A group of Cochrane residents are hoping to have a piece of land that overlooks the Bow River, turned into a park.
The land, which is approximately five acres in size, in Riviera, is zoned for high-density multi-family residential.
It is currently listed for sale for $1.9 million.
Riviera resident, Chris Parsons has put together a petition to garner signatures from the community, and says this is step one.
"My wife and I have lived in the neighbourhood for about three and a half years, and we've walked past this empty land for quite some time with our dog, and we thought, you know, wouldn't it be nice to have a hockey rink, or a BBQ park, or just something a little bit nicer than a multi-family project in that area."
The group is hoping the town will consider buying the land from Tamani and will build an area for residents to enjoy.
"Quite a few people are really liking the idea of having a park there. They're just not that interested in having a multi-family complex, and reaction has been quite good. From what we've seen on the petition within a few hours, we had about 90 people that had signed on already."
Parsons admits there's a lot of work to be done, but says he's already reached out to local politicians as well as the developer.
"I did send some emails and some messages to town councilors and to our MLA, Peter Guthrie. He did respond and said we're going about it the right way."
"I have also sent it onto Tamani, so I would kind of hope that I would be able to communicate with them next, because getting the land sold is what they're looking for, and maybe if the Town of Cochrane would be able to help out the community by helping make Cochrane a little bit more of a prettier place and have a nice, useful park for our community, would be something good I think."
Parsons says he's not going into this naive, and says he's not asking for a handout.
"It's not something that we're looking for free. That the residents of the community would have to sign onto the petition, would have to agree, that we would ask the town, to perhaps purchase the land, maybe at a discount if Tamani is willing, or maybe Tamani might help with their expertise with building of the hockey rink or something like that. But, we'd be looking into making some additions to our property taxes over the course of the next say 25 years to help pay the town back, because we want to make sure that the rest of Cochrane is happy and the town is not outlaying money on somebody else's behalf."
Riviera resident, Joel Thompson says he'd like to see the land rezoned to prevent high-density, multi-family housing from being built.
“I would love to have a park or a second rink in town, in this area specifically. Maybe even to help support potential riverfront development that would benefit the entire town. I would not want to have Riviera specific property tax fees for a project that would be intended for the use of the entire town just because of its location in Riviera. However, I also don’t want a condo or apartment building in our small community, I’d much prefer rezoning to put up more single family homes and complete the community.”
Drew Hyndman, Cochrane's development and community services general manager says "This property was intended for higher-density residential development, so some multi-family development. It has not proceeded with development so it's been vacant for a number of years as the community has been built around it, so, we understand that some residents are particularly interested in this vacant property adjacent to them."
Hyndman says buying land that already has an intended purpose, and then rezoning it isn't something the town typically does.
"Well one thing that I would make clear is that it's really not the town's practice to purchase properties, especially when they're part of a neighbourood plan with a designated future use. So while these lands haven't been developed they're intended to be developed in the future. In this case, it's zoned as high-density multi-unit residential."
He says "This is a privately-housed property. We're aware it's for sale and we're aware of the petition and we know that there's a variety of opinions in the community about what this property might and might not be used for. So really at this point we can't speculate what might happen with the land. The town will ultimately respond as things proceed, but at this point, Tamani has it for sale."
CochraneNow reached out to Tamani but did not hear back before publication.