A real estate ad posted on Friday surprised many people, including the municipality.
Much of Sir Sandford Fleming Park, also known as Dingle, has been put up for sale by a private owner.
“Most people thought it belonged to the city and the Dingle is part of the city parks,” said resident Danny Weir. “But that’s because the city has maintained the walkways in the past here for many years, so people assume they used to own them, but now they’re for sale.”
Councilor Shawn Cleary says he discovered the land was privately owned last year when city real estate staff were in talks with the owner about buying the land.
“I guess those talks haven’t gone as well as I would have hoped they would since it went on sale,” Cleary said. “Now that it’s on sale, it jeopardizes this trail and obviously access to these parts of the park, and for, I think, park users and people who live near it, it was a shock, And when I found out, it was quite a shock.
The popular walking spot is actually on three different grounds.
According to the property listing, the undeveloped land was valued at just over $237,000, but the current owners are asking for just under a million.
Area residents think it would be a good buy by the city.
“It would be a nice piece of land for someone’s house, so we know it’s going to have an inflating aspect to the price of the property,” Cleary said. “So we’re going to have to do everything we can to buy it for what it’s worth.”
“Parks are important to the city. It is a great opportunity for people to move around and enjoy the city. So he thinks it’s in their best interest,” Weir said.
“Of course, everyone has the right to build on their own property. I’ve heard suggestions that we could cut the end of the hill so the trail goes around and that would probably cost a lot more than buying the land,” said resident Theresa Thomas.
Councilor Cleary hopes the land dispute will be resolved in the coming weeks.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Eilish Bonang