By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
The Town of Coaldale is calling on Alberta Transportation to purchase the old 7-11 and gas station off Highway 3 and 20 Street.
In a letter sent to the Minister of Transportation, Brian Mason, from Coaldale Mayor Kim Craig, Alberta Transportation is urged to purchase the land, due to being in a high traffic area that is congested throughout the day which is exacerbated by multiple lanes and nearby rail; as there is not enough turn space at that intersection for semis to safely enter or exit and, as a result, semis drive on to the sidewalk, which is hazardous for pedestrians; and the intersection is a safety hazard for school buses and children.
“I am contacting you as there is a commercial property that recently became available for purchase that is adjacent to Highway 3 and our main street. This location previously housed a 7-11 Convenience Store and Gas Station and was closed down earlier this week and is currently being dismantled,” reads the letter.
“It would be better suited to acquire the land for the purpose of future road widening as well as reduced congestion,” reads the letter.
The land in question is currently owned by 7-11 Canada Inc. According to town CAO Kalen Hastings, as the intersection is located at the intersection of two province-owned highways — Highway 3 and Highway 845 — it “makes sense” for the province to purchase that land.
“It makes sense, if you look from a long-term, infrastructure planning prospective, that they acquire land at major intersection such as that,” said Hastings. “Especially ones, in Coaldale case, that are highly congested. I think anyone who comes to Coaldale knows there’s congestion issues at that intersection at peak times.
“We want to make sure that they’re aware of what’s happening here at a local level, so they, and their land group and their transportation planning group, can be proactive, think long term and acquire that land so future infrastructure upgrades to that land can take place.”
Hastings said that the town hasn’t heard what 7-11’s timeline is for selling that land, but they do know that “they’re not going to be opening again”.
“There is an opportunity here, and opportunities like this don’t come around everyday for the province, to make a proactive, long-term purchase, so that their position to make infrastructure upgrades, road-widening, additional turning lanes, to that congested intersection.”
There is also the question of whether the land, the site of a former gas station, is considered a brownfield. According to the MGA, a brownfield is a commercial or industrial property that “is, or possibly is, contaminated; is vacant, derelict or under-utilized; and is suitable for development or redevelopment for the general benefit of the municipality”.
Over half of all brownfields in Canada are the sites of former gas stations, and remediating the land may cost more then it’s worth.
“I haven’t viewed the soil samples, so I can’t say whether it is brownfeild. What I can say is anytime there is a service station, that a Phase Two Environment Assessment will need to be conducted to have a definitive look at what is under ground.”
As of press deadline, 7-11 Canada Inc. has not responded to press inquiries.