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Urban sprawl will cost the city $1.2 billion in needed services according to a draft report making the rounds at City Hall.
Yet the mayor isn't buying it. He says logic behind the draft report is all wrong.
It points out costs for services like fire halls, police stations, libraries and the like, yet is silent on potential new tax revenue.
"Cities either grow or they die," Mandel said upon returning to his office after accompanying the Edmonton Symphony to New York.
"If you don't develop new residential areas, you don't develop new commercial and industrial areas. That business then leaves the city."
"How we continue to meet the obligations of the city, I'm not sure how you do that with out growth."
Many on council see the ability to grow in areas right now that are empty fields, without putting the city in fiscal trouble.
"The neighborhoods that we are building are denser and make more efficient use of infrastructure than they used to," said ward 10's Don Iveson in comparing new development now, with what was built in the 60's and 70's. "Still if we continue to build the way we're building today, then we've got some serious bills on our hands."
Councillor Ben Henderson agrees, saying more should be done to encourage infill.
"Can we at least make sure as more developments come on that we don't get half a neighborhood here and half a neighborhood there and then an expectation from people out there that they get the full services."
"That we can't afford."
Henderson wonders if a vote by city council in 2010 to complete 44 neighborhoods was a mistake.
A more comprehensive report that this draft is based on will be released in September, 2012. (lk, sj)
Letter to the Editor
Today's Journal front page story
"New Edmonton suburbs will cost another $1.2B: report ."
This story tries to interpret a draft document entitled City of Edmonton Growth Coordination Strategy (GCS), which UDI, the City and numerous other stakeholders have been developing since last June, with a final report not expected for Council until this fall.
This is a 90 page document, some parts complex in nature and scope, including an economic/financial considerations section which was only made available to the Working Committee some 10 plus days ago, which UDI has not yet completed a detailed review.
Certain people choose to give views and opinions to the reporter without having a macroeconomic understanding of the Report itself and Growth in the City. Examples: economic benefits of new communities, indirect economic benefits, detailed explanation that homeowners pay property taxes each and every year resulting in millions of dollars to the City while at the same time not explaining infrastructure capital costs are financed over a considerable timeframe and, what is the contribution to the City's tax base by industrial and commercial development? Does residential growth need to pay for itself? Transit doesn't pay for itself but the City supports it to achieve other objectives (i.e. sustainability, universal access). Might residential development be seen as an investment which supports our residents, industries and employers?
The article indicates the industry pays for "roads and sewers" but does not state that the industry also pays for the provision of water, the construction of storm water management facilities (including acting as a partner in bearing the financial risk associated implementing new City L.I.D. strategies), the provision (and relocation) of franchise utilities or cleanup of contaminated sites. In addition, the report in its present form does yet include Development Industry Infrastructure Costs, which it must. Another missing element was the disconnect that growth costs; the story made it seem that these costs would only be incurred in a suburban growth scenario which is false. You have additional costs with growth period.
UDI is fully committed to Growing Edmonton Together With the City, in brown and greenfield areas which both cost to develop.
UDI Greater Edmonton Chapter