Contentious home in Edmonton’s Mill Creek Ravine now well under construction

Contentious home in Edmonton’s Mill Creek Ravine now well under construction
The home — which is three storeys high and over 4,000 square feet — is now towering over those who use the path in Mill Creek Ravine Park at the end of 93 Avenue off Scona Road.

The process getting to this point has been lengthy. The city has a policy not to develop in the river valley, but a bungalow-style home sat on the privately-owned lot for years before burning down over a decade ago. In 2016, it was put up for sale and purchased by current owner Robert Weinrich. At the time, rules gave the city the option for first right of refusal, but it didn’t buy the lot.

Ward 8 Councillor Ben Henderson said on Friday he believes the city should have made a different choice at that point.

“In retrospect, I wish we had made a different decision and we had seriously looked at matching that price,” Henderson said.

After the city didn’t step in, the private sale went through and the new owner then applied for a development permit application for the new home. That passed the city’s standard application process, and was granted in December 2017.

The Strathcona County Community League then went before the city’s subdivision development appeal board in February of last year — but the board upheld the city’s decision to grant the development permit.

Now that the home is partially built, the reality of the structure is setting in for those who frequent the parkland it sits beside. For many residents, at this point, emotions are mixed.

“It’s larger than I personally would’ve liked to see it, but you know, there’s a piece of deeded land that’s being built upon. We’ll learn to live with it,” said Martin Ingen-Housz, who was one of the residents who appealed the development.

“Overall, the harm done is small.”

Another resident said the house is a little close to the ravine, and the city should have retained the land as green space.

“It’s very important for us as our cities are sprawling. We need to retain [park lands],” Darla Sawatsky said.

Henderson said that he sympathizes with those who disagree with the home, but its unique location was what led to the large development being approved.

“This house is much bigger than what would be allowed to build if it was on top of the hill,” Henderson said. “For various quirky reasons that had to do with the zoning, it didn’t have to abide by the mature neighbourhood overlay.”
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