Downtown residents might be seeing more green as the city looks into expropriating four parking lots.

Edmonton City Council is hoping to turn four parking lots in the downtown core into greenspace for residents.

The city hopes it will draw more people and believes it would add liveliness to the area.
“Expropriation has to be done for a legitimate public need,” Councilor Scott McKeen said. “I don’t know if needs is the right word but this is a public project and I think it’s critical to the vibrancy of downtown into the future.”

It is unclear what the greenspace would include.  “It could be anything from a soccer field to tennis courts to a playground for kids,” Chris Buyze from the downtown Edmonton community league said. “We hear from realtors, we hear from residents, people in the building industry and city administration that it’s really critical to have these amenities here for people to first consider living downtown and to be here for the long term.”

One Edmonton festival is behind the idea; Taste of Edmonton hopes to expand into the area as it outgrows its current space.

While parking downtown is profitable as the downtown core grows it opens up opportunity for more creative ideas.
“[It’s] no wonder in Edmonton we have so much surface parking downtown because it’s a windfall but it is lowest common denominator development.” McKeen said. Buyze adds, “With all the development we’re seeing in the Ice District we’re actually seeing more parking so what we’ll have in the end is more parking but it won’ t be on the surface, it will be underground.”

Administration is close to a deal with one of the lots, council will be asked to begin the expropriation process next week.
With files from Breanna Karstens-Smith