It’s pretty safe to say that a great deal of Edmonton’s financial, political and creative capital has been expended in downtown and new suburbs in the last 15 years. Edmonton has grown and changed a lot. It's exciting.
Meanwhile in older communities clear challenges have emerged. The roads and sidewalks are worsening, the drainage system struggles to handle new kinds of rainstorms, our commercial centres are sagging, and some of our schools are in danger of closing. And when seniors have to leave their homes there are no nearby homes for them to move to. They are forced to leave behind their communities.
In 2010, Mayor Mandel convened a taskforce, which lead to the Elevate Report, to address these and other challenges of aging neighbourhoods. This was largely inspired by the school closures in older communities as young families headed for more affordable housing in new suburbs.
While the Elevate Report, and the creation of the City of Edmonton’s Office of Great Neighbourhoods and their Neighbourhood Renewal Program hold promise, city council needs to focus more firmly on mature neighbourhoods.
If elected Ward 10 city councillor I intend to bring the renewal and viability of mature neighbourhoods back to the forefront, seriously.
There are 6 important ideas for mature neighbourhoods, ideas that will bring much-needed energy to these communities. I will work with the city administration and community leaders in mature neighbourhoods to:
- Strive to achieve the 1.5 % tax levy for neighbourhood renewal. This will continue to refurbish mature neighbourhoods roads, sidewalks and drainage infrastructure.
- Build and solidify partnerships between our city council, public and catholic school boards and the provincial government to ensure we are planning collaboratively.
- Build school sustainability and early learning partnerships that focus on keeping schools open and providing necessary early learning and childcare spaces in mature neighbourhoods.
- Develop a more aggressive infill housing strategy that is connected to school sustainability, the attraction of new families, and the retention of seniors in our communities.
- Develop a commercial district and retail vibrancy strategy, including creating land use amendments and tax incentives geared toward building improvements and new local business development.
- Build smart communities that enhance and protect green spaces and parks. We must build in energy efficiency and smart technology for all new infill and retrofit strategies for older homes in mature neighbourhoods.
Great cities are built on great neighbourhoods. I will ensure that the next city council is committed to the sustainability and viability of mature neighbourhoods in Edmonton. There is a lot the city can do to prevent the boom bust patterns in older communities. I am ready to get to work on these ideas on October 22nd.
With the support of the Muttart Foundation, Michael organized hundreds of citizens to lead the early renewal of 118th Avenue by eliminating 100s of slum houses and revitalizing commercial properties. Michael is currently leading the RE-Imagine Petrolia Mall Campaign in Greenfield, Royal Gardens and Aspen Gardens, in an effort to attract new investment and business to the community, like the recently opened No Frills grocery.