Blatch­ford project on the right track

Edmonton Journal - - EDITORIAL -

Re. “More Gries­bach, no Blatch­ford please,” David Sta­ples, Oct. 6

David Sta­ples’ col­umn had some good ideas about re­de­vel­op­ing North­lands. How­ever, it was short-sighted about its as­sess­ment of the Blatch­ford project, in­clud­ing its cri­tique of the city act­ing as de­vel­oper.

Blatch­ford is an am­bi­tious project, how­ever its goals of en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial sus­tain­abil­ity are laud­able and timely. In the same way that Ed­mon­ton’s leadingedge waste treat­ment pro­ce­dures have at­tracted world­wide in­ter­est, Blatch­ford is al­ready be­ing watched closely by the global com­mu­nity.

While de­vel­op­ers are needed for typ­i­cal con­struc­tion projects, their prin­ci­pal man­date is to make a profit, not nec­es­sar­ily to cre­ate the com­mu­nity of the fu­ture.

Ur­ban sprawl is al­ready dam­ag­ing to the pock­et­book and health of city dwellers: Blatch­ford, Gries­bach and other infill projects are all greatly needed. Blatch­ford is too im­por­tant to be devel­oped pri­vately; it will put Ed­mon­ton on the map even more than its re­splen­dent river val­ley, fan­tas­tic fes­ti­vals and mega-mall.

The cost to tax­pay­ers will be much less than “hun­dreds of mil­lions,” and build­ing a medium-den­sity green com­mu­nity is well within the reach of our in­no­va­tive and in­spired cap­i­tal city. The first res­i­dents will be mov­ing in 2019, not un­rea­son­able given it was still an air­port a mere four years ago.

A great deal of work has been al­ready done at the site, dis­man­tling build­ings and in­stalling in­fra­struc­ture such as a district en­ergy heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tem. Res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion will com­mence in 2018 and con­tinue for the next 20 years.

Vic­tor Do­rian, Ed­mon­ton

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