#Yegdt Notes – November 6, 2013

Your downtown news and events listing is back! Thanks to everyone that was involved in or supported our events this summer and fall, including our Annual CornFest Membership Drive in September. We were also honoured to be part of the 2nd Annual Alberta Culture Days Kick-Off Block Party, and sponsor the Designing Downtown Pan-Canadian Pecha Kucha! Now back to the ‘notes’!


  • After much work and hundreds of volunteer hours we are pleased to finally host the Grand Opening Celebration of our new Downtown Community Hall! Join us next Friday, November 15, 7-11 for official presentations to open our new multi-purpose facility, live music, refreshments and a cash bar. Might even be some door prizes! See our new space and help us christen a new chapter in the growth of DECL and our downtown!
  • The third Downtown Arena Project Community Benefits Agreement took place this Monday evening. Part of the update for local stakeholders included a terms of reference for the Downtown Arena Advisory Committee whom will help manage concerns and issues in the Arena District. Oilers GM Patrick Laforge was on hand to provide an update – pile testing is complete and hoping for a March 2014 start to construction; CRL should be passed by the province by the end of 2013 with January 1, 2015 implementation; community rink supported by MacEwan University to programmed by the City and should include skate rentals; and new renderings of the Arena Entertainment District to be released soon. City Council to debate the Guaranteed Maximum Pricing (GMP) for the arena project later this month.
  • Speaking of Edmonton City Council, congratulations to our new Mayor, Don Iveson, and Ward 6 City Councillor Scott McKeen on their successful election bid! Scott is a previous DECL board member and part of EEDC’s Downtown Vibrancy Task Force, and Don Iveson lived in a loft downtown for several years before being elected to Council. We are pleased and excited to work with both ‘#yegdt lovers’ on downtown issues in the near future! Congrats to all of Edmonton’s new City Council!
  • Congrats to DECL Board Member Ian O’Donnell for being awarded Avenue Edmonton’s ‘Top 40 Under 40 2013‘ last week! Ian joins DECL President Chris Buyze who received the honour in 2010.
  • It’s gone from fall to winter in just a short few days. You know the holiday season is here when the annual Christmas on the Square Holiday Light-Up takes place and holiday sales start!
  • Media has been abuzz this week with the announcement of a 71-storey hotel and condo tower proposal just north of downtown at 101 Street and 105 Avenue. It would be the tallest building in Western Canada. There is quite a variety of opinion on the necessity of this tower, or questions about the ability of the applicant to successfully complete the project. “Downtown does not have a density problem” is one comment we’ve heard. Sustainable Planning publicly assured everyone that the application is in it’s infancy and there is plenty of time for feedback. We’d love to hear what you think of the proposal as we consider the application in the near future.
  • Omar Mouallem provided a troubling account of how the Molson/Crosstown proposal decision went down. A must read to understand how some of the City’s community consultation and decision making processes need to be improved.
  • Latitude 53 Gallery’s annual Schmoozy fundraiser gala is this Saturday, November 9, and the next Art Gallery of Alberta Refinery party is November 16
  • Remember – The City Market continues all winter in City Hall Saturdays, 9-3.
  • Fionn MacCool’s opened in Edmonton City Centre last week, and Cactus Club Cafe Jasper Avenue in the Devonian Building at 112 Street.


  • Last Friday’s River City Round-Up kicked off with the 23rd Annual Chili Cook-Off. This year’s set up was all outdoors on Churchill Square. The vibe was amazing due to great weather and how the event was organized. Every details was thought about – it looked great, lines went fast, heaters were provided everywhere, and the old-timey judging platform was a nice touch. Hope for something similar next year again – this is how you program Churchill Square well!


#Yegdt Notes – Feburary 13, 2013

Our City Council and administration have been busy the last few weeks. Thus, lots for us to report on (as our own busy renovation preparations preoccupy us!). We’re also making up for 2 weeks worth of news and events!


  • Alley of Light’s second annual IllumiNITE is this weekend! Join us on the 4th Street Promenade on Saturday and Sunday, 5-10 pm for light art, an ice bar, pop-up store, and more! After the success of last year’s festival, we are pleased to partner with this great winter event again this year. The weather this year plans to be much warmer!
  • DECL was pleased to receive our development and building permits last week for our new space! Renovations should commence in the next few weeks, fingers crossed for an early spring move-in!

    Job No 134911759-001: To change the Use from a Minor Eating and Drinking Establishment to a Community Recreation Services Use (Downtown Edmonton Community League).
    10040 – 103 STREET NW
    Plan 3136KS Blk 3 Lot 70

  • Also last week, the City released a report concerning potential downtown arena spin-off benefits. As much as $1 Billion in construction impact, $100m in extra taxes is the economic impact of the new downtown arena, says city economist John Rose.
  • There is much talk this week about bike infrastructure in our city. While the suburbs worry about losing parking due to construction of new bike lanes (which research suggests they shouldn’t), we are working with local organizations to advocate for quality dedicated bike lanes in the core. Join the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society, Oliver Community League and DECL on February 27 at Oliver Hall (10326 118 St) 7-9 pm for a discussion and workshop on creating better balance on our streets for all modalities.
  • There was also a surprise (and somewhat shocking!) suggestion from Council this week that the Rossdale Power Plant may be demolished if funding can’t be found to preserve it. We think Council needs to take more time to really consider if this is the best course of action. A beautiful heritage building of that caliber and quality does not come Credit union agent along often. Let’s repair the roof and stabilize the structure now, even if we can’t afford to convert into something useful right away. The building is special and deserves to be preserved.
  • The City released the names for the Potential LRT Network – Capital, Metro, Valley, Energy, and Festival lines. While there was some griping initially, there is an argument to why simpler is better.
  • The provincial government wants to know what people think of condo living. Take a survey on the future of the Alberta Condo Act until April 2.
  • Arts Habitat and Artists Urban Village is planning a 64-unit residence in the Quarters (the second major development to be announced). This will compliment the revitalization happening in the area and give more options for artists to stay close to our ‘arts & cultural district’
  • In case you missed it, the ‘shorter’ version of Dub Architect’s Bellamy Hill condo proposal was approved by Council on January 21.
  • Delnor Construction has been selected to complete renovations to Telus House, “Telus and ATB will band the building with a giant digital, high-resolution screen that will display corporate and community messages.”
  • Latitude 53’s second annual ‘Parka Patio Party‘ is coming up soon on February 23. Tickets are selling fast, join us for your last chance to experience Latitude’s rooftop patio before they move locations!
  • If you missed last Saturday’s inaugural ‘Mercer Collective, A Maker’s Market‘ in the Mercer Building, your next chance is March 16.
  • Omar Mouallem wrote a lovely piece on Edmonton. As we approach Valentine’s Day, he makes the case for why he’s in love with our city.
  • Speaking of Valentine’s Day, if you have no plans, the City has plans for you. ‘Disco Skate‘ takes place at City Hall, February 14, 4-7 pm.
  • What seemed like a bit of an ‘advertorial’ is really a story we should be telling more. The Long Island Pulse Magazine did a good job of highlighting the things we like about Edmonton.
  • Walk Score thinks downtown is tops: a ‘Walker’s Paradise‘. Close to amenities for sure, but some of our sidewalks need love!

As always, we’d love to hear from downtown residents your thoughts on these or any other issue. Drop us a line at my_decl@telus.net!

New Arena Conceptual Images

New downtown arena conceptual images were leaked today. Our initial reaction is that it addresses many of our fundamental concerns about good urban design at street level and pedestrian connectivity. Love or hate the ‘winter garden’, or pedway over 104 Avenue, this ‘extension’ of the arena and the use of glass in the building helps to soften the blow of such a structure. In fact, it is more that the arena itself swoops over the street rather than just a pedway for moving people. It has interesting possibilities, but we’re still not convinced (and many of our residents aren’t convinced) whether it’s entirely necessary.

The expected ancillary developments will be key to overall integration and for spurring activity. We are told we can expect a hotel, condos, office and retail – some in the first phase of development.

Moving the arena further west (along 104 Street) will allow for 102 Street to open north of 104 Avenue for limited vehicle access and mostly pedestrian activity. The proposed ‘community rink’ will look onto this street. Unfortunately, no word on when or if the Baccarat Casino will be left ‘as is’ in the first building phase or not.

104 Avenue could be redesigned to create better balance between vehicles and pedestrians and create that all-too-uncommon activity at street level people crave for our downtown and this project. Council has final say on the pedway element. With the current design, the architects have made it much harder for them to say ‘no’.

Rick Daviss, Executive Director for the Downtown Arena Project, will be our special guest at our Annual General Meeting. These images give you a preview of the presentation we will see on May 15.

Full schematic drawings will be presented to City Council on May 16 with public consultation happening shortly after.

More images are available on the City of Edmonton’s website: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/news/2012/new-arena-images-available.aspx