Edmonton City Centre Airport Lands Master Plan Principles

A report went to City Council today outlining the vision and principles for development of the City Centre Airport lands.

The ECCA lands will be home to 30,000 Edmontonians living, working and learning in a sustainable community that uses 100% renewable energy, is carbon neutral, significantly reduces its ecological footprint, and empowers residents to pursue a range of sustainable lifestyle choices.

You can download the report here. A few of the highlights for me:

  • The challenge is to be experimental, not to wait for the perfect solution to arrive.
  • Common goal is defined by: design excellence, empowering people, reducing consumption, offering lifestyle options, innovating, measuring achievements.
  • Examples mentioned: Vastra Hamnen (Western Front), Malmo, and Hammarby Sjostad, Stockholm, both in Sweden, and One Planet Communities.
  • The goal is to achieve LEED Gold certification for all buildings, and to encourage LEED Platinum.
  • Under transportation: LRT is a focus, of course, but also “designs to discourage high speed traffic”, “bike paths and multi-use trails to provide fully connected routes”.
  • Technology is identified as a key component of the Master Plan: “A key to success in adapting new technologies will be the engagement of three major local players: EPCOR, the University of Alberta and NAIT.”
  • Our climate is highlighted: “It must be recognized that Edmonton has severe winter conditions, which bring their own challenges, but these need not stand in the way of achieving sustainable development.”

The report also highlights the historical significance of the lands, and states that the Master Plan must embody that through preservation, naming, interpretation, and designation:

  • Identify opportunities to re-use hangars as recreation facilities or other community facilities (e.g. farmers market).
  • Explore the idea of a “mall of museums” that would acknowledge the historical significance of structures such as Hangars 8 and 11 that are all on the Inventory of Historic Resources in Edmonton.
  • Acknowledge the history of the site through naming opportunities for thoroughfares, places and buildings that are associated with the past.

The Master Plan process will be guided by a new steering committee, and is broken into the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and Request for Proposals (RFP) phases. In the RFP stage, the City is looking for 3-5 proposals. Selection would be made by “an independent jury of distinguished professionals.” Excluding formal approvals by Council, the entire process is expected to take a year.

I think the report is a great first step, but there’s still a long way to go. In the background section, there are lots of specific targets, such as the One Planet principles that include “100% of power coming from renewable energy”, “98% reduction in solid landfill waste”, “82% reduction in CO2”, and “20% of materials manufactured on site”. The section that outlines the Master Plan is largely devoid of such targets, however. I found only a couple:

  • At least 20% of the housing units built must be affordable housing.
  • Achieve an overall density of 25 units per acre minimum.

To get an idea of what 25 units per acre looks like, check out this PDF (4 MB).

Council will be discussing the report today. You can watch or listen live online here.

3 thoughts on “Edmonton City Centre Airport Lands Master Plan Principles

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