EDMONTON – Owning a house in a new development is a dream for many would-be homeowners, but a new city report suggests that taxpayers in other parts of Edmonton will have to pick up a $1.4-billion tab for the development of three new neighbourhoods.
The report, which is going to executive committee this week, analyzed the expected costs to build three neighbourhoods over the next 50 years: Decoteau in the southeast, Riverview in the southwest and Horse Hills in the northeast.
The report said even with private developers spending $3.8 billion to build the neighbourhoods, the city will end up spending $10.6 billion on new infrastructure, as well as long-term maintenance and eventual renewal.
In addition to things such as roads, sidewalks, drainage and waste collection, here’s a list of anticipated infrastructure expenses:
- Three recreation centres, expected to be built when the neighbourhoods are about 50 per cent built-out
- Two libraries, to be built in two of the rec centres
- At least one new Edmonton Police Service divisional station, along with more police vehicles
- 396 hectares of park space (amenities like trails, playgrounds and facilities such as washrooms not included)
- Five fire stations
- A new Eco-Station in the northeast
- Three Edmonton Transit centres (The anticipated costs of expanding LRT were not included in the report.)
The city will make about $9.2 billion back in revenue from commercial and residential taxes, provincial and federal grants, user fees and utility distribution fees.
However, the city expects the projected cumulative shortfall to be $1.4 billion.
“Some of the comments I’ve heard is that some people think we shouldn’t give new neighbourhoods fire halls or rec centres,” Ward 2 Councillor Bev Esslinger said on Sunday.
“We’re committed to the quality of life for all neighbourhoods. I believe that we have to continually invest in that.”
In order to manage the shortfall, the report says the city needs to continue promoting greater residential density, be more effective in utilizing infrastructure, and grow the city’s industrial and commercial sectors.
The report does note that neighbourhoods are not expected to pay for themselves, and, “a residential neighbourhood is not a microcosm of the entire city and property taxes are not calculated on a neighbourhood basis.”
It’s expected the three new neighbourhoods will end up housing around 200,000 people.
The report will be presented to the city’s executive committee on Tuesday.
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