People often complain that politicians never consult them before launching new development plans. Lately, the city has been asking for input so often it’s enough to make your head spin. And that’s a good thing.
The latest neighbourhood revitalization project centres on the Coliseum Station Area Redevelopment Plan around the coliseum, Northlands, and LRT station.
According to city planner Mo Bot during a public consultation at city hall on June 12, the plan is focusing on 160 acres of under-deployed land not readily accessible to the public or attractive for residential or commercial development. Although well-serviced by ETS, LRT, and service roadways, much of the area remains empty parking lots or is only accessible for special events.
“The area is currently very low density. Much of the housing in the area was built in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s,” said Bot. “We want to make the area more appealing for residential development and commerce, while at the same time including innovative urban design concepts, parks, and agricultural use.”
At the heart of the area is the coliseum and Northlands. Earlier this year, the city had entertained a recommendation by Hockey Canada to turn the coliseum into a “Centre of Excellence” for minor league hockey, but tabled the report until they could consider a more comprehensive plan for the neighbourhood.
The immediate appeal of the area for neighbourhood-friendly development is that supportive infrastructure for residential, commercial, and park development already exists. What remains is to find ways to increase usage and public appeal.
“The development concept calls for complete streets,” said Bot, “which includes convenient and safe access for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, motorists, and truckers.”
Consideration of green spaces is also important, including agricultural projects like the one on the corner of 79 Street and 113 Avenue behind Eastwood Health Centre.
The city is keen on renewal for our older core neighbourhoods, a shift from past development activity on the outskirts of the city. The current council is focused on directing new development to the established, older neighbourhoods where population growth has been slowest and density is the lowest.
The only glitch to following this consultation process is that the city moves fast. When the invitation is put out for input, provide it quickly.
Find current development proposals at edmonton.ca/projects_plans.ASPX. To submit input or get information about the coliseum proposal, visit edmonton.ca/coliseumplan or email coliseumARP@edmonton.ca.
Featured Image: Residents attend the June 12 Coliseum Station Area Redevelopment Plan at city hall. | Aydan Dunnigan-Vickruck