Sunday, January 1, 2017

FUNDING REDEVELOPMENT The infrastructure redevelopment of the Quarters Downtown area is funded through a Community Revitalization Levy (CRL). A CRL is a method of funding a project to improve a specific area that is approved by the Province of Alberta (COE 2015a). The City borrows the money to construct the infrastructure improvements to allow redevelopment to occur. For Phase I of the Quarters these improvements total $56 million including separation and increased capacity of sewer systems and the construction of the Armature. The Armature is the area along 96 St from Jasper Ave to 103A Ave which is the focus of this paper. The construction of the infrastructure improvements are done to support and spur on future development in the area. As the area develops, taxes are assessed based on the value of the development. Any additional revenues received from the additional development will pay back the money that was borrowed. The CRL will be in place for 20 years.



From: Julie Ali 
Date: Sun, Jan 1, 2017 at 9:06 PM
Subject: FUNDING REDEVELOPMENT
To: maryann.debrinski@edmonton.ca, city.auditor@edmonton.ca, bryan anderson <bryan.anderson@edmonton.ca>


Hi, 

Recently I read that the first "green" street opened in Edmonton called the Armature.

I looked at several articles about this project which seems to be part of a downtown revitalization project called the Quarters. 

I note that the project is funded through a CRL which is a way for the city to obtain funds from regular property taxes.  I don't quite see though how the allocation of regular property taxes will pay off the loan that is required to fund the revitalization project. In this case, the city of Edmonton has borrowed $56 million for phase 1 of the project which includes the green street. 

http://conf.tac-atc.ca/english/annualconference/tac2015/s12/foth.pdf

FUNDING REDEVELOPMENT The infrastructure redevelopment of the Quarters Downtown area is funded through a Community Revitalization Levy (CRL). A CRL is a method of funding a project to improve a specific area that is approved by the Province of Alberta (COE 2015a). The City borrows the money to construct the infrastructure improvements to allow redevelopment to occur. For Phase I of the Quarters these improvements total $56 million including separation and increased capacity of sewer systems and the construction of the Armature. The Armature is the area along 96 St from Jasper Ave to 103A Ave which is the focus of this paper. The construction of the infrastructure improvements are done to support and spur on future development in the area. As the area develops, taxes are assessed based on the value of the development. Any additional revenues received from the additional development will pay back the money that was borrowed. The CRL will be in place for 20 years. 
*****

I have a few questions regarding the Armature part of this project in terms of the debt being taken on by the city and the repayment of this debt.

1) This part of the project seems to have cost the city of Edmonton $56 million. I note in the Edmonton Journal article below that the cost seems to be considered much higher by citizens. Is this the total cost for the Armature? Is there any breakdown of the costs provided by the city to explain where the money was spent? 

What will be the total cost of the Quarters revitalization project? 

2) How is the city going to get the loan it took out paid for in 20 years when there seems to be very little redevelopment in this area? I believe that the city can't pay back the entire loan from simple CRL payments alone. I believe that the city requires new business development to pay off these loans. 

I note that there is a hotel and some YMCA buildings but not much else.We are also in a recession and I doubt that there will be major development for a while. How will the city of Edmonton pay back these debts when there is no new development in the revitalization area?

3) If there are insufficient investments leading to shortfalls in the debt payments where will the city get the money to pay back these loans?

4) Does the city auditor look at the CRLs for these projects and confirm to citizens that these are economically viable methods to pay for revitalization projects? In this particular case what sort of audit has been done on the progress to date?

5) Why is this called a green street when there seems to be very little green about it?  Would you not have a pedestrian and bike street for it to be called green? 

Thank you for your assistance in answering these questions.
Sincerely,
Julie Ali
             



Downtown Edmonton's first 'green street' opens to traffic

Published on: December 22, 2016 | Last Updated: December 22, 2016 9:12 AM MST
The Armature, a 4.5 block stretch along 96 Street from 103A Avenue to Jasper Avenue, is a pedestrian-oriented street and downtown Edmonton's first "green street".
The Armature, a 4.5 block stretch along 96 Street from 103A Avenue to Jasper Avenue, is a pedestrian-oriented street and downtown Edmonton's first "green street". LARRY WONG / POSTMEDIA
Edmontonians can now enjoy the city’s first ‘green street,’ which opened Wednesday.
The almost five-block stretch along 96 Street from Jasper Avenue to 103A Street uses special soil systems that are designed to capture rainfall. The water will be used to water trees and vegetation in the area.
The road, referred to as the Armature, is part of the Quarters Downtown revitalization project for the area. The opening marks an important milestone in the project which received $100 million from the city council.
“The Armature is a cornerstone of the Quarters Downtown revitalization and its completion signals great progress for this community,” said Mary Ann Debrinski, director of urban renewal.
The street is pedestrian-oriented with stone walkways and modern-style benches. Several bike stands have also been installed to encourage cyclists who have equal standing with automobiles on the shared road.
Jack Farrell has lived on the street for 22 years and has seen quite a few changes.
“They’ve really cleaned the street out. It looks really nice and I think it’s a great idea.”
The stretch is expected to be the heart of the Quarters Downtown, attracting development including the newly-opened Hyatt Place Hotel.
For now, the shiny glass hotel is one of the few new buildings on the street that is juxtaposed against several older heritage-like buildings, some of which have been torn down.

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The greenwashing here is ridiculous. A "green" street would be pedestrian-only and include park space, not remain open to cars and offer wall-to-wall pavement. Cities around the world are doing the former, and even they don't talk about their streets this way. This is embarrassing.
Your right. This street would have been an excellent oppurtunity to leave it as a pedestrian only zone. The roadway wasn't a major traffic artery, and as it has been closed to traffic for years, motorists have already found other routes in the area. One would have thought that a pedestrian only stretch of walkway would have been a 'no brainer' as a unique way to enhance development, but once again, especially as the roadway / streetscape is new and redesigned, but I guess that once again, common sense doesn't prevail.
Like · Reply · 3 · Dec 22, 2016 10:38am
Randy Kish Green is not always a no car zone, but then Edmonton is not Calgary, where we have Stephen Avenue mall where no cars are allowed unless they are service vehicles or Police.Ambulance, trash.
Like · Reply · Dec 22, 2016 12:21pm
Is city council actually proud of this for 100 million? What a waste of money in the name of Green.
Are they kidding?..what an eyesore!
Works at Self-Employed
100 million down the drain,for what?
Looks like the design was inspired by a lavatory.
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