A bird’s eye view of the latest redevelopment plan for west Rossdale. The city presented its draft vision for the River Crossing area at an open house on May. 22, 2019.
Decades on, dreams of adding urban vibrancy to the flats on the north bank of the North Saskatchewan River are taking shape as the city zeros in on its vision for west Rossdale.The latest plans for the area, dubbed ‘River Crossing’, were presented at an open house attended by about 120 people last Wednesday, said senior city planner Erik Backstrom.The first push for developing density in this particular section of the river valley came in the 1980s. Headway has been hard to come by for a number of reasons, Backstrom said, but finally that’s on track to change.“People who are interested in this area want to see something happen,” he said in an interview Friday. “I think there is a bit of a hunger for action here.”The latest renderings showcase a hub of new housing, commercial streets and public spaces. Development would be staged over 20 to 30 years.
A rendering of commercial and residential development along 96 Avenue as proposed in the the latest redevelopment plan for west Rossdale. The city presented its draft vision for the River Crossing area at an open house on May. 22, 2019.
Housing will come in multi-residential buildings, a mix of low-rise (four to six storeys) and mid-rise (up to 15 storeys). The proposed concept calls for commercial development along 96 Avenue and 104 Street, as well as near Re/Max Field. The city is already seeking a long-term tenant to revitalize the ball park, having issued a request for proposals earlier this spring.A deep dive on the area’s historical significance provided a jumping off point for the business plan, Backstrom said. The concept includes green space for an interpretive park meant to highlight the area’s Indigenous and settler heritage, which will help maintain space between development and a burial site on the land.A plaza at the northeast end of the park is a possible location for a gondola stop, should the private effort to connect Whyte Avenue, Rossdale and downtown by sky succeed.
A rendering of a public park as proposed in the the latest redevelopment plan for west Rossdale. The city presented its draft vision for the River Crossing area at an open house on May. 22, 2019.
There is also a plan to maintain a portion of the Donald Ross School site as an open “buffer zone” between the existing quiet streets of low-density housing and future planned multi-residential and mixed-use buildings.The concept also envisions improving access to the river, in hopes of sating some of the appetite Edmontonians have demonstrated to get closer to water, as shown by the uptake of Accidental Beach. One of the renderings imagines turning the historic pumphouse next to the Rossdale Power Plant into a venue with a waterside patio.In August, planners will deliver their latest report, which will include a more detailed business case, to city council’s urban planning committee for a vote.From there, work can begin on one of several options to be funded with $9.7 million set aside in the 2019-2022 budget cycle, Backstrom said. Possibilities include engineering work to prepare for roadway changes, get going on affordable housing, beginning renovations on Rossdale Power Plant, or start work on the interpretive park.But a bigger decision — how the area will be developed and by whom — is still under consideration. A report due in November will give council more information about how projects like River Crossing or the Exhibition Lands should be managed, whether by leaving it up to private interests, or for the city to have some sort of firstname.lastname@example.org/paigeeparsons