Council ponders future of lakefront greenspace
The star indicates the purchaser's home, the 2.08 acres of land is located directly between the property and the lake. (Supplied)
Some prime lakefront real estate could soon be up for grabs.
A little know, infrequently used and hard-to-reach portion of green space that runs along Crescent Lake adjacent to Wilkinson Crescent in the Koko Platz area of Portage la Prairie could soon be up for sale.
Council received an offer from a homeowner on Wilkinson Crescent to purchase the piece of land located directly between the resident’s property and Crescent Lake. Zoning and bylaw amendments are required in order for the land sale process to move forward and council approved a reading to do so at Monday night’s council meeting.
“It is a greenspace that has been inaccessible for a long period of time and we have a resident who has asked the city to sell them a portion of the particular lot back there and council moved to have that process go forward,” explains Coun. Brent Budz. “It will be coming back to council for formal approval but again, this is something that the resident did want to have and council is willing to move forward with, obviously at no expense to tax payers.”
Although several homeowners adjacent to the land in question have expressed interest in purchasing portions of the property, the city has only received one formal offer. A survey must be completed to determine purchase price however in a 2017 assessment, the 2.08 acres of land the resident is interested in buying was valued at $8,500.
Normally, lakefront property up to the normal high-water level is Crown owned, however since certain portions of the land was farmed before the water level was maintained artificially, the city does own specific portions.
Concern was raised among councillors as the sale would make the city’s virtually inaccessible land totally inaccessible or littered amongst a handful of privately owned acreage.
“It seems that there ought to be more planning put into this decision before we dispose of public land,” said Coun. Brent Froese. “I know that our own planning district has some reservations about selling public lands to private owners, especially adjacent to the lake, and this being public land, the public might well have interest in maintaining it as public greenspace.”
Although the reading still has to return to council for final approval, the city did authorize administration to move forward with the necessary amendments to legitimize the sale of the land. Mayor Ferris stated on more than one occasion in council chambers that any monies gained from the sale of city owned greenspace will be put into a reserve to be used to cover future greenspace costs.
The purchaser agreed to cover all costs associated with the sale of the land, and apart from the odd tree removed by city staff, the residents who own property that back onto the land have been the ones responsible for its upkeep and maintenance.