Open house showcases possible Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre changes

The Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre as seen on January 21, 2018. Julia Wong/Global News

The wheels continue to turn on proposed changes to the Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre. An open house on Tuesday night invited neighbourhood residents to review and contribute ideas for the redevelopment.

While the company that manages the site, Morguard Investments Limited, has not put an application in to the city yet, they hope to introduce more official plans at some point this year.

Senior planner with the city Andrew McLellan was on hand, and said that it’s not unusual for an open house to be held before moving forward.

“They’re doing a consultation with the community before they even submit an application to the city. So we’re here just to be involved with the conversation right from the beginning,” he said. “So that when we do get an application and put it through our processing, we’re aware of everything that’s happened beforehand.”

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According to McLellan, the open house and subsequent application would only be the first of many steps necessary for the city to approve of a project this size.

READ MORE: Plans in the works to transform, revitalize Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre

He said the City of Edmonton would want to hold its own consultations, and continue to hear from the public.

“It’s really important that the city and the developer and the public are all talking to each other right from the beginning,” McLellan said.

“By being here today we’re able to make sure that happens and be part of the conversation.”

Senior vice president for Morguard Investments Limited Margaret Knowles agrees that the project must be a collaborative effort.

They see the shopping centre as an opportunity to grow with the city. As a transportation hub, it’s a sustainable location for retail growth, she said.

Knowles added that forums such as the open house are important to make sure development is heading in the right direction.

“Are we, with what we’re envisioning, meeting the objectives of the city in terms of their goals and their planning objectives,” she explained. “Coming back to transit, coming back to green development…this is kind of the way of the future.”

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READ MORE: Elevating Valley Line LRT in Bonnie Doon could quicken commutes but could be pricey: report

The company hopes to see the redevelopments get under way as soon as 2020, with more official announcements on progress expected in the next few months.

You can also expect more public events to ensure they are connecting with the residents of the Bonnie Doon area.

“In order to get inspiration for what the future of Bonnie Doon will be. We’re calling it “Connect Bonnie Doon”,” Knowles said.

“It’s the first in four stages of public meetings that we’ll be having to really get detailed input from folks who live here, as to what they’d like to see.”

Knowles added that the shopping centre would stay open during all renovations, and that they hope to keep as many of the current retailers as possible.

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