Vibrant neighbourhoods and fairness for our mature neighbourhoods. These two commitments were a major part of my campaign platform and they continue to shape my decisions and actions as your Ward 10 representative. We have great neighbourhoods in Ward 10, but many of them, like Lansdowne have been neglected as capital investment has largely been concentrated within our downtown or new suburban neighbourhoods.
At yesterday’s Public Hearing, Council was presented with an application to allow for the operation of a small-scale dental office in a residential property in Lansdowne. Council heard from proponents and opponents of the rezoning application, which enabled us to base our decision on the viewpoints of community members as well as the alignment with City Council’s vision and the Edmonton Zoning Bylaw.
After reviewing all of the information, and contemplating both sides, I voted in support of the rezoning application in Lansdowne for the following reasons:
1. While speaking with community members on the campaign trail last year, I heard time and time again from many Ward 10 residents about the desire to live and shop more locally; this is a trend that is not unique to Ward 10’s mature neighbourhoods, but is desired in the City of Edmonton in general. I saw this application as an opportunity to address this desire by providing the community of Lansdowne with an essential service within walking distance.
2. Mixed use zoning is what we’re trying to move toward as a city. By providing opportunities for neighbourhoods to house not only people, but also local businesses, it helps facilitate the process of turning an average neighbourhood into a great neighbourhood. In the long run, this will enable our communities to become more vibrant. Additionally, our city, along with its mature neighbourhoods, will become more fiscally sustainable through the promotion of mixed use developments.
3. I believe the application, as well as the activities leading up to today’s public hearing, properly addressed the concerns of community members.
- There will be no significant increase in traffic. The dental office will add about 30-40 car trips per day in a neighbourhood that experiences well over 3600 car trips a day; 30-40 car trips a day is equivalent to one car roughly every 15 minutes over the course of a typical 9-5 business day.
- This rezoning will not set a precedent as it on the edge of the community - not in the middle - and other residential homes, particularly mid block, will not be considered for this type of use.
- We have worked with planners and concerned residents to ensure that the the Personal Services Use from the DC2 (Direct Control) zoning was eliminated from the application; this prevents businesses such as Body Rub Centres from setting up in the community, which was a concern of some residents in Lansdowne. This type of service was in fact permitted under the original RF1 single family zone via the discretionary Major Home Based Business use.
- While many people thought that a service such as a dental office should operate out of Landsdowne Mall, after much effort the applicant determined this was not a possibility for the business he wishes to operate, which is well within his rights.
- Some residents raised concerns about the impact of this re-zoning on the aging infrastructure in the community. However, Lansdowne is up for Drainage Neighbourhood Renewal in 2015, and full Neighbourhood Renewal between 2015-2018 which will add to the capacity, longevity, and performance of the infrastructure.
For these reasons, I believe that this re-zoning will contribute to the long-term sustainability and vibrancy of Lansdowne by providing the community with a local service that is walkable and accessible, and will not impact Lansdowne in a negative way. If anything, Lansdowne will benefit.
Great cities are built on their great neighbourhoods, and part of any great neighbourhood are thriving local businesses and services. I am passionate, and will remain passionate, about growing the amenities that serve our neighbourhoods which contribute to a higher quality of life.