Clean-up done on former Whyte Avenue gas station site

The clean-up of the old Esso gas station site in the heart of Old Strathcona is now complete
Imperial Oil has removed contaminated soil from the former Esso gas station site at 105th Street and Whyte Avenue. (CBC)

The clean-up of the old Esso gas station site in the heart of Old Strathcona is now complete.

The site on the southeast corner of Whyte Avenue and 105th Street has sat vacant for 14 years. Last fall, Imperial Oil started removing contaminated soil, a process that was completed in May.

Company spokesman Jon Harding says the land is almost ready to put on the market, possibly by the end of the year.

"We need to carry out some on-site monitoring of the subsurface conditions and this will continue for several months," he said. "Just to ensure that the work that we've undertaken was successful."

The Old Strathcona Business Association would like to turn the site into a public plaza with some retail space — if the group can find a way to obtain the land, which is estimated to cost nearly $3 million.

The Municipal Government Act prohibits the association from borrowing money, so the city was asked to help.

However, the city won't step in, so now association executive director Murray Davison is appealing to local businesses to join forces and buy the property.

"We're hopeful that possibly we can put the right people together here from the community, and a few other investment interests, and we could make this a reality," he said.

Above, an artist's rendering of the Old Strathcona Business Association's plan to convert the old Esso gas station into a plaza offering retail, professional and public space placed next to a recent photo of the empty lot.