Growing Responsibly

At both rural and urban doors,  I've been hearing residents who are concerned about the Strathcona County's development plans, specifically those for the Bremner area.  In theory, development is good and brings revenue to the tax base.  However, when you measure that up against the costs to build and maintain development, it may surprise you how long it takes to pay for itself.

Recently CBC Edmonton aired a 10 minute piece on the cost of urban sprawl...

It features Joe Minicozzi, a Principal with Urban3. Urban3 is a land use economics firm based out of Asheville, North Carolina.  Mr. Minicozzi has figured out these costs.  He suggests that communities need to figure out what the actual numbers are before deciding the responsible thing to do.  Think about police, firefighting, waste removal, libraries, parks, etc. and the cost of those municipal services.  Think about the multi millions of dollars it takes to maintain roads, sidewalks and sewers.

The City of Edmonton released a report done in 2011 called The Cost and Revenues of New Areas.  The report studied 17 neighbourhoods in the city and looked at the costs and revenues of each.  On average, over the course of 30 years, a neighbourhood costs $34 million more than it makes. Strathcona County needs to have these studies on best practises regarding urban planning and feasibility for our own specific areas. These need to come before Council in order for them to be able to do due diligence and make informed decisions on intelligent growth.

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commented 2013-10-10 08:54:36 -0600 · Flag
All great questions that residents must keep front and centre, ensuring that your elected officials embrace smart growth.
Key factors in the formula for success are: affordability, sustainability and Quality of Life!
Respecting our status of specialized municipality is all about balancing rural and urban needs, for the good of all citizens.
commented 2013-10-09 12:39:57 -0600 · Flag
I support intelligent growth – not just expansion based on the potential tax base and increased revenue but growth that considers the costs – as you have indicated – and the risks. What about the mature areas and the upgrades required for their aging infrastructure? What about maintenance and upkeep on public buildings we expect our community to frequent? What about maintaining what we have now instead of spreading our resources thinly over a larger urban area? Do we want to become a city? I asked before what of our “specialized municipality” status – do we really embrace that by plowing under all our prime agricultural land to squeeze in more strip malls and offices and zero lot units? Imagine if a solid wall contained our growth – would we knock it down and just keep expanding outward, no matter the consequences? Our community culture is based on our pride of heritage and collective respect for the county and its urban/rural composition. Responsible development is a must for a sustainable future – economically, socially, and environmentally.
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