Task Force report aims to keep older neighbourhoods sustainable

 A city task force has come forward with recommendations to make our older areas more sustainable.

As Edmonton has grown over the years, suburban growth has been very strong, but it’s come at the expense of inner city neighbourhoods.

The task force has brought forward 9 recommendations to help keep older neighbourhoods vibrant.

One of the recommendations is to creating and support diversity in housing and business to attract different types of families.

New areas have a lot of features that attract new people but task force chair Michael Phair says there is a lot older neighbourhoods can offer.

“In mature communities you have house that have 3 and 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. You have schools that are there that have space for children. You got trees on your street you have a recreation centre, you have everything you need. But we don’t promote we don’t advertise mature neighbourhoods for families in any kind of way.

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Another suggestion is to keeping underutilized schools open by turning the buildings into community spaces which draws in more people.

“We’re optimistic that these kinds of conversations are going to create more effective ways to maximize the use of our school space,” says Edmonton Public School Board chair Dave Colburn, “and lessen the likelihood of school closures for schools in mature neighbourhoods.”

The focus is not to make it a competition of older areas verses new but about making sure both options are viable, by dealing with the realities some older areas are facing and that may mean change is needed. The mayor stresses people living in older areas have to be willing to change, as well.

“If you want to keep the same old thing the same old way, what you’re going to have is the same old thing. So, I think it’s really challenging our administration, the school board administration, and the communities to say ‘how can we be different’.”

Dave Von Bieker, who lives and works in the older Alberta Avenue neighbourhood, is encouraged by the plan and hopes the city plays off the strength of what mature communities can offer.

“What’s important I think is, if the city were to understand what the heart of that community is, and how do you preserve that.”

The full report can be seen below.

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