The petitions have been delivered and it appears likely that there will be a plebiscite deciding the future of the City Centre Airport lands on October 18. After a two-month long petition drive, the Envision Edmonton lobby group claim that they have collected the signatures needed to support a vote on the issue.
If the signatures are successfully validated by officials from the City Clerk’s Office, City Council will likely begin the process of creating a question that Edmontonians can vote on in the October 18 election.
As a citizen who has been involved in this debate for the past two years, I am looking forward to sharing why I support the redevelopment of the City Centre Airport lands and why I believe our City will benefit from this redevelopment.
If a plebiscite is held, it will be a heated debate with passionate Edmontonians on both sides presenting their arguments for and against the closure. Envision Edmonton has talked about turning the Airport into a hub for aviation training and industrial development. Unfortunately, their proposal has largely been overshadowed by a public feud between Envision spokesman Charles Allard and Mayor Stephen Mandel. I disagree with Mr. Allard’s position, but I recognize and respect that the Edmontonians participating in this debate want what they believe is best for our City.
A few months ago, I outlined some of the challenges and positive opportunities facing our downtown and urban core. Over the next two months I will expand on these ideas and the opportunities presented by redeveloping the City Centre Airport lands. We have a unique chance to do something that most similar mid-sized North American cities would envy. The benefits of new smart communities filled with residential and commercial development could reshape our City’s urban core for the positive. The chance to break away from the traditional urban sprawl and reshape the urban core makes me excited to call Edmonton home.
I was glad to read that former City Councillors Michael Phair and Patricia Mackenzie have also shared their optimism for the redevelopment. As the October 18 election approaches, I hope that Edmontonians will look beyond the short-term spin and participate in an honest and positive debate about how we want our City to grow in the coming decades.