A Proposed National Urban Park for Edmonton
The City of Edmonton is currently in discussion with Parks Canada, the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, the Métis Nation of Alberta, and the Government of Alberta about the potential for establishing a national urban park in the Edmonton area.
The National Urban Park Initiative is expected to be a multi-phase, multi-year project, with opportunities for public and stakeholder engagement at all stages. We are at the start of discussing what a national urban park could look like in the Edmonton area, and no decisions have yet been made to designate a national urban park.
Currently, the project is at the end of the pre-feasibility phase.
Outcomes of this phase include recommending a potential site, developing a park vision and exploring initial ideas on governance options. Discussions with project partners and City Council will determine whether to proceed from the pre-feasibility phase into future planning phases and park designation.
Update on Pre-Feasibility Phase - June 2023
During pre-feasibility, project partners explored their initial interests and support for a national urban park in the Edmonton area. Activities undertaken during the pre-feasibility phase included:
- Co-developing an engagement approach with Indigenous partners
- Identifying the study area(s) for the national urban park
- Conducting site-specific studies
- Exploring initial considerations for vision, boundary, and governance
- Conducting initial public, stakeholder and diversity and equity-focused engagement
This work is ongoing and will continue into the next phase of the project. Before proceeding to the planning phase, City Council will review the pre-feasibility outcomes and recommendations from City administration and will decide whether the City of Edmonton should continue as a partner in the project to further explore opportunities in the planning phase. Parks Canada will determine when the pre-feasibility phase is complete and planning is ready to begin, based on the support from partners and the progress of pre-feasibility activities.
A report to Urban Planning Committee on the pre-feasibility phase for the National Urban Park Initiative is scheduled for July 12, 2023.
The report is included in item 7.1 on the July 12, 2023, Urban Planning Committee agenda.
National Urban Park Pre-Feasibility Phase -
During the pre-feasibility phase, project partners identified the North Saskatchewan River Valley (the river valley) as the preferred study area for further consideration due to a high potential to meet the goals of the National Urban Park Program. The park boundary or the proposed location(s) within the river valley has not yet been determined.
Should the project proceed to the planning phase, partners will identify a proposed park boundary within the study area for further analysis and public engagement. The focus of this engagement will be to further evaluate the site and to understand potential impacts to the public, stakeholders and Indigenous communities.
Further work is needed to better understand the scope and scale of a site within the river valley, including phasing options, governance and initial funding opportunities. There is interest among project partners in working towards a long-term vision that includes the designation of the majority of the river valley in Edmonton as a national urban park.
However, given the extensive scale and complexity of the North Saskatchewan River valley and ravine system, partners are considering which areas within the system present the greatest opportunities and could therefore be prioritized as a potential first phase of a national urban park.
A national urban park in the river valley has the potential to simultaneously advance the goals of the National Urban Park Program and the vision and implementation of key City of Edmonton open space strategies and plans, including The City Plan, Breathe: Edmonton’s Green Network Strategy, the Ribbon of Green Strategic Plan, and site-specific master/concept plans.
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