Meeting Edmonton’s current and future needs
Ensuring there are housing options to meet the needs of everyone is a priority for the City of Edmonton. Edmonton is growing and transforming as more and more people move here to live and raise families.
City Council direction spearheaded strategies and initiatives to help meet current and future housing needs for all residents and all income levels. One approach will repurpose City-owned undeveloped building sites for housing. This will allow the city to grow “in” and help keep it compact, bring new families into existing communities and support sustainable and vibrant communities.
Undeveloped building sites
The Building Housing Choices initiative will see 17 undeveloped building sites (locations that were previously earmarked for a school but where a school has never been built) be repurposed for residential development as one way to provide Edmontonians with more housing choices.
Seventeen undeveloped building sites were placed on the City’s land inventory in 2009. Eight sites are being developed for seniors’ housing initiatives. The nine remaining undeveloped building sites are located in these communities through a comprehensive public engagement process.
The nine communities are:
- Henderson Estates
- Kiniski Gardens (South)
- La Perle (West)
- Ogilvie Ridge
This approach will help meet current and future housing needs for all residents at all income levels, and will provide opportunities for people to purchase a first home, older relatives and friends somewhere to age in place, as well as new housing possibilities, limited only by our collective imagination.
City Council has provided the following direction for future housing initiatives:
- Encourage 25% of citywide housing growth to take place in existing neighbourhoods to create new life, new opportunities and more choices in these neighbourhoods
- Use existing infrastructure (roads, utilities and drainage) when possible
- Secure opportunities that enable a wider range of housing options
- Include a mix of market and affordable housing to help Edmonton achieve its core strategy to attract and keep residents in an affordable and vibrant city.
City policy to guide the development of the 2009 undeveloped building sites
On July 7, 2015, City Council reviewed a report from Administration and approved a new policy that will guide residential development of the undeveloped building sites. It directs that future developments on the undeveloped building sites will include both market and affordable housing (indistinguishable from each other) and a density of 40 to 125 homes per net residential hectare.
Affordable Housing is rental or ownership housing that receives a capital or operating subsidy to make it available for long-term occupancy to households earning less than the median income.
The importance of housing options
Edmonton has experienced significant population growth in recent years with many newcomers attracted to the city from other parts of the province, the country and the world. The population is soaring, up 60,000 in just the two years 2012–2014. However, affording a home in Edmonton can be a challenge. Our city has a longstanding shortage of homes within financial reach of many young people, families and seniors.
For many, our city offers great job prospects and higher wages, while for others it has increased their inability to find housing due to higher rents and lower vacancy rates.
Average home prices have been reaching record highs. At the same time, Edmonton's rental vacancy rates are among the lowest in Canada.
The City is committed to providing more housing choices for everyone, and is repurposing undeveloped building sites to meet this goal.
The City recognizes that the new residential developments need to integrate well within the established communities. Discussions will take place with each of the nine communities with undeveloped building sites where a residential development has yet to be determined.