Northlands wants $30M pedway from LRT to Expo Centre
Watch above: As Northlands and the city try to figure out what the Northlands site will look like after the Oilers leave, council discussed a proposal to improve the Coliseum pedway.
EDMONTON – With the Edmonton Oilers scheduled to move to the new downtown arena for the 2016-2017 NHL season, Northlands is beginning to plan for a future without the NHL franchise at Rexall Place.
Northlands hopes part of that future will include an enclosed pedway, connecting the Coliseum LRT station to the Expo Centre. The organization is making its pitch to the city.
“A number of concerns we’ve heard from trade show and event organizers, hoteliers and other people involved is that the transition between the LRT and the Expo Centre in a non-climate controlled environment is a real detractor from bringing large scale events to the city,” says Mike Derbyshire, Northlands Executive Director of Operations.
Preliminary numbers show the pedway would cost about $30 million. Northlands is willing to cover some of the cost.
“We know it’s badly needed. It’s been badly needed for a long time, so that downtown hoteliers can support events out there more effectively with climate control, especially in the winter where there’s a lot of conventions happening,” explains Mayor Don Iveson.
However, before the concept turns into a reality, Mayor Iveson admits a lot of work must be done, primarily getting stakeholders like the Downtown Business Association and Edmonton Economic Development on-board.
“I think what the committee thought was if we’re going to go in and do a bunch of work on the station, let’s fix up the station. It’s almost 40 years old,” says Iveson.
“It’s got some site line issues. It’s not unsafe but, you know, it’s getting long in the tooth and it needs an upgrade, so let’s see if we can roll that in for a reasonable cost.”
Iveson believes an overall upgrade at the Coliseum LRT station could also help with redevelopment in the area surrounding the station, which would fall in line with the city’s overall infill and urban development initiative.
The pedway is part of a master plan Northlands is putting together that centers around the Expo Centre.
“Now that we have some clear direction with what’s happening with the Oilers, it allows us to hollistically look at the entire property moving forward, and we’re just starting on that work now as we get moving,” explains Derbyshire.
A report on the possible construction of the pedway is due in October.
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