On June 21st was the City of Edmonton’s Exhibition lands sessions. I attended the afternoon session from 1pm until 3pm. It was disappointing. The extent of the public consultation available, was for participants to put stickers next to the submissions they liked and disliked. This was very disappointing and the city will need to do better than this for future public engagement. This session was token engagement and was a waste of resources. The city will have to do better through the next phases of the Exhibition Lands.
The extent of the engagement was not the only problem, or perhaps not even the biggest problem. The other major problem that I encountered at the event was a lack of information on the proposals themselves. The staff brought no information about any of the proposals they received and when I asked for the information I was told by the staff present that the information was not available.
I would have like to have seen more information from the city. The city should have included information about various proposals.
After the event the senior planner for the exhibition lands sent out some details about some specific proposals. One proposal which caught my eye was the Agora Borealis proposal. The idea is the use the existing coliseum building to create an central, open, public space (called the Agora) surrounded by a Village that could house 700 families and guests. There would be a mix of housing options from seniors and students housing to market rental apartments and a hotel. Around this village would be commercial amenities like a large grocery store The proposal includes development in the area immediately around the coliseum alongside the redevelopment of the coliseum building itself. You can find more information on their website (http://agoraborealisedm.com or by looking at the proposal that was submitted at http://agoraborealisedm.com/mt-content/uploads/2018/05/agoraborealis180504.pdf).
Other proposals include one from Concordia University of Edmonton and the Aquarium Society of Alberta, amongst others. Common threads amongst many of the proposals were mixed use development and ensuring that the area is walkable.
For a brief overview of submissions that the neighbourhood development committee received from the city click here.