It’s not yet known how the future Blatchford neighbourhood will look and feel, but the City of Edmonton will soon begin prepping the site for the essentials you won’t see: underground utilities.
Earlier this year city council decided to put the redevelopment project on hold in order for the city to assess green energy options and funding, as well as give the city time to lobby the provincial and federal governments for funding for the highly anticipated carbon-neutral community at the site of the old City Centre Airport.
“Much about the Blatchford vision is ambitious, but perhaps the most ambitious element is the community’s energy goals. While City Council takes the time to complete its review of the options, we are glad to be able to continue work preparing the site,” Blatchford Redevelopment executive director Mark Hall said Friday in a news release.
Starting July 11, the city will begin to install parts of the storm and sanitary service connections in preparation for the first stage of development. The underground utility work is expected to take about five months.
“This is a shovel ready project, and starting to construct portions of the underground utilities means we are prepared to move quickly on the first stage of development once a renewable energy system is approved,” Hall stated.
The construction work starting this month includes inlets and outlets for the first of the two stormwater ponds, a storm sewer line to drain the stormwater pond, and sanitary sewer line to eventually link Stage 1 to existing sewer lines outside of the Blatchford site.
The Blatchford development is expected to house some 30,000 people once it is completed.
In addition to utility work, other work is happening on the site of the former municipal airport. Old runway material is being crushed to be used for future road construction, and old buildings are being taken apart. The materials will be sorted to see what can be recycled and reused.
The city said the next phase of environmental remediation work is also underway.
The original vision for Blatchford aimed for the neighbourhood to be carbon neutral and use 100 per cent renewable energy. A report on the development of the renewable energy utilities to help achieve that goal is due back to city council later this year.
With files from Phil Heidenreich, Global News