An engineering survey to ascertain the costs of developing unserviced Light Industrial properties in Sparwood into a connector road has been delayed by council.
The unserviced properties extending from the Highway 3 and Transfer Station intersection up to the “Old Highway 3” would ultimately be redeveloped into a connector road with future industrial lot development along the old highway up to Sparwood Drive.
Leading up to the decision, a debate arose amongst council in regards to the costs of the study, approximately $30,000.
Coun. Joe Jarina and Mayor Cal McDougall were both in favour of approving the costs to conduct the study.
“I’ve never been a huge proponent of spending money on surveys, but I do think it would be nice to know the value of those properties should somebody come along and show interest in those parcels,” said McDougall.
Other councillors, such as Jenna Jensen, contended those expenses could be saved in favour of conducting the study in-house instead.
“I really do think this is something that can be done in-house whenever there is time. I would prefer not to see funds put into this,” she said.
Director of Engineering Danny Dwyer responded that the engineering department had intended to carry out the work in-house, however, staff had been unable to allocate the proper time and resources into conducting the survey.
Engineering consultant company McElhanney has instead been approached for the project, which would help to determine the minimum sale price of land and the amount that would have to be sold to fund the development.
“If council chooses to shelve the project, it’s something we can come back to when the demand is there,” said Dwyer, “but this way we would be getting ahead of the curve and we would have those estimated numbers ready should interest arise.”
Chief Administrative Officer Terry Melcer noted that interest in larger parcels, such as those being discussed, had not come up in the last nine months.
Interest in the last two years for Sparwood property had mostly been in the five-to-eight acre range, according to Melcer.
Despite Dwyer expressing doubts the work could be conducted in-house, council decided to give staff until Nov. 1 to complete the work itself, at which time the issue would be revisited.