I suppose every day is a ‘downtown day’ for me given that I both live and work here, but today felt especially downtown-focused. Of course the arena news was still fresh this morning and most people I came across throughout the day were talking about it. At lunch I was fortunate enough to be a guest of EEDC at the Downtown Business Association’s annual spring luncheon, where some City Centre Airport news was released. And this evening I joined Sharon at the Downtown Edmonton Community League’s annual general meeting.
The spring luncheon is one of two annual luncheons produced by the DBA. Held at The Westin, there was a packed house for the presentation of the DBA’s 2010 Annual Report. Jim Taylor, Executive Director of the DBA, highlighted some of the activities from the past year, and in what has become an annual tradition, presented the Downtown Beat Officers with a new bicycle.
All five finalists in the City Centre Redevelopment competition were present at the luncheon. Mayor Mandel couldn’t be there in person, so a pre-recorded video was played instead. In the video he referenced the “decision” made yesterday regarding the competition, which got a chuckle from everyone (because, of course, they couldn’t decide). Simon Farbrother took the stage and surprised us with the announcement that the list of five had been trimmed to three:
- Perkins + Will, Vancouver, B.C.
- Foster & Partners, London, U.K.
- KCAP Architects, Rotterdam, Netherlands
The final decision will be made by City Council on June 22.
Guests at the luncheon were also reminded that the Downtown Core Crew starts again next week. You can book the team of summer students for tours and other special events!
Tonight’s DECL AGM was held at the Yellowhead Brewery on 105 Street. It was fairly well attended for a community league AGM! President Chris Buyze presented his annual report highlighting a number of successes:
- On-going community events such as Al Fresco, CornFest, and the first annual EFCL Day.
- The completion and passing of the new Capital City Downtown Plan in July 2010 (with the zoning portion passing in December 2010). Chris had personally been involved in consultations for more than 5 years!
- Participation in various downtown and city-wide issues and initiatives, such as the ONEdmonton Downtown Vibrancy Task Force and the Jasper Avenue Hospitality Committee.
- Embracing social media to connect with residents!
Chris also highlighted a couple of challenges that DECL met, including conveying concerns with the proposed downtown arena and the development of a new 2-year strategic plan.
There were also two presentations this evening. We received a brief update on the Alley of Light project, and Alex Abboud talked about Homeward Trust and the work that they are doing in our community. Watch for a new Homeward Trust website next month, and check out Find Furnishing Hope, a social enterprise offering quality, low-cost previously used furniture located at 5120 122 Street.
There was also the official business of the AGM this evening, with a few board members moving on and a few new faces joining the board: Scott McKeen, Sharon Yeo, and Sebastian Hanlon. Questions and discussion covered the arena, the intersection at 105 Street & 104 Avenue, and electronic signs and billboards downtown. We also took a quick trip outside to look at Scott Property where hopefully a park will be built before long!