Transit villages proposed at Exhibition Lands

Detailed business case analysis is the next step of the plan

An April 23 report from the City’s urban planning community is proposing two mixed-use transit villages for the Exhibition Lands.

The City has proposed plans for Northlands Park and structures, Borden Park, the Expo Centre, the Coliseum LRT Station, Northlands Coliseum, and surrounding areas. Two hundred and twenty acres of land is up for redevelopment, 160 of which the City owns.

According to the urban planning committee report, the concept for the Exhibition Lands “builds on the desired components from engagement and analyses results, concentrating development around two walkable mixed-use transit villages.”

The plan integrates the Expo Centre by introducing amenities to encourage more daily use. An additional LRT station would be south of the Expo Centre, and the Coliseum LRT station would move north. The report adds, “The result will be an exciting redeveloped urban place that provides space for economic prosperity, enhances the use of public transit and transportation choice, ensures financial and environmental resilience and improves neighbourhood health and liveability.”

City administration’s next step is to refine the preferred concept, write policy for the redevelopment plan, and further explore the business case. “These deliverables will be refined through a process that will involve further public, industry and stakeholder engagement in the spring of 2019. The resulting plan will serve as the foundation for the development of an implementation strategy and tools to evaluate future land use decisions,” says the report.

The race track will be removed as part of the land and area management strategy, but it is an important part of the area’s history. | Supplied

The next phase includes a detailed business case analysis, along with “further refinement of input costs and revenue projections. With approval of the final vision and plan, an implementation strategy will be prepared to determine how land will be divested for private development.”

Jim Gendron, chair of Parkdale-Cromdale Community League’s neighbourhood development committee, has been keeping community members informed.

“I have actually been involved with what’s going on over there since that Vision 20/20 piece started with Northlands in 2016. I have been tracking this for a while,” Gendron explains. As a community member, Gendron has a vested interested in what becomes of the space. He has made numerous presentations to the executive committee council and the urban planning committee.

“What I was trying to get across to the planning committee, and have consistently when I have gone to present, is that there is a need for fairly involved engagement with representatives with the surrounding neighbourhoods. And have a continuing relationship after the plan and the project has been defined,” Gendron says. He says the project manager and his planning team of the urban planning committee will be hosting a half-day workshop in early June that will provide information on what has been proposed and offer a tour of the site. But Gendron says he feels they can do more.

“The important thing, in my mind, [is] that knowledgeable people—those that have lived experience in the surrounding communities—from the community be engaged to help inform policy, implementation strategy, and tools,” Gendron adds.

Gendron, along with Brian Finley of Bellevue Community League, lead a semi-informal group that informs inner-city communities and other nearby communities of what’s happening with the Exhibition Lands.

“We, over the course of about two or so years, have been updating communities through an e-newsletter that we do. Brian is kind of the lead on it and I am supporting it,” says Gendron.

The idea is to keep community members informed of the process and allow them to participate however they wish.

For more information and to keep updated on the Exhibition Lands, visit edmonton.ca/exhibitionlands.


Featured Image: Willow, the bright sculpture in Borden Park. The park is emphasized in the proposed concept option. | Jim Gendron

Stephen Strand

Stephen works in broadcasting and writes for fun. He can be seen walking through the neighbourhood.

Latest posts by Stephen Strand (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *