The paper work to finalize a land swap between the City of Kimberley and Two Oaks Holdings Ltd. is almost done.
The City will take ownership of a lot on Wallinger Avenue opposite the Platzl — the site of the former Bavarian Esso. Two Oaks Holdings will receive a lot on Alpine Crescent in exchange.
Mayor Ron McRae says the City is proceeding because of the need to do something with such a visible lot.
“It is an eyesore. Everybody sees it, including the visiting public.”
“This is not a cash sale,” said McRae. “There is no additional payment aside from closing costs.”
McRae says the two lots are similar in size; the Alpine Cr. lot is 817.5 square metres, the Wallinger lot is 836 square metres.
The properties are also similar in assessed value. The Alpine Cr. lot’s 2014 assessed value is $101,00 and the Wallinger lot is assessed at $113,00 for the land, with a small amount added for the present building.
There are no firm plans for what will be done with the lot, the Mayor says.
“At this point there are no firm plans for the Wallinger parcel. Staff has done some preliminary work in terms of potential costs for full remediation, as well as demolition of the building. But there will be further consultation with community stakeholders with respect to future plans for the lot.”
The City can bring the building down without a certificate of compliance from the Ministry of Environment, McRae said.
He said the certificate would only be required if there was a move to change zoning on the property.
Right now, the lot is often used for parking and McRae says he doubts there is an appetite on the part of Kimberley’s citizens to see that continue. But it is far too early to say what exactly will be done with the lot, though the Mayor does said that if the City proceeds with demolition of the building, the lot would have to be secured (fenced).
McRae says the City does have a number of properties that they are always looking for opportunities to use as currency to provide enhancements.
“It’s unfortunate that the former Bavarian Esso property is in the state that it is. We worked closely with the owners when they were struggling with wanting to do something with it. It made sense to trade with them to enhance not only appearance but uses in the downtown core.”