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City lets mineral claim lapse and decides to dedicate park instead

A map shows the area of interest.

The city has decided to throw in the towel on an unworked mineral claim that was once kept to insure mining did not disturb city infrastructure.

The rights to the mineral claim for the lands around the slag pile and the East Zone Reservoir will now lapse after city council voted to not renew the mineral claim.

Instead, the city will now investigate options for dedicating a park on the lands around the East Zone Reservoir. Although there might be some risk in letting the claim go, the city will now save a minimum of $170,000 over the next 20 years by dropping its rights. The city had been spending around $7,000 to per year to keep the claim — costing around $30 per hectare — a figure which was expected to rise to $9,300 by 2020 (to $40 per hectare).

The city acquired mineral claims covering the lands around the slag pile and the East Zone Reservoir in 2007. These claims were being held for the purpose of ensuring there were no competing uses of the lands that would be detrimental to the quarry operations.

A city staff report noted that a secondary aim of holding the claim “was to prevent any mineral exploration from disturbing city infrastructure in and around” the East Zone Reservoir. “At the time, mineral claims were relatively inexpensive to maintain.

Since then, the provincial government has changed the way it manages those claims,” city chief financial officer Juliette Rhodes explained in the council report. “In short, it is expensive to hold on to a claim that is not being actively worked.”

Since the mineral claim was established, the City was successful in putting in place a mineral reserve encompassing the slag pile.

“This achieves the primary reason for establishing the mineral claim, that is, to protect the slag pile as a city asset,” said city manager of development and engineering, Dolores Sheets. “Moreover, there are other tools to achieve a similar protection of the lands around the East Zone Reservoir as that provided by the mineral claim.”

A review by the lawyers that manage the mineral claims identified dedicating the land as park to be a strong protection of those lands against mineral exploration, Sheets explained.