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District Planning Update

Last week, City Council concluded hearing from over 100 speakers during a six day public hearing on District Planning. The District Policy and 14 out of the 15 district plans passed first and second readings with Council voting to advance them with some minor amendments.

Laying the Foundation for Growth

The new District Plans and District General Policy lay the foundation for where we can expect to see development, infrastructure and amenities as our City continues to grow. They provide a clearer picture of how we can expect Edmonton and our communities to change over time. The Policy and plans also identify where new infrastructure and service improvements, such as roadways, parks and transit, will be needed to support future, increased development.

You can think of District Plans as a zoomed in version of the City Plan that has more detailed maps and planning guidance.

When I compare these plans to the old plans that have been in place in Edmonton for years, I am convinced that this modernization represents a better direction.

We know how costly and damaging sprawl is for municipal finances. Growing in and up, instead of out, is a cornerstone of the City Plan and a critical part of course correcting the city’s long term fiscal health. District Plans are another tool that will help us get there.

In combination with our renewed Zoning Bylaw, Edmonton now has one of the most forward-thinking, housing-friendly planning regimes in North America. As we grow to a city of 2 million, this will help ensure we retain our relative housing affordability, while offering greater housing choice to current and future residents. In alignment with the City Plan, District Plans support greater options for housing, businesses, amenities and transportation across the city.

For Ward Métis, see the 118 Avenue (name amended to East Central) District Plan here, and the Southeast District Plan here.

While no plan is perfect, these plans deliver greater predictability, readability, and speed to our planning processes. Replacing our older, patchwork system of plans with district plans will facilitate a more efficient and streamlined development review process, which reduces barriers to housing and encourages business investment in our city.

I look forward to further refinements and subsequent direction to explore how we can further enhance opportunities for transit-oriented development, and density along nodes and corridors.

Next Steps

After amendments are made, the District Policy and the 14 plans will be sent to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board (EMRB) for approval under the Regional Evaluation Framework. This is a legislated process designed to ensure statutory plans and statutory plan amendments are consistent with the principles and policies of the growth plan. This process takes approximately two months.

The Policy and plans will then return to a regular City Council meeting in fall 2024 for third and final reading. If approved at this reading, the Policy and 14 plans will come into effect immediately.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this dialogue, spoke to Council, or emailed in their feedback. And thank you to the city staff who have been leading this work for years. City building is a collective effort, and it doesn't happen overnight. I am excited about the direction we are headed, and look forward to the City Plan vision for a healthy, urban, and climate resilient city coming to life over the coming years and decades.



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