SCNC Withdraws from the Michener Park Focus Group

Friday, October 04, 2013 2:46 PM | Cory Doll (Administrator)

Attached is a media release followed by the message emailed to the University of Alberta on October 4th announcing the SCNC's withdrawal from the Michener Park Focus Group. A related Edmonton Journal Article is here, with a follow up article here


South Campus Neighbourhoods Withdraw from Michener Park Redevelopment Consultations


On Friday, the South Campus Neighbourhood Coalition (SCNC) representing the neighbourhoods of Aspen Gardens/Westbrook, Belgravia, Grandview, Lansdowne, Lendrum, Malmo, McKernan, and Parkallen withdrew from future ‘consultation’ meetings with the University related to re-development of the Michener Park Sector Plan. This decision is directly related to unaddressed concerns about uncoordinated planning and development stemming from the university’s proposal to lease 1/3 of the Michener Park land to private developers.

 

The University of Alberta is currently working to re-develop their Michener Park adult residences. In order to help pay for the re-development, the University plans to lease two large parcels of landto private developers. This downloads planning responsibility to an unconnected city process, similar to the adjacent and controversial Westcorp land lease.

 

"We are concerned by the logistics of having three independent planning initiatives separately guided by city and university processes said SCNC Michener Sub-committee Chair and Malmo Community League President - Cory Doll. "We are not comfortable in providing input on one aspect of this development without better understanding the cumulative impacts from the development of the leased lands”. Governed by the Post-Secondary Learning Act, the University is not guided by city planning processes and has a reduced duty to consult. Senior university officials have denied a request by the SCNC to further discuss coordinated planning options.

With reduced provincial funds available to the University, the SCNC is also concerned about the broader impacts that this ‘lease to build’ approach could have throughout South Campus and University lands and beyond. "At about 600 acres, South Campus lands are about the same size as the City Centre Airport lands. We are concerned about the negative impacts that an uncoordinated patchwork approach to development on such large parcel of land in the heart of the city will have on our communities and the city. If planned and developed appropriately, the South Campus provides an amazing opportunity for Edmonton that could result in a leading-edge campus and a significant increase in access to amenities that work for the surrounding neighbourhoods and the city", said SCNC Chair Anish Neupane.

The SCNC is advocating for a coordinated planning solution in Michener Park, and is exploring the potential for better coordination such as a community plan and community engagement charter to guide elements of city and university development within the Greater South Campus area. Initiated in September 2010, the SCNC is supported by formal resolution of community leagues from Aspen Gardens/Westbrook, Belgravia, Grandview, Lansdowne, Lendrum, Malmo, McKernan, and Parkallen.

 

_____________________________


Dear Emily

 

Members of the SCNC Michener Park Sub-Committee including all Malmo, Lendrum and Lansdowne representatives have unanimously decided to withdraw from the Michener Park Focus Group Meetings. This decision is supported by the SCNC Executive. Our primary concern continues to be centered around the un-coordinated development that the proposed land leases will initiate. We do not see the focus group as an empowered or appropriate venue to work towards the resolution of this significant issue.

 

We are concerned by the logistics of having three separate planning initiatives separately guided by city and university processes. We are not comfortable in providing input on one aspect of this development without better understanding the cumulative impacts resulting from the development of the leased lands. Informed by our recent experience with your adjacent land lease on the Golflands with Westcorp, we are concerned about the collective result of postage stamp planning and development in Malmo, and beyond. Finally, we are disappointed by the refusal of Debra Osburn and Don Hickey [U of A VPs] to discuss opportunities for more coordinated planning.

 

Once we feel that our concerns about uncoordinated development within the current Michener Park Sector Plan are being meaningfully addressed we can resume our involvement with the focus group. Until then, the SCNC will openly and assertively work towards enabling a coordinated planning process. We look forward to exploring opportunities with the University to achieve this.

 

The Michener Park Residence Association may still be interested in attending this focus group meeting. If so, I suggest that you follow up with them to confirm a meeting location.

 

Sincerely,

 

Cory Doll

Chair, SCNC Michener Park Sub-Committee
President, Malmo Community League


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