City Centre Redevelopment ReviewCity Council voted in July 2009 to implement a phased closure of the City Centre Airport after 18 months of study, analysis and public input.
Status quo was not an option:
- one of the runways would have required up to $10M in capital upgrades to remain operational
- other upgrades were estimated at up to $35M over the next 5-10 years
- revisiting the cap on passenger traffic would have incurred significant legal liabilities
These pages have more information:
- One runway has been closed, one runway remains open.
- The open runway can remain operational until Council determines the land is needed for redevelopment, based on market demand.
- Air ambulance services (mostly patient transfer) continue to operate at the City Centre Airport, and can do so for the foreseeable future.
In making their decision, Council requested an analysis of five main perspectives: historical importance, economic impact, market feasibility, medevac, and public consultation.
Council also discussed the potential of the land for the citizens of Edmonton. Redeveloping the land into a family-focused, residential/commercial community that will be a world leader in environmental, cosmopolitan development would benefit Edmonton by:
- helping rein in urban sprawl and create family-focused neighbourhoods in the heart of our city
- modelling an environmentally sustainable community where people can walk to their work, amenities, parks, recreation and services.
- eliminating height restrictions on development elsewhere in the downtown core.
- increasing revenue to the City over the long term (between $91M and $486M), which helps reduce the burden on taxpayers. The City received $1.1M in taxes annually from businesses on the land.
Council voted for a phased closure of the airport, over time, with the following considerations:
- Changes to medevac will only occur when Alberta Health Services has sufficient plans and facilities in place to ensure patient safety and undisrupted service.
- Emergency helicopters can land at Edmonton hospital helipads. The majority of air ambulance flights that land at the City Centre airport are fixed-wing aircraft that carry patients for medical appointments.
- The City will be the land developer and gain the revenue from the development and from business and property tax.
- The Edmonton Economic Development Corporation supports the closure of the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA) because the redevelopment of the ECCA land "is in the economic best interest of the city." Read more
- The City announced five finalists in an international design competition for the lands. Each received a $50,000 honorarium for further developing their proposals. The Perkins + Will team was selected in June 2011 to develop a master plan for the City Centre redevelopment.
- The public had several chances to review the design proposals before the winning team was selected. Further public consultation will help shape the final neighbourhood development.
- Remediation would have to occur regardless of future use of the land - as an airport or neighbourhood.
- From preliminary tests, which covered more than half the property, only three small areas may have limited environmental contamination.
Historical importance and preservation
- The City will incorporate our aviation heritage in the community development, such as with street and neighbourhood naming, and by using aviation facilities for museum space.
- The Aviation Museum is an integral part of our City’s heritage and the City aims to enhance the museum’s role and to advance the concept of a Mall of Museums on the site.
Information presented for analysis on use of the airport lands
The future of the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA) lands has been under renewed Council scrutiny since early 2008. Council and the Executive Committee requested and heard several administration reports outlining various challenges and opportunities associated with the airport lands. A public hearing in September 2008 led to a roadmap of review and a plan to analyze the challenges and opportunities from several perspectives.
On June 24, 2009, the ECCA Lands Impact Assessment Results report was presented to Council. This report includes the Legal Review of the Lease Agreements, the Net Revenue Return of Redevelopment, and attached several reports commissioned by consultants in several areas. These consultants' reports were presented also to the Executive Committee on June 24, 2009:
- Public Consultation;
- Land/Market Impact Assessment (24MB);
- Medevac Assessment;
- Historical Valuation; and
- Economic Impact Assessment
Following three days of public hearings in 2009 (June 24-26), Councillors asked follow-up questions to administration, the consultants and Edmonton Airports: Responses to Councillors' Questions:
The document is called Attachment 9 because it becomes the final attachment to the June 24 report.
The reports to the Executive Committee of Council from each phase of the airport review project, from June 2008 to June 2009, are linked at right. The Edmonton City Centre Airport Lands Impact Assessment Results report is available for download.
City Centre Airport lands review timeline
October 8, 2008, Executive Committee Meeting: Administration provided a “road map” of possible next steps and the summary of issues relating to the ECCA lands that are within the City’s authority. Council’s Executive Committee accepted this road map of next steps. The summary of the issues and next steps is in the October 2008 City Centre Airport Report on the right hand side.
- Edmonton Airports' analysis of how the current City Centre Airport aviation users could be accommodated at other facilities.
- Alberta Health's description of how medevac and health services could be provided.
- Feasibility assessments, including environmental considerations, of possible development concepts.
- Analysis of development opportunities and gains to the downtown.
- All legal considerations.
Executive Committee received an interim status report on these issues at the Public Hearing. At the hearing, members of the public provided their comments on issues related to the City Centre Airport.
This interim status report is available in the September 2008 City Centre Airport Report on the right hand side.
At the end of the hearing, Executive Committee directed Administration to return to the October 8, 2008 Executive Committee meeting with a report on possible next steps and a “road map” that outlines the use of the Edmonton City Centre Airport lands and how it fits into plans such as the Municipal Development Plan, Transportation Master Plan, the City Vision and the Capital Region Plan.
Administration was also directed to prepare a summary of issues raised at the public hearing that are within the City’s authority and report back at the October 8, 2008 Executive Committee meeting.
June 18, 2008: Airport Review City administration provided a report to Council on June 18, 2008, on the possibilities and challenges associated with the City-owned land leased to Edmonton Airports for the operation of the Edmonton City Centre Airport (previously known as the Municipal Airport). This report was a response to a request for information at a January 30, 2008 Council meeting.
The report summarizes land use potential and limitations, financial issues associated with the airport, and impact on development and City tax revenue in and around the airport. Several maps are included outlining the airport protection overlay in which building heights are limited, and potential development concepts.
The June 2008 City Centre Airport Report on the right hand side has all the information.
The report did not focus on flight services at the airport, since this is an area of authority and expertise managed by Edmonton Airports. The report did not recommend either closing the airport or expanding service.
For more information:
Office of the City Clerk
3rd floor, City Hall
1 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, AB T5J 2R7