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City unveils early ideas for exhibition grounds
The city is discussing demolishing the former Northlands Coliseum and Northlands Park Racetrack and Casino to create a transit-oriented community.
An early vision for the exhibition land includes a civic hub or education building, an expansion of Borden Park, and “transit villages” on both sides of 118 Avenue.
“Transit-oriented development often correlates with towers, higher levels of development,” explained Lyall Brennies, the exhibition lands project manager. “In this instance, we're probably looking at something on a lower scale. More ground-oriented maybe walk-up apartments, townhomes, duplexes.”
Part of Wayne Gretzky Drive would be turned into an “urban boulevard,” meaning the north and southbound lanes would no longer split near the current coliseum site. The proposal also suggests moving the Coliseum LRT Station more north and creating a new train station on the southwest side of the site.
“Those stations would, we hope, catalyze or activate new community development—both retail commercial and residential.”
Last fall, Brennies’ team took four concepts to the community and stakeholders for feedback before coming up with the latest design.
“It'll be fundamentally different from what you see now on the site,” he said. “It's an opportunity to re-stitch or reconnect this community back to the larger community.”
Ward 7 Councillor Tony Caterina told CTV News his first impression is that the proposal lines up well with what the community wants.
“There’s been probably complete support. We’ve had a number of community groups that have been involved for the past year providing suggestions on what they’d like to see there,” Caterina said.
“We’re in the circumstance of have 160 acres in a prime location,” he added. “We have an opportunity now for us to really build a community that has been well thought out with all the amenities we can possibly think of right there.”
K-Days will be unaffected by the development for four to five years, according to the councillor, but will likely have to be reimagined as the project continues.
It’s too early to know when construction will start. Councillors will discuss the plan at City Hall next week.
With files from Nicole Weisberg