Edmonton City Plan: Family Friendly Housing

With new district plans, it is essential that we work with all stakeholders to prioritize family-friendly, affordable housing close to schools, parks, playgrounds and amenities. I’ll continue to champion your voice for strong schools and strong communities.

From: https://trustee.michaeljanz.ca/welcoming_more_family_friendly_housing_at_the_future_michener_park_site

During my annual Results Review meeting (November 23rd, 2020), with Lansdowne Principal Janice Anderson, she specifically highlighted as part of her 2019-2020 school year challenges, increased community concern around school closure. Last year, Lansdowne School was significantly impacted by the loss of over 100 students as a result of the closing of the Pre-Kindergarten Program and the redesignation of students from Michener Park to various communities across the city of Edmonton.

It was with great interest that I've been following the renewal of the Michener park site (Just south of 51ave on 122nd street, between Malmo/Lansdowne neighbourhoods).

As Trustee, in my professional life with the EFCL (Live Local Strategy, or now called 15 minute communities in the new city planand in my own personal life as a father) I've been an advocate for family-friendly housing. Many of you supported helping get changes to legislation that allowed for adult-only buildings and reduced housing choices available for families. With the legislation changing, the next challenge is supply-side, and advocating for significantly more family-friendly housing choices, especially around our schools. Since we fought together for a moratorium on school closures in 2010, one of our key recommendations has been increasing affordable, family-friendly housing.

I have assured the community that, as their Trustee, I would communicate our hopes and our concerns as the University Land Trust proceeds with their planning. In collaboration with parent and community partners, I have written a letter and expressed a willingness to engage in conversation.

Parents and community members have conveyed to me that given the many wonderful schools, parks, transit, and shops nearby, the Michener park site is an excellent opportunity to welcome new families and align with the objectives of the new City of Edmonton City Plan. We have many incredible public education opportunities in the area surrounding South Campus that could welcome the increased enrollment of new students.

While I understand that the Land Trust is arm’s length from the U of A, as a proud alumni, former U of A Student Union President (2007-2008) and member of the Board of Governors (2007-2009) I participated in many exciting visioning exercises for south campus and the importance of providing family-friendly housing to attract graduate students and global talent to the university. As President Flanagan endeavors to attract 15,000 new international students to the University, I would posit, that there is still a significant gap in family-friendly housing, and the future-state of Michener Park could play a role in closing this gap. 

I have also included a letter from the Parent Association of Lansdowne Students.

As I know more, I will share more with you, but I would encourage you to get involved with your local Community League and advocate for your preferred solutions for the site. If you have ideas on how we can collaborate, please reach out to me at [email protected]

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Challenging the U of A: Leading with purpose in housing and land use planning

City Council recently approved a rezoning across the street from the U of A and it got me thinking about all the underutilized or unused space on the U of A main campus.

The expression I often hear at city hall is “highest and best use of city land” – in other words, land that brings benefit to the community (eg, a park or public space) or land that generates revenue for the city to offset taxes and pay for services (Industrial, commercial, residential in that order) 

But what if the University of Alberta could generate revenue and mitigate the housing and climate crisis? The university already has the vehicle: the U of A Properties Trust, an arms length development corporation that pays dividends back into the U of A through innovative developments and land leases.

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