The Way We Grow, Edmonton’s Municipal Development Plan adopted by city council in 2010, called for an open-planning process that enabled residents to participate in policy development and planning for growth and change. One of the key priorities identified in the MDP was increased infill development in order to help revitalize neighbourhoods and optimize the use of existing infrastructure.
To that end, the city wants to increase the amount of development in established neighbourhoods to 25 percent of all new development, up from the current 15 percent.
Evolving Infill is a three-step project that was launched in November that seeks to marry both of those goals and engage Edmontonians in a conversation about future development in our city’s established neighbourhoods. Step one involves the gathering of residents’ feedback regarding infill development. City staff say the first of two city-sponsored workshops, though held on an extremely cold November morning, was well-attended. The second will be held Janurary 9 at 6:30 pm at the Woodvale Community League (at the Millwoods Golf Course, 4540 – 50 St).
For those inclined to stay indoors, the city has set up a number of online discussion forums where residents can offer their opinions on a number of topics related to infill development or just browse through previous comments, where both concerns—such as the ability for deteriorating infrastructure to withstand increased densification—and suggestions for the way the city can improve—like consulting with neighbours before the shovels hit the ground—can be found.
In addition to the workshops and online forums, residents are invited to complete Residential Infill workbooks which are available at all public libraries and online at edmonton.ca/evolvinginfill.
Recognizing that some people might want to have discussions with others before submitting their comments to the city, the Newton Community League (5520 – 121 Ave) is hosting two Residential Infill Discussion Workshops on Sunday, January 12 from 2 to 5 pm and on Monday, January 27 from 7 to 9:30 pm.
Gordon Tabachniuk, who redeveloped a property in a mature neighbourhood himself and is enthusiastic about promoting this type of development, is helping to coordinate the workshops, which are open to residents from across the city.
“It’s an important way for us to combat sprawl, a challenge facing Edmonton and all major cities,” he says.
For those who really want to get their teeth into it, the city is inviting residents, infill builders and developers, real estate representatives and members of community and civic groups to apply to be part of step three: the Infill Action Collaborative, a group which will work with city staff to make recommendations the city might consider to better support infill development. Through five workshops to be held between February and April, IAC members will go through the feedback gathered during the first part of the project.
Lisa Larson, Acting Senior Planner with the city, encourages Edmontonians to engage in both steps of the process.
“It really will help us as a city to develop a shared understanding of what is important to us as we move ahead,” she explains. “What we gather here will provide the foundation as we move forward to identify and prioritize our future actions.”