#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