Tomorrow, City Council will be discussing a series of proposals from Northlands to re-imagine the 160 acres it occupies in northeast Edmonton. In order to move forward I am recommending the following approach, in the form of a motion for Council to consider. It’s not typical practice to float motions ahead of a public hearing, but I wanted to provide the public, Northlands, and other stakeholders with opportunity to provide input on this motion as part of the hearing.
This motion aims for a number of outcomes, including: taking immediate steps to secure long-term vitality for the surrounding communities, providing opportunities for Northlands to shift course toward sustainability, and securing a more prosperous future for Edmonton’s event, convention and tourism businesses by uniting the convention centres.
Curious for your thoughts on the below:
- Prepare a program statement and begin preliminary design to repurpose the Coliseum into a multiplex arena, pending securing necessary consent from Edmonton Northlands (Northlands) and Edmonton Arena Corp. This work should consult with the public and user groups, and explore partnerships with interested hockey and other amateur sports organizations. Report back to Council in Q4 2016 with a proposed project scope and budget profile to advance detailed design.
- Work with Northlands and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), with input from the Government of Alberta, to build on existing studies and evaluate best practices for Convention & Event authorities, and bring a recommended model for integration of the Expo Centre and Shaw Conference Centre (and any other relevant public components) to maximize economic impact and community benefit – potentially under the management of Northlands, or EEDC, or under a new agency. Report back to Council Q1 2017.
- Bring forward a report with Terms of Reference and cost estimates for a new Area Redevelopment Plan, to address repurposing and development options for the horse barns and racetrack site, and any other surplus lands, with special regard to the interface with surrounding communities. Report back to Council Q4, 2016.
- Bring forward the necessary approvals required, as soon as practicable, to grant one year of deferral on EXPO centre debt payments from Northlands, subject to their participation in work outlined above, and subject to implementation of their governance reforms. That a further year of debt deferral be contingent on Northlands Board’s submission of a sustainable business plan to Council by June 30 of 2017. Report back on the recommended conditions and steps required at September 20, 2016 Council meeting.