Edmonton

Public space envisioned for Whyte gas station land

The site of an old gas station in the heart of Old Strathcona could turn into a public space now that the land is in the final stages of a long-awaited clean-up by its owner, Imperial Oil.
An old gas station site on Whyte Avenue is finally getting cleaned up for redevelopment, the CBC's Terry Reith reports 2:15

The site of an abandoned gas station in the heart of Old Strathcona could turn into a public space now that the land is in the final stages of a long-awaited clean-up by its owner, Imperial Oil.

The site at the southeast corner of Whyte Avenue and 105th street has sat vacant for 13 years.

An Imperial Oil spokesperson told CBC News remediation work should be completed within two months. The company will then put the land up for sale.

The pending sale has prompted the group that represents area business owners to dream about what the site could be.

"We envision a public space where we can have a skating rink in the winter, end-of-trip facilities for bicycles," said David Richardson from the Old Strathcona Business Association.

"Another set of public washrooms on the avenue is very necessary."

The Old Strathcona Business Association can't buy the land because the organization is prohibited from borrowing money under the Municipal Government Act, Richardson said.

The city would likely have to become involved. Ben Henderson, the councillor for the area, said that money could be a problem even though it is an idea worth exploring.

"I'm guessing that would be the obstacle, how we pay for it," Henderson said.

Richardson said he's happy to see crews at work, whatever ends up happening with the site.

"Whatever it is, it's a lot more exciting than what it currently is."