New infill approach helps older Edmonton neighbourhood maintain character: city

Watch above: The push for infill development in Edmonton is on, and one community is hoping to try something new without changing the character of what’s already there. Vinesh Pratap has more on what’s planned for the Prince Charles neighbourhood.

EDMONTON – The City of Edmonton hopes a new approach to infill, which is being tested out in a northwest Edmonton neighbourhood, will help maintain the character of some of the city’s older areas.

The Prince Charles neighbourhood, which is located south of Yellowhead Trail between 121 and 127 Streets, has already seen its share of infill development. But some residents have voiced concerns, saying the new homes are causing the mature neighbourhood to lose some of its original character.

“Right now they can build duplexes throughout the neighbourhood, which really isn’t becoming an attractive package for them, so they’re looking at other ways to do that and keep those character houses in place,” explained Ward 2 City Councillor Bev Esslinger.

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READ MORE: Residential infill a hot topic for many Edmontonians

On Wednesday, the city’s Executive Committee voted to move ahead with a pilot project that would allow for the development of garage or garden suites on any single detached home in the Prince Charles neighbourhood. Currently, the new approach to infill is only allowed on homes that sit on corner lots or border a park.

“We’re really excited about looking at new options to bring infill that [allows residents] to keep the character of their neighbourhood,” said Esslinger. “It allows people to stay in their home longer, have an income suite.”

While there is still some opposition, Markus Fluker, who lives in Prince Charles, thinks it’s a great idea.

“It’s exactly what these neighbourhoods need to encourage revitalization, rejuvenation, density for the city and building up the core.”

However, Fluker believes the pilot project could have been approved earlier.

“It’s a few years too late. It could have been thought of or initiated quite some time ago.”

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Mayor Don Iveson believes the pilot is exciting and could change the way Edmonton’s older neighbourhoods develop.

“It’s great that the neighbourhood has come forward, willing to be the guinea pig for this, actually,” he said.

“I think that if we have the opportunity to show that this can be successful, then that helps us move it along in other parts of the city.”

READ MORE: How should Edmonton grow? City seeks input on infill housing plan

According to the 2012 Municipal Census, 1,323 people live in Prince Charles. Of those, 74 per cent live in single detached homes.

Under the current bylaws, only one garage suite has been in approved in the neighbourhood.

With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News.

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