Ahead of council discussion, Mayor releases his response to Northlands’ Vision 2020 plan
In a piece posted on his website Tuesday, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson outlined a motion he planned to bring forward to City Council Wednesday – in response to Northlands’ ambitious Vison 2020 plan.
The post sets the stage for a City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, where councillors will discuss proposals from Northlands, dubbed the Vision 2020 plan, to “re-imagine” the 160 acre site.
Plans include a major re-vamp of the arena, Rexall Place, transforming it into a recreation centre with six sheets of ice as the Northlands Ice Coliseum.
Other portions of the proposed plan include converting the Northlands Park Racetrack and Casino into an urban festival site, and renovating Hall D in the Edmonton Expo Centre into a 5,000 seat venue for a variety of events.
Northlands estimates the cost of re-vamping the entire property will be at $165 million, but a City report says administration pegs the cost at about $230 million.
The proposal also includes the City forgiving millions of dollars Northlands owes.
In his online post, Iveson said his motion “aims for a number of outcomes, including: taking immediate steps to secure long-term vitality for the surrounding communities, providing opportunities for Northlands to shift course toward sustainability, and securing a more prosperous future for Edmonton’s event, convention and tourism businesses by uniting convention centres.”
The mayor’s motions ask that City administration:
- Come up with a program statement and start preliminary designs to repurpose the arena into a multiplex
- Work with Northlands and the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, with input from the Alberta Government, to evaluate best practices for convention and event authorities and come up with a recommended model
- Create a report with Terms of Reference and cost estimates for a new Area Redevelopment Plan, with repurposing and development options for the horse barns and racetrack, and other surrounding land
- Grant a deferral on EXPO centre debt payments from Northlands, subject to their participation on the three other parts of the motion, and implementation of changes to their governance – a second year of deferral would also be contingent on the Northlands Board’s submission of a sustainable business plan by the end of June 2017
Iveson said he released the motions ahead of Wednesday’s meeting to allow Edmontonians, Northlands and stakeholders to provide input ahead of the meeting.