Good news: City staff have reached an agreement to acquire approximately five hectares of Shea Woods. The forest will remain protected as part of a public park.
A report will come to the City’s Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) on May 3 and to City Council on May 10 for approval. (You can read the full report here.)
What is Shea Woods?
Shea Woods is located east of Shea between Abbott and the future Cope Road. The cedar forest has become a popular spot for dog walkers over the past decade. For now, it remains private property under the ownership of CRT, a partnership between Claridge, Richcraft and Taggart. This agreement is a long time coming, and took some dogged determination by City staff to finalize. They negotiated hard and found creative solutions to come up with the best deal possible for City taxpayers.
Wasn’t this acquisition already announced several years ago?
An agreement was first reached in 2017 between the City and CRT to purchase the land, but fell apart shortly before I took office in 2018 due to problems obtaining usage rights in the hydro corridor. The original agreement lapsed, so a new agreement and purchase price had to be negotiated.
What is the current agreement?
The area that the City will acquire is 5.061 hectares (12.506 acres) of land, valued at $700,000 per acre. CRT will convey 2.374 hectares (Parcel 1) to the City at no cost as a condition of approval for Phase 3 of their Westwood Plan of Subdivision. The City will purchase the remaining 2.687 hectares (Parcel 2) at a price of $4,647,300, which will be reduced by a credit of $1,644,697 to the City from CRT – or $3,002,603 plus applicable tax and legal and appraisal fees.
Once the purchase is complete, it will become a City park. The intention is to maintain the cedar forest and create an off-leash dog park. I’ve committed $584,350 from our ward’s Cash-in-Lieu of Parkland budget that will be used for landscaping, fencing, and other elements to ensure that the park and is safe and accessible for residents.
Shea Woods is an important recreation and natural area for our community. I look forward to working with residents to ensure that this forest remains healthy and cared for in the years to come.
A reminder for people who are walking their dogs in the forest: Please pick up after your pet and bring the waste home with you for disposal. Also, please do not use the parking lot at Holy Spirit Parish on Sunday mornings to ensure the safety of churchgoers.