'The next generation's city': Edmonton's urban plan encourages density over expansion
EDMONTON -- Edmonton city council has approved a new urban plan that will encourage more density as the population grows to two million.
"It's not my city we're building here, it's the next generation's city we're building here," said Ward 8 Coun. Ben Henderson.
Council has approved a plan that will encourage growth in Edmonton's existing boundary, rather than further expansion of city limits.
"It's really expensive to service a city where everyone's really spread out because, you know, the buses have to go farther, the pipes have to go farther for each household," said Bob Summers.
Summers is an Urban Planning Professor at the University of Alberta and he commends city staff for the plan he believes will satisfy most Edmontonians.
"It's going to lower the costs of running the city, and make it easier to get around, especially if you're not someone who drives everywhere," said Summers.
The plan looks ahead to when Edmonton is a city of two million. Half of the new residents will live inside the Anthony Henday, emphasizing the need for skinny homes, apartments and row housing. It also prevents certain sections of annexed land from being developed too soon, enough to turn off Ward 12 Coun. Mo Banga.
"New and old areas all need to be given full opportunity to develop. Unfortunately in this document, I don't see that," said Banga.
Advocates say the vision builds on a decision in June to remove minimum parking requirements for new developments.
"We're being very aggressive with a lot of new policies, and I think that will really help us in the long run," said Summers.
Mayor Don Iveson got emotional as council passed the new blueprint.
"Since I became mayor, all of this work has been for my kids. Because my key performance indicator is to build the kind of city that my kids will be proud to call home," said Iveson.
The plan is not fully approved yet. Cities and towns surrounding Edmonton need to evaluate it first since it will influence the region for decades to come.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson.