Public information sharing and engagement is required in every community where new forms of housing are to be developed on surplus school building sites.
As of 2015, there are nine sites around the city where the form of housing has not yet been determined. They have not been rezoned to allow housing construction, and the reserve designation has not yet been removed.
The City takes responsibility for sharing all available information and for listening to community concerns, questions and insights that will help make the development the best possible “fit” in the neighbourhood.
The community is invited to be fully engaged in sharing information and ideas with the City regarding how best to create new housing choices on these sites.
You can see the status of communication and engagement in your community. In general, the process is this:
1) Council discussion and direction
City Administration has been directed to ensure public engagement takes place between residents and housing proponents to ensure the fit of new homes in the community.
City Council directed administration in 2014 to place notification signs on all surplus school sites showing clearly the location and size of the building site, the adjacent open space, and other associated features.
A report will be presented to City Council with recommendations for the final form and type of housing for each site, after the public engagement process.
Rezoning the sites for some form of housing will include a public hearing at Council.
2) Information sharing
A Community Liaison Group has been created with community volunteers who serve to receive City updates and share information back to their communities as these projects develop.
The City’s project team determines each year which housing sites are next in line to be rezoned, based on technical, market and resource considerations. The first two pilot sites were determined by a draw.
The project team goes out to meet with the leadership in each community (such as housing advocates and associations, community league executives, homeowner association executives) to provide an overview of program rationale, information about possible housing forms and tenant groups, and possible timelines for initial soil testing and eventual development.
The team notes all questions, concerns and insights as well as suggestions for when and where a broader public meeting should be held. Stakeholder involvement will be sought throughout the rezoning process and all subsequent project phases, including design, pre-construction, during construction and post construction.
3) Public engagement
The first phase of engagement allows the City to learn more of the neighbourhood story. The project team hosts a public meeting to introduce the project to the community, share initial perceptions of neighbourhood needs, and gain preliminary community input.
The next phase is about idea generation. The project team works to gather more detailed information from the community and develop the broadest range of possible developments that might be considered for the site. If the community wishes the City to examine the possibility of relocating the development within the Joint Use Area, this will also be considered.
The top two or three development ideas are brought back to the community for further input, along with any recommendations regarding relocation of the site.
Community input and feedback help inform a final recommendation on the proposed development, and this recommendation is shared with the community.
The final step is to take the recommendation forward for City Council’s decision on future use of the site.
Anyone wishing to offers ideas for forms and types of housing on these sites may send an email to surplusschoolsites@edmonton.
All ideas will be evaluated with an understanding of the City’s long–term vision and strategic directions (The Way Ahead), community input through the engagement process and related housing policies.