(Image / Google Maps)

A popular undeveloped green space between Kings Road and Richmond Avenue is going to transition from BC Hydro ownership to the District of Saanich if enough funds can be raised, said the municipality in a release today.

After growing public conversation about the unused natural space, Saanich Council approached BC Hydro about purchasing the land, and a conditional agreement was made to sell it for $5.5 million.

BC Hydro, which has owned the area since 1958, determined that the 5.5 acres of land were “surplus to its needs”.

Saanich Council says that the majority of the cost will be covered by the municipality, but that it is seeking to raise $2.75 million from other local governments, community associations, organizations, and residents to help offset the incurred debt.

“We heard from residents over the last several months that this property is a crucial part of their community,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes in a release.

“It’s important that we balance our commitment to fiscal responsibility with the needs of the community, so we’re asking for support to help us raise funds to cover the cost of this property.”

If Saanich fails to raise the near $3 million, the Council says it will “dispose of a portion of the property” to recoup some of the cost.

No formal plans have been made for the patch of urban forest near the Royal Jubilee Hospital, but the Saanich Council says that it could be used as a park or development area.

Saanich expects to take possession of the land in the late summer or early fall of this year.

“More information about how to make a contribution toward the purchase of the land will be provided in the coming months,” reads the release from Saanich Council