June 5, 2014 7:55 pm

Demolish Telus Field? City looking at all options for West Rossdale redevelopment

Watch above: It could be game over for Telus Field. The future of the long-standing ball park is being questioned, as the city looks at plans for the redevelopment of West Rossdale. Vinesh Pratap reports.

EDMONTON – The City of Edmonton is looking at several options as it works to redevelop the West Rossdale area, and one of those options includes the possibility of tearing down Telus Field.

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The goal of the city’s West Rossdale Urban Design Plan is to enhance the under-utilized area and position it as a gateway to downtown.

“The challenge of the plan was not only to create a residential community of approximately 2,000 units and a threshold population that would support local commercial, and then also some amenity features along the riverfront; but the development was also being asked to curate a number of regional-sized facilities, including the public realm improvements to 105 Street, to 97 Avenue, to Rossdale Road,” says Peter Ohm, with the City of Edmonton’s Urban Planning and Environment Department.

However, the project has run into a number of challenges, including high costs.

“In a nutshell, we haven’t got enough revenue to cover the cost of that development.”

If the land is redeveloped, the area that’s currently used for parking would be eaten up, which puts into question the future viability of Telus Field.

“In fact, that’s in our report, one of the questions we’re going to pose to council… because it could make a difference relative to the land it could make available to the pro forma for West Rossdale,” says Ohm.

“As it is right now, we do not have a tenant. And with the implementation of the West Rossdale Urban Design Plan we’re going to be taking all the surface parking away. And so, a tenant is going to be looking for some parking on that, so that is a bit of an issue for us to deal with.”

When the idea to redevelop West Rossdale was first brought forward a few years ago, Mayor Don Iveson says council knew the future of Telus Field would eventually come into question. And while no decisions have been made, Iveson says council has to start looking at its options.

“I think we’ve got to ask ourselves some questions about the long-term sustainability of that facility,” he says. “But that’s not a decision I’m going to make this afternoon. I think we need a lot more information, we need to hear from a lot more people before we would decide. But the question is out there and it’ll take us some time to answer it.”

Ohm says while Telus Field is a premier facility, the city needs to weigh the options of the future of the facility, the future of baseball in Edmonton, and the future of West Rossdale.

“There’s a lot of discussion about the future of the field and that’s why we’re going to ask council if we can dig into that.”

The topic of demolition will be discussed at next week’s city council meeting. Ohm says a full report will be presented to council in July.

Telus Field replaced John Ducey Park in 1995. Over the years it’s been home to the Edmonton Trappers, Edmonton Capitals and, currently, the Edmonton Prospects.

With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News. 

© Shaw Media, 2014

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