Park and ride hinges on land deal
Letter confirms money forthcoming once negotiations conclude
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Friday, Feb 15, 2013 05:15 pm
St. Albert’s new park and ride has received tentative approval from the provincial government for grant funding, but the cheque isn’t yet in the mail.
Nolan Crouse told the assembled crowd at Wednesday’s State of the City address that the Campbell Park Transit Station and Park and Ride has been approved by the province.
“I’ve received a letter … giving us the thumbs up on the grant funding that is going to come from the province on that,” Crouse said.
But the Ministry of Transportation isn’t being so categorical in its approval.
“It’s not a funding approval letter,” said public affairs officer John Lear, referencing the Jan. 23 letter from Transportation Minister Ric McIver. “It’s rather a letter of intent or agreement in principle.”
Two years ago St. Albert referred the park and ride to the province’s GreenTRIP grant program in the hopes of receiving as much as two-thirds of the estimated $30 million cost. But the unique location of the transit station – in the transportation utility corridor near Anthony Henday Drive – has led to a delay in the application as Edmonton and the province negotiate a lease for the land, and as St. Albert and Edmonton negotiate St. Albert’s sub-lease of the land.
“There’s been a land acquisition issue associated with the city’s application, which I understand needs to be concluded before any further steps are taken,” Lear said. “The funding approval is dependent upon the land acquisition being settled.”
Still, the letter makes clear that once that issue is settled, the project will be eligible for GreenTRIP funding.
“I trust this will provide the assurance that the government supports development of this public transportation project and that GreenTRIP funding is anticipated to be formally committed in due course,” the letter states.
Crouse said the letter was good news for the city.
“The letter skates around the exact amount and timing, but that’s fine. What they’ve done, it’s a big news letter,” Crouse said.
Crouse confirmed that there are two sets of parallel negotiations occurring right now, one between Edmonton and the province for the land, and one between St. Albert and Edmonton. Edmonton also wants to make use of the land as the final stop on its proposed northwest LRT line.
Crouse said the fact Edmonton is willing to sub-lease land to St. Albert is significant.
“This is unheard of where a municipality can build a park and ride, a major facility in someone else’s territory,” Crouse said.
There might still be some changes coming to the city’s application. Earlier this year council asked administration for an update on the estimated cost of the park and ride, which will be presented to council this summer.
Lear said any needed revisions to the city’s application should be processed fairly quickly.
“I’m guessing if the money has to be paid in some kind of connection with the land acquisition, the city would have to figure out their new position on things and send an amended request to us,” Lear said.