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Plan proposes adding another 500K residents in infill as Edmonton grows to 2M

Click to play video: 'How much infill is too much?' How much infill is too much?
May 13: Concerns continue to be raised about the city's infill strategy. On Monday, a group of west Edmonton residents came to city hall to push back over a proposal near a future Valley Line west stop. Vinesh Pratap reports – May 13, 2019

An Edmonton of 2 million people will be designed to have half of them living in areas that are already developed. That means half of new residents will wind up living in the existing footprint of the city over the coming decades.

City council’s Urban Planning Committee reviewed Phase 3 of Edmonton’s City Plan Tuesday and heard that over the coming years, housing preferences will change.

“The market study that we commissioned definitely confirmed that the current preference for home buyers is a low-density, single detached house that’s ground-oriented,” said senior planner Kalen Anderson, who envisions more apartments — not just right now, but in the coming decades.

“That’s currently the consumer preference and over time, that could change. As it does we could respond to that.”

READ MORE: Edmonton prepares for population growth in City Plan

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Mayor Don Iveson said it’s been a long time coming.

“Ten years ago in our last plan, I brought forward the suggestion that we should be aiming for 50 per cent, and I was kind of laughed out council chambers at the time.”

He sees apartment nodes coming as the LRT expands.

“Your Bonnie Doon redevelopment is going to count towards that. Your Jasper Gate redevelopment is going to count towards that. As well as an individual garage suite on a single lot.”

The 50 per cent new target doubles down on the current 25 per cent infill target that was set by city council. Iveson credits buy in from business and developers to reaching the new goal as individual town centre hubs pop up away from downtown.

“There’ll be more walkable stuff nearby businesses and amenities that you can actually get to in a town-scale context in your neighborhood.”

Watch below (July 4): New numbers are shedding light on Edmonton’s real estate market and on Alberta’s population, which is a key driver of real estate activity. Vinesh Pratap reports.

Click to play video: 'New numbers shed light on new realities for Alberta’s population and real estate market' New numbers shed light on new realities for Alberta’s population and real estate market
New numbers shed light on new realities for Alberta’s population and real estate market – Jul 4, 2019

Also new in this latest iteration of the plan, is the revival of a bridge, spanning the North Saskatchewan, linking 87 Avenue. It was once the route for the west LRT, but the link that would head west past the Valley Zoo and through Buena Vista was abandoned for Stony Plain Road.

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“An extension across the river would deliver quite good demand between east and west,” Howaida Hassan, the general supervisor for transportation, told the committee. “The mass transit study did look at technology agnostic type of service, so we’re not pre-supposing the type of technology that would travel along that corridor.”

READ MORE: Edmonton Valley Line west extension stops and stations named

“That makes sense,” the mayor said. “That might not be built for another 20-30 years but to start to plan for it now, I mean, that’s what Edmontonians expect. We’re thinking out decades ahead.”

“I can see why an east-west connection at that location intuitively makes some sense to connect town centres to the university area and the town centres on the south side and then through that up into downtown — to give two routes into downtown through mass transit, including passing through the university,” Iveson said.

A third phase of the City Plan will be before the committee next spring, with the final version expected to be before city council in the fall of 2020.

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