Edmonton’s civic core, from the river valley through downtown and into our most historic neighborhoods, is witnessing significant change.
Mayor Stephen Mandel’s City Councils made generational decisions these past nine years, to redevelop the City Centre Airport and negotiate a plan to bring an NHL arena along with $2.5 billion of related development to downtown.
A new Royal Alberta Museum and Legislature Precinct will bring more colour and flavour to the city centre. The potential to rebuild the Rossdale power plant into a cultural destination will challenge our budgets and expectations.
The next city council, under a new mayor, must ensure these major projects are handled prudently, to meet our expectations.
The funding framework is established, but the general contractor’s Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) isn’t yet completed.
It is my view that the next city council must not blink. Any budget request over the $480 million estimate for the arena cannot be the City of Edmonton’s responsibility.
If the guaranteed maximum price is above $480 million, savings must be found in the plans. Either that, or the money must come from the Katz Group or the ticket tax.
The Ward 6 city councillor must also play a strong advocacy role on behalf of surrounding neighbourhoods to ensure community benefits are realized and burdens are addressed promptly.
City Centre Airport Lands
City council closed the City Centre Airport with a promise, that the redevelopment would be superlative. Terms like ‘world class’ and ‘leading edge’ were used to paint a picture of an almost futuristic, sustainable city within a city.
This and future councils are duty bound to fulfill this promise. Good development is not good enough. The superlatives must be attained. The development must be something to boast about, but must also integrate well with the surrounding communities.
Edmonton began here. Rossdale is the historic heart of our city. It is incumbent on council to honour the history and our ongoing relationship with First Nations people as we plan and re-develop the old power plant.
I favour creative and bold ideas that link Rossdale to its past, but also its future. Rossdale holds the promise to truly connect Edmontonians and visitors to the North Saskatchewan River.
Boardwalks and water taxis are all contemplated. We must invest enough money now to stabilize the historic buildings. Let’s listen to all ideas and move forward with ones that sustain and protect this important resource.
Rossdale will be developed over years and perhaps decades, with budgets and citizen input top of mind.
Big projects are in Ward 6‘s future. They will alter the face and feel of downtown and our historic neighbourhoods.
We must ensure the quality of life that drew us to Ward 6 is not lost in the momentum. We need to always invite citizens into the discussions and create plans which allow for a new dynamic, without overwhelming the incredible spirit of our neighbourhoods.