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City council mulls keeping Blatchford LRT station closed until neighbourhood fills out

Edmonton's Blatchford community, a carbon-neutral development, is pictured here on Oct. 31, 2022. Edmonton's Blatchford community, a carbon-neutral development, is pictured here on Oct. 31, 2022.

The new LRT line into the Blatchford neighbourhood on the former municipal airport lands in north Edmonton is nearly complete, but one of the two new stations slated for it likely won't be open for years to come.

The $330-million project extends the Metro LRT line past the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology into the neighbourhood that's been under development since August 2015. The city says the extension will open next year.

The line includes two new stations: a permanent NAIT platform that replaces the temporary one that's been in place since 2015 and the Blatchford Gate station further north.

Right now, there are about 50 homes in the community built on the site of the old City Centre Airport, which was closed in 2013. All of the residences sit on the opposite side of the neighbourhood from the new station. The first homeowners started moving into Blatchford three years ago.

Until there are more people living in the community, city councillor Ashley Salvador supports keeping the Blatchford Gates station closed.

"As we look to create opportunities for more ridership around the Blatchford gate station, I'll be following that closely," said Salvador, who represents Ward Métis in east-central Edmonton and is vice-chair of the executive committee that heard a public report Wednesday on options for operating the Metro Line to Blatchford.

"I think that the phasing of Blatchford can really play into that as well, ensuring that we are working hard to make those parcels (of land) surrounding the station available and activated as soon as possible. It's prime for transit-oriented development and in line with our city goals."

Opening just the new NAIT station would save the city about $2 million a year in operating costs, including money to keep the Blatchford Gate platform secure and in working order.

The Blatchford community's development manager says homes and other amenities near that station should be complete before the end of the decade. 

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