said very honestly with us, it would take about eight years," she said. "It's now almost eight years, and this is it."

Conflict over development

ProCura Real Estate Services own the land where the Century Park LRT Park and Ride is currently located. They say the first step towards getting the development finally started is moving the parking lot to a different location.

The city has set out a number of conditions ProCura must meet before they receive a permit to move the park and ride lot, including building a pedestrian connection between the LRT station and the new parking lot, which is further away.
Coun. Michael Walters says he's received about 100 calls from residents angry about the dirt pile. (CBC News)

However, Procura CEO George Schluessel says he has no intention of meeting those conditions because they were not part of the original deal.

"It's a stalemate. It's really in the city's court, it's not in our court," said Schluessel.

"If I got the city today, the approval, we'd probably within weeks have this finalized … and probably within two months we'd have the application submitted for the new master plan."

"The wrong direction"

Meanwhile, Coun. Michael Walters says he's received about 100 calls to his office from people angry about the dirt pile.

Instead of fighting to have the developer continue the work that was promised on this site, now he's fighting just to have the dirt removed.

We should be building this residential, commercial urban village and instead we're dealing with bylaw enforcement on an illegal pile of dirt- Coun. Michael Walters

The dirt pile is considered illegal because it is from an unrelated construction site. The city has told ProCura they must flatten and water the dirt so it doesn't blow away. If they don't comply, the city will remove it and send the developer the bill.

"We're going in the wrong direction," Walters said. "We should be building this residential, commercial urban village and instead we're dealing with bylaw enforcement on an illegal pile of dirt."

Walters wants the work to begin immediately, but he is not sure what the city can do to spur the developer into action.

"It's not fair to the neighbourhood around Century Park," Walters said. "It's not fair to the city, it's not fair to his own residents – so we need to move on this."

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