The Board of Directors of Black Mountain Irrigation District (BMID) has decided to restrict the use of a vacant lot in the Ellison area that residents had been using for various recreational activities in past years, including an outdoor ice rink that has divided parts of the community.
BMID directors met on Thursday to review the issue relating to the use of its wellsite located at 3340 Seratoga Road in the Ellison area.
In a release, BMID said that there has been unauthorized dumping of soil on the lot and “further alteration of the lot creates a liability issue with surrounding properties,” it stated.
“While BMID supports recreational activity, BMID is a water purveyor, responsible for the supply of quality water for residential and agricultural purposes,” the release stated. “BMID has, on numerous occasions, restricted its land use to that of the purveyance of water.”
The issue of the use of the lot came to light this week when some members of the Scotty Creek neighbourhood went to the media to complain about being told they could not build an ice rink on the site, as they had for the past few years. They said it was a community ice rink utilized by kids and shutting down the rink went against the wishes of the community.
But since that time other residents have come forward stating that not all of the community supports the ice rink and saying the rink was being mis-used by some adults late at night.
In a message to the Capital News, Colby Wilkinson said the rink was an eye sore.
“The ice rink is only used by a select few in the neighbourhood. It’s only cold enough to have ice for maybe three weeks of the year. The rest of the time it’s a mud pit. It has become an eye sore year after year,” he wrote. “The lots in Scotty Creek are plenty big enough that they could build one in their backyards. It’s quite simple. The land doesn’t belong to them.”
As for BMID, they said they have advised legal counsel on the issue and have come to several decisions:
1.The property is a well site which is no longer used to provide water services to the local community.
2.The property has been significantly altered by unauthorized dumping of soil onto the property thereby changing the grade of the property. Normally, such alterations would be based on directions of certified engineering staff and permitting. The dumping of the soil was not authorized by BMID and does not meet engineering requirements for such property.
3. Further alteration of the lot creates a liability issue with surrounding properties.
4. Further unauthorized alteration or use of the property would result in liability to BMID which BMID is unable to accept.
5. BMID will obtain a fair market valuation of the property and put the property up for sale once the property has been remediated. The property will be available for purchase by all interested parties. BMID will work closely with purchases of the property to ensure a fair, reasonable and expedient sale of the property.