Last month I wrote about the decision to permanently close Northlands Coliseum at the end of this year. I expressed my concern for what may happen after the site goes dark and the effect it will have on the surrounding community. This is a concern that we all have here in Ward 7.
A report completed by Nichols Applied Management for City Council confirms exactly what I initially predicted: Not moving forward with redevelopment of the area will have serious, detrimental impacts on the surrounding community.
According to the report:
- The area will become derelict, resulting in a decrease in value of properties within a 1 km radius of the site in the order of 5% – 10%.
- A reduction in home values of $13,000 and $27,000.
- A loss of property taxes of between $435,000 and $870,000 annually.
And it doesn’t end there. The report also points out that the depression of property values would run contrary to various City of Edmonton initiatives, such as the revitalization of 118 Avenue ($25 million) and Borden Park ($15 million). Disuse of the area will undermine these initiatives and the potential of the Neighbourhood Renewal Project. In other words, initiatives with the express purpose to improve the quality of life in the area will be moot without a redevelopment plan for Northlands.
Despite these grim predictions, I still see the Northlands site as the most exciting area for potential redevelopment. There is plenty of space for medium and high density development in the area. Redevelopment will also assist the City in achieving its infill target inside City limits without disrupting developed neighbourhoods.
As City Councillor, it will be my priority to redevelop the site and help it realize its full potential. Together, we can flip the narrative of the Northlands site to be that of hope and vitality.