City officials are keeping details about a proposed land swap for Reservoir Hill close to their chests.
John Braam, the city’s engineer, said administrators had not yet met Thursday with representatives from Ayerswood Development, which wants to build a 12-storey condo on the property. They are expected to meet before Tuesday’s council meeting and the results will be made public then, Braam said.
Everything else will be kept confidential, Braam said, including how a deal might work and which municipal lots the city might be willing to exchange for the controversial parcel at Springbank Drive and Commissioners Road West.
Ayerswood’s lawyer had not returned phone messages from Metro. The developer offered to sell the land to the city years ago for $10,000.
The result of the new talks could affect Tuesday’s vote on the development site plan. Previous votes have been split, and Coun. Dale Henderson — who last week voted in favour of the plan at a committee meeting and proposed the land swap — now says he’s on the fence.
“I want to see a good deal, that’s what I want to see. If it just comes back the way it is, I’m not going to be a happy camper.” — Coun. Dale Henderson
He considers a land agreement the “win, win, win” to more than 10 years of debate about the development. The approach, he said, is akin to a movement to change the “attitude” at city hall to one that’s more “service oriented.”
“(Seeing things as) black, white, (or) yes, no, … that’s not the business attitude or service attitude,” Henderson said.
While Henderson’s plan doesn’t go as far as listing properties to swap, Braam agreed that the city has plenty of spots available — including downtown and the former South Street Hospital property.
Bill Hopkins, an opponent of the condo development, isn’t holding his breath that a deal can be reached by Tuesday.
“If that occurs, I’d be stunned. I think it’s just a smoke screen by a couple of councillors to reduce a little bit of pressure on them,” he said. “The developer has been obsessed with developing Reservoir Hill. There’s absolutely no incentive for him to swap land.”