Tennis courts safe from land sale

Rimbey’s tennis courts are not being sold and the land converted into more condos.

Rimbey’s tennis courts are not being sold and the land converted into more condos.

This decision came after much discussion and a split vote from council. If the land had been sold to Brix Construction there was a possibility eight to 10 more housing units similar to those surrounding the seniors drop in centre would have been built.

This was cause for concern because both the elementary and junior/senior schools are located in the area, which is partially serviced by a widened alley rather than a full road.

“My biggest concern is safety,” said Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson. He feels, even with a new access constructed through Kansas Ridge for the housing units, drivers would use the closest access to them as well as park on the street, taking invaluable space.

Another concern was for younger students walking to and from school, amid buses and other vehicle traffic. Some parts of roads in the area don’t have sidewalks on either sides.

Coun. Scott Ellis said most traffic comes from students attending school and 10 more housing units wouldn’t create more traffic than the roads could reasonably handle.

“I’m totally for keeping the land,” said Coun. Gayle Rondeel, who feels selling the land and putting up buildings would have increased the traffic in an area were parking and space is already limited.

The question of whether the tennis courts, which are highly visible, should be moved to another location also arose.

If the land sold and the courts moved there was the idea control be given to the school and then would be reconstructed behind the schools.

Ellis agreed the reduced visibility would be a worry regarding factors such as vandalism or dangerous situations but he didn’t feel that should stop development in the town. “Is it a good enough reason not to sell?”

Rondeel says other construction projects, such as a track, have been on the school’s mind for 20 years and if the courts are given to them the town loses control of when it’s rebuilt.

Coun. Paul Payson said just because the town owns the land doesn’t mean they should jump to sell it for more condo development when the market in town is already slow. “I don’t buy the argument there’s a shortage of condos in Rimbey. So why should we sell the land?”

“There’s pros and cons to both sides but what’s the benefit to the town?,” asked Coun. Jack Webb.

Ellis says the benefits include selling the land, gaining tax revenue and new tennis courts, which CAO Tony Goode said need upgrading.

“I don’t think it’s in really bad shape though,” said Ibbotson. He says there’s maintenance needed but the courts are useable.

“Even if it’s not being used for tennis it’s being used for some activity,” added Rondeel.