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The view from Spyglass Hill in Rothesay. Image: Town of Rothesay

Rothesay Has No Plans To Buy Spyglass Hill

By Brad Perry Feb 21, 2023 | 5:57 AM

Rothesay council has no plans to buy an 85-acre parcel of land currently up for sale which includes Spyglass Hill.

The land at 7 Jersey Lane, between Rothesay Netherwood School and Riverside Golf & Country Club, is listed at $3 million.

The listing prompted concern on social media over the potential loss of the well-known recreation spot located on private land.

A number of residents recently wrote to town council asking them to step in and preserve the land as green space.

During a recent council meeting, Deputy Mayor Matt Alexander said there is no money in the budget to do that.

“There are many competing interests for Rothesay’s tax dollars. Some of the larger priorities that council has identified as priorities include a new arena, a connector tunnel to connect multi-use trails on either side of the Mackay Highway, and a new wastewater treatment plant,” said Alexander.

“The town would either have to raise the funds through an increased tax rate or apply to the municipal capital borrowing board for a loan. It is questionable whether the board would approve a loan to purchase green space.”

Alexander said the current owners of the land have expressed concerns with people trespassing, tearing down no trespassing signs and littering on their private land.

The deputy mayor also said he feels the town has an “abundance” of greenspace already amounting to about 1,150 acres — just over 13 per cent of the total area of the town.

The parcel of land is recognized in the Rothesay municipal plan as part of the “Hillside North Planning Area” in the Hillside Secondary Plan, which was adopted by council in 2019.

According to a letter from the town manager, the land is allocated to a variety of uses “including a substantial park reserve (+/- 16 acres) at the highest point.”

“This land would be acquired largely through the dedication of land as part of the subdivision approval process. Should the land be developed pedestrian connections to adjacent property would also be required,” said the letter.

Meanwhile, Alexander noted that while the land is currently for sale, there are no development proposals currently before council.

“Perhaps the lands will be purchased by someone who will not develop the lands and maintain them as greenspace,” he said.

Coun. Don Shea put forward a motion calling for a public meeting to hear from residents, but it did not receive any support.

In his pitch to council, Shea said a public meeting does not mean the town would buy the land.

“It just means you’re bringing people together to discuss what may happen to that land, either working together or perhaps coming up with ideas that we haven’t even thought of at this particular point in time,” he said.

“Once this land is gone, it’s gone. We won’t have the opportunity again. They don’t make land any more.”

According to Shea, some people in Rothesay view this piece of land in the same way that others would view an arena from a recreational point of view.


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