May, 2013 EFCL Planning & Development Report
By Bev Zubot
Planning Committee identifies the repurposing of Surplus School Sites and Preservation of Historic Sites in their 2013 work plan. The extent and type of involvement has yet to be determined.
The Light Efficient Community Policy for city streets and property is now complete and will be going to Council in the near future. The EFCL, along with the Light Efficient Community Coalition, played a major role in getting the city to consider developing a policy to reduce light pollution and energy consumption, while enhancing safety. David Gibbens and Bev Zubot represented EFCL on the advisory committee throughout the policy and information document, working alongside very knowledgeable city engineers, consultants, coalition members and city department staff. In addition to creating a progressive policy, this project forged positive working relationships and a pool of experts that we can turn to when communities raise street lighting or park lighting concerns.
The never ending text amendments to the Edmonton Zoning Bylaw continue. The EFCL’s Planning Committee was given a draft of a new low density zone which is to be applied in new neighbourhoods. The proposed Residential Mixed Density zone would require a mixture of low density housing types, from single family, to two-unit housing to row housing. The housing could be as high as three storeys.
A sub-group of the EFCL Planning Committee is going to be reviewing the new zone. We are hoping that leagues in new developing areas of the city will join us. For more information contact Bev.Zubot@efcl.org.
High density and medium density housing zone amendments appear to be on hold. We have asked the city to hold information and consultation sessions for leagues when they do decide to proceed with amendments. The draft amendments presented to Executive Committee of Council, November 19, 2012, introduced minimum densities to ensure the city meets its density targets, particularly in new neighbourhoods. The development industry opposed the minimum densities.
City decides to review the Bylaws for Eating and Drinking Establishments. The EFCL Planning Committee and Central Area Council encouraged Executive Committee of Council to support the Administration’s recommendation to review the relevant Zoning Bylaw and the business license bylaw. We are hoping that the amendments will prevent the morphing of restaurants into late night bars, and will properly evaluate parking requirements.
EFCL Planning Committee reps and league reps provide input to the Goods Movement Strategy. City Transportation is consulting the goods movement industry and leagues to help them development a strategy to improve goods movement in the city. The EFCL was invited to a day time April 10th workshop with industry people. Given the inability of most volunteers to attend day time events, we convinced the city to organize an evening session for league representatives. The EFCL advertised the event and helped find a community hall for the event.
Body Rub Centre Bylaw remains an important issue for the EFCL Planning Committee. The committee strongly believes that Body Rub Centres should be more than 100 m away from community halls, schools and other locations where children or vulnerable people congregate. It plans to prepare background information and a survey that will be distributed to leagues by email and at the AGM, May 29th. Bylaw amendments will be considered by Council on June 10th.
Sustainability Workshop, by Natural Step, April 5, 2013 was attended by Bev Zubot and Cora Shaw. We were taught a framework for talking about environmental sustainability and given a process for organizing neighbourhood sustainability teams to create action plans. We got a list of resources. We also learned some group facilitation methods and made lots of connections with Sustainable Development staff and Community Recreation Coordinators. If there are leagues who are interested in creating amazing sustainable communities, send them our way for resources, or link them up with any CRC that attended this session as well.
The Building Edmonton Together Learning Symposium, hosted by the City & UDI, was attended by Allan Bolstad as a panelist, and Bev Zubot as a guest. We gained some interesting insights.
Mayor Mandel, who gave the opening speech, sees Council as the promoters of development. He said it has only turned down two projects. Community Leagues, not Council, are the problem. Leagues oppose affordable housing in the inner city. They oppose seniors and don’t want them on surplus school sites. People are opposed to too much traffic for no good reason.
In the panel discussions, developers such as Jodie Wacko emphasized the importance of flexibility – all policy documents should be a living document. Allan Bolstad emphasized the importance of stability – the city should develop policies and regulations and stick to them so people know the rules and can depend on them.
Brad Kennedy, who owns a major architect firm, praised city staff for using their discretion to ignore outdated policies.
Tegan Martin-Drysdale of Redbrick Real Estate Services asked why EFCL was leaned on so much for engagement. She said the EFCL and its leagues do not represent everyone in the neighbourhood. Allan agreed that the leagues only represent their members, but the city tends to come to EFCL and the leagues for feedback. He noted that the EFCL and its leagues have some binding agreements, relative to consultation, and that leagues have been involved in civici engagement since their inception in 1917.
Ray Watkins did a slide show on the history of home designs. He emphasized the importance of trees, and regulations to require trees (whoa – a developer suggesting a regulation!) He showed a beautiful streetscape and then told us it was a trailer park. His point was that landscaping is as important as architectural design.
Tai Ziola, a young, upcoming architect, talked about changing arterial roads to quality places via complete streets, courtyard apartments and street level commercial uses.
Michael Walters from Petrolia Community League pitched a new vision for the abandoned Petrolia shopping centre, and got some developer inquiries.
EFCL considers Active Role with Bike Routes: Leagues have been complaining about the inadequate community consultation regarding bike lanes, and in some cases, discontent with the bike lanes. Although loss of parking is an issue for people residing along the routes, safety is the predominant community concern. Given the level of discontent, EFCL staff decided to explore how EFCL could assist in the development of welcomed, safe bike routes and infrastructure in neighbourhoods. Four potential roles for EFCL have been identified through a meeting with Transportation staff and Great Neighbourhoods.
Assistance with social marketing of bike infrastructure – promoting safety, community building, benefits of cycling (predominantly a city role)
Discuss safe bike route designs at the Transportation Safety Partnership Committee meetings (EFCL staff Allan Bolstad and Shahriyar Kahn are members of this committee)
Review Public Involvement Plans for bike routes (perhaps the EFCL Planning Committee could take on this role)
Hold a bike route design workshop with leagues, perhaps in the fall, sponsored by the City and the EFCL.