Proposed land swap on Scotsman's Hill being called a win-win deal
An unidentified landowner is hoping to play "let's make a deal" with the City of Calgary with an unusual land swap.
The homeowner is asking the city to give up a 1,979-square-foot rectangle of land by a skyline viewpoint on Scotsman's Hill, east of Stampede Park.
In exchange, the city would get a 3,800-square-foot parcel of land behind the house, a parcel that extends down the escarpment all the way to the Elbow River.
In a little known quirk, an existing city pathway beside the river runs across the privately owned land.
It's one of three Scotsman's Hill properties that extend down the hill to the river.
Councillor backs deal
The area councillor, Gian-Carlo Carra, said the proposed land swap looks like a win-win deal to him.
It would bring the natural area on the hillside into city control and public ownership of the riverbank.
He pointed to the aftermath of the 2013 flood and how private ownership of that piece of riverbank meant the city couldn't do upgrades at the water's edge.
But the genesis of the land swap wasn't actually the city's idea.
"The owner approached the city and said: 'Hey, I've got a weird situation here and maybe we can come to a mutual accommodation that works for everybody,'" said Carra.
The councillor likes the idea that Calgarians get nearly twice as much land as is being proposed the city gives up.
It also allows the landowner to build a bigger dwelling or subdivide the expanded property, which Carra said will mean more property tax revenue.
"We're losing a thin sliver of land we won't even notice at the top of the hill and getting more people living up there and getting more tax base," said Carra. "I honestly think everyone wins here."
City administration said the land swap will not affect the viewpoint at the top of the hill, which is popular with visitors.
The city is advertising the proposed land swap and it's open for public comment until March 20.
Closing the deal is expected to take several months to complete due to the required subdivision and land use applications that are required.