Imperial Oil says it is still on track to sell its former gas station location at Lakelse Ave. and Emerson St. which, for a period, was the site of a community park called Brolly Square.
But first the company wants to satisfy the provincial environment ministry that the property should be cleared of its brownfield status as a place where petroleum or other products may have leaked into the subsurface.
“Returning surplus properties to productive use is a priority for Imperial,” said company official Keri Scobie of Imperial’s intent.
The company plans to do subsurface testing at the location this month which is part of its longterm strategy of having the property naturally remediate.
“The plan is to market the property for commercial redevelopment once this process concludes,” said Scobie.
Following years of disuse when the Esso station there closed and the building demolished, Imperial Oil struck a 10-year lease with the Greater Terrace Beautification Society in 2009 to convert the spot into a community park on the understanding that Imperial intended to sell once it received a green light from the provincial environment ministry.
Bricks were placed so that they could removed easily and the beautification society then installed planter boxes and seating. A naming contest resulted in the location being called Brolly Square after the upturned umbrella-shaped art features installed there.
Brolly Square was officially opened in 2012 and quickly became a focal point for community gatherings such as fund-raising barbecues and musical events.
But as much as Brolly Square was a focus for community use, it also became a central location for increasingly anti-social behaviour of drinking and public disorder, requiring an almost continual presence of police.
When the 10-year lease ran out in 2019, the beautification society removed the planter boxes and seating and Imperial then fenced off the property, a reminder now two years on of how it appeared prior to its community use.
At the time, the beautification society expressed the hope that the site could still be developed for a community use and not be an eyesore in the middle of the downtown.