Infill development continues to progress in Edmonton but faces challenges

EDMONTON – As the City of Edmonton continues to evolve its policy for infill development, projects continue to pop up in mature neighbourhoods.

Plenty of development is happening in the southside neighbourhood of Ritchie.

Developers Doug Kelly and Matthew Kaprowy are working in the community. They’ve learned a lot about infill development since they started in the area. The most important aspect may be communication with neighbours, according to the duo.

“We make it a point of showing them our plans and what we propose,” explains Doug Kelly, a land consultant with Kirkland Homes. “We don’t always get agreement with them on what we’re proposing, but at least we make the effort to show them what we’re proposing.”

“It’s important off the get-go what input neighbours have and what they don’t in terms of what bylaws are already existing with the city, says Matthew Kaprowy, Kirkland President and general manager.

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READ MORE: Infill project feeling resistance from some Highlands residents

Communication can be critical in eliminating problems with neighbours before they arise, Kelly adds.

“If there issues with the fencing or issues with grading and so on, that’s attempted to be worked out with the neighbour ahead of time so that there are no surprises.”

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

Kelly is so serious about the importance of communication when it comes to infill development that he’s discussed the matter with city council.

“When an infill builder comes in with his application ask that builder evidence that he’s actually communicated with his neighbours,” says Kelly.

Stephanie Cordova has lived in the Glenora neighbourhood for nine years. While she generally supports infill, Cardova has concerns about several issues that can arise, including construction safety.

“I’ve seen a couple of properties that are currently in the process of getting built and there’s no fence around the property, and so when I walk my two young children to the playground it causes a bit of an alarm bell,” Cardova says.

Cardova believes infill developers must be held to a higher standard compared to those building homes in new suburban communities.

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READ MORE: Edmonton welcomes a new form of infill housing: ‘skinny homes’

The City of Edmonton says it’s working on improving the policy in areas like communication and the construction process.

While there are challenges that come with infill development, Doug Kelly and Matthew Kaprowy believe in its importance.

“We believe that there’s a trend, North American-wise, for more development in an inter-city, in mature areas,” says Kelly.

“I believe in this project. I believe that redevelopment, re-jentification, within in our city is important to keep the culture and to keep our city vibrant,” adds Kaprowy.

On Dec. 7th, a city committee will debate infill to determine what changes can be made to policy.

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