Last week over 1300 emails were sent to City Council as a sign of support for downtown development. Because people took a few minutes out of their day to voice support, there were several days of news coverage on the fact that this issue is near and dear to the hearts of Edmontonians. Councillors Batty and Loken remarked that they have never seen such an overwhelming show of support for any issue before.
We are nearly there. Last week Edmonton city council voted to defer the decision on the arena development. And, in a wise move by Mayor Mandel, he asked for and received a show of support from the Capital Region Board of 24 surrounding municipalities. This support is for the City of Edmonton’s application for Municipal Sustainability Initiative grant funds that are earmarked for regional collaboration initiatives. The region’s leaders rightfully believe that a strong downtown core benefits us all. This is a glimmer of hope for long-term and big picture thinking.
But there is a risk that the Alberta Government won’t recognize this strong show of support. The final terms of the grant have not yet been decided, and they may drag their heals on a decision. Either of these possibilities could scuttle the opportunity. We need to convince Premier Alison Redford, Finance Minister Doug Horner, and Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths that this is the right thing to do and that they have the political support to do this.
We need to voice our support for this. We ask that you once again help us by showing your support. We really believe this is important, and very time sensitive.
Please send an email to Premier Redford, Ministers Horner and Griffiths, and each of our city councillors. We are a few mouse clicks or iPad taps away from a decision to invest in our future!
The Downtown Vibrancy Coalition is hosting a news conference to announce a campaign of support for the proposed arena and associated downtown revitalization projects, to take place on:
Date: Monday, May 6, 2013 Time: 12:00 noon Location: Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square (main lobby)
Launched by the Downtown Vibrancy Task Force (DVTF), the coalition is an emerging group of citizens, artists, community, and business leaders, who value downtown as the city’s cultural, social and economic hub. It ascribes to the motto: As goes your downtown, so goes your city.
Simon O’Byrne, chairperson of the DVTF, will host the press conference.
Membership in the Downtown Vibrancy Coalition is growing rapidly and already includes: The Downtown Edmonton Community League, University of Alberta, MacEwan University, Pixel Blue College, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, Credo Coffee, Blue Plate Diner, Startup Edmonton, Brian Webb Dance Company, and numerous companies and individuals.
The Downtown Vibrancy Task Force formed in 2010 after two hundred business and community leaders gathered at an economic forum and identified downtown revitalization as the city’s top priority.
ComFORT is over and we have had a few weeks to reflect. The event was nothing like what we expected, but it was everything we hoped for. Our forts looked different than we had imagined, the amount of furniture we were able to move around was much less than we had hoped for, although we feel the result was still charmingly quirky and cozy. Setting up the fort for the first time was a bit of an architectural exercise for us and it took a while to figure out exactly how to use our materials to their highest potential. After a couple attempts we quickly began to understand the materials intricacies and how they affected the lighting and space.
We were pleasantly overwhelmed with support and positive feedback from co-workers, pedestrians, businesses and media alike! If this taught me anything, it is that a simple idea can go a long way with little means. The largest force of change is definitely time, effort, and enthusiasm. At some point we realized that if one or two people get excited about something, it is fairly easy to get others excited too. Relating this to positive change in our city, a few loving citizens with unwavering faith in positive growth for Edmonton, influences many citizens to reassess their views. The more loving citizens a city has, the more amazing a city can become.
Another realization that we had is that it doesn’t take very much physical structure to create a place of pause or interaction for pedestrian traffic. We didn’t find it necessary to be technical about ensuring that the installations had four walls and a roof; rather we looked to design spaces that would hopefully bring people together and create a place of pause for the community, and this is exactly what happened. Edmontonians have proven themselves to be curious, open, friendly, people. Many individuals stopped to ask us what we’re doing or just stopped to relax, no explanation needed for why there is a couch in the middle of downtown! There was many encounters where a few strangers would all be sitting inside the fort together and began playing games or talking. And many residents spontaneously shared their views of the City. This is the conversation we were hoping to start! This is personal interaction and emotional connection that we crave from our cities.
Each day of the event the people taking part had completely unique reactions to our project. This speaks to the distinctive demographic and personality of smaller pockets in the Downtown Community. We hope that Edmontonians become interested in the strengths of each ‘pocket’ of downtown and use these as a springboard for making each area magical for its own unique people and places.
Something about this project garnered interest with ease from the community at large (including Kitchener Park). We’d love to see our friendly, creative citizens come up with some of their own spontaneous acts of love for their city to surprise and gratify this place we call home.
It’s great to see a renewed focus on residential towers in downtown Edmonton. A hole is being dug for the new 32 story Ultima Condominiums at 10238 – 103 Street and the developer Westrich Pacific is also contemplating a second condominium downtown called the Encore. As well Langham Developments, who built the Icon I and II, are planning two more condominium towers (Fox Towers) on the northwest corner of 104 Street and 102 Avenue. And just as Procura’s 237-suite Mayfair Village South begins renting out its units, the site is being prepared for the start of construction of phase II – Mayfair Village North.
Construction of the Ultima is just getting started, and construction of Mayfair Village South will begin shortly.
The City of Edmonton’s Capital City Downtown Plan focuses on increasing urban densification and envisions over 12,000 new residential units being added to the heart of the city over the next 35 years. The current residential population in downtown Edmonton is 12,200 (2012 census) so there is a potential that we could have over 40,000 people living downtown. The character and vitality of our downtown helps define us as a city. The addition of all these new residents to a downtown that already has 70,000 people working during the day makes for a more dynamic and vibrant downtown beyond just the normal 9 to 5.
Great news for downtown yesterday, as Intuit announced it is relocating to the new EPCOR Tower. Here’s a statement from Michael Hladun, site leader for Intuit in Edmonton:
It’s official, we are moving our 200-plus Edmonton-based employees downtown into the EPCOR Tower. Intuit Canada is thrilled to be part of Edmonton’s downtown development and we have chosen this site because it provides our employees with excellent access to on-site amenities, proximity to a multitude of downtown services, and excellent transit options. The EPCOR Tower is the first high-rise office space to be built in downtown Edmonton in over two decades. It is the landmark building on the Station Lands site, a 9.15 acre, mixed-use development site that brings together commercial, retail, residential and recreational space. The building is located within 600 feet of Edmonton City Hall, and near other attractions, such as Canada Place, the Citadel Theatre, the Edmonton Public Library, and the Art Gallery of Alberta. There are numerous shops, department stores, hotels, and eating establishments within walking distance, and the area is anticipated to continue to develop both in the near and long-term future. Inuit Canada, which is currently located on Roper Road in south-central Edmonton, will complete the move to EPCOR Tower in the fall of 2013. We have deep roots in Edmonton that stretch back over two decades, and we look forward to continue being an active, contributing citizen for years to come. We were named both the #8 best large company to work for in Canada in 2012, and one of the year’s top 50 Best Small to Medium sized employers in Canada. Intuit Canada is excited about this move to the city’s core because it will enable us to continue delivering an incredible employee experience, while putting us right in the heart of the downtown development.
Welcome to the new YEGDT.CA website! Over the last year or so, we have seen tremendous adoption of the “I HEART YEGDT” brand, and having an online home for that seems like a logical next step. This website grew out of a discussion that took place among members of EEDC’s Downtown Vibrancy Task Force. As a committee of ONEdmonton, the task force organized itself around two key themes: Clean & Safe, and Awareness. The Awareness subcommittee felt that a website devoted to what was happening downtown would be a useful resource for Edmontonians and a good way to raise the profile of downtown.
Currently this website features a blog, a calendar of upcoming downtown events, and links to resources that you might find valuable. Over time we’ll add new information, and hope to feature guest bloggers. If you’d like to submit a downtown-related article, please get in touch.