Planning Jasper Place – a first meeting of minds

 

This past evening, 20 individuals, residents and business owners from the communities of Glenwood, Canora, West Jasper Place and Britannia-Youngstown met at MacEwan University’s Jasper Place campus for the first meeting of the Jasper Place Area Redevelopment Plan “Evidence Team”. By the way, we’re all eager to an official confirmation as to whether or not the city is going to be purchasing the campus.

So what is an “Evidence Team”? Land-use CSI?

The overall objective is to create a shared and transparent source of evidence through collaboration between the City of Edmonton and Jasper Place community members through the creation of learning scenarios. The purpose of the learning scenarios is to understand the anticipated impacts of potential future development scenarios. These learning scenarios will be used to inform the drafting of ARP policy options and as a basis for technical studies in the second phase of the ARP process.

To break down the discussion from the last night:

What would you point out as signs of a healthy and vibrant Jasper Place?

Responses:

-Street life & complete streets – accessible to all modes of transportation with welcoming ground-floor retail and services.

-An influx of young families to preserve our community schools

-People, eyes on the street and feet on our sidewalks

-Densities that can support local business. Allow more Edmontonians to enjoy our location, amenities and connectivity with the rest of the city.

-Housing choice, to promote diversity and create options for residents at all stages of their lives.

-Destination of choice, a place residents want to stay for the long-term, or return to.

-Community of pride, where residents are proud and enthusiastic about the place they call home

-Adequate park and green space

-A feeling of safety and security

-Attractive facades

-Revitalization of empty/derelict sites

-Improved streetscapes

-Defined branding for the area

-Vibrant arts and culture

 

Some of these are the sorts of things that can be defined in a statutory land-use plan. Some are, hopefully, the end result of a successful plan that encourages certainty and reinvestment. Some are entirely in the hands of the community and it’s ability to see and partake in a vision for the area. And some are issues to be dealt with by existing tools or new ones which can be defined through this process.

So what are the definable metrics for success. How do you measure the state of community, it’s needs as well as the success of a community plan? A next step for the group is to define suitable indicators and metrics to be used. That create an informative, clear and transparent process as part of performance-based planning.

Population, density, square footage.

Attractiveness and quality of life

Another task for the group is in examining broader scenario’s for the future of these four communities. There are some past Council decisions and old policy in place for the area which is, in ways, contradictory to present policy – the municipal development, the residential infill guidelines & the transit oriented development guidelines. The status quo – transit oriented development with modest land-use changes – higher changes to the area’s built form. These are the scenarios which the team has been tasked with examining over the next while.

As for the team itself. One demographic lacking is that of parents with young families. So if that’s you, and you’re interested in taking part in helping to plan the future of Jasper Place, visit Edmonton.ca/JasperPlaceARP to get involved. As well, it’s important that all four communities are well represented, so if you’re a resident of Glenwood, please consider whether this is a process you’d be interested in contributing too.

More than just a great place to live, Jasper Place is uniquely situated as a gateway to downtown and the west-end. An ARP is just a start, a part of a future vision and while I’m exited to see how it develops, emotional and financial investment, community pride and volunteerism are going to play a large part in how these neighbourhoods develop and the way in which they’re perceived by investors, both on the business side and those looking for a place to call home. Without those, an ARP is just a planning document that may well not attract reinvestment or withstand the test of time.

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