Exciting, innovative change for Jasper Place!

Anne Stevenson, a principal planner with the City of Edmonton, has spent the last two-and-a-half years with her team developing the Jasper Place Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) – a detailed 105-page document that sets out the vision for future growth and change in the neighbourhoods of Britannia Youngstown, Canora, Glenwood, and West Jasper Place.

Creating the plan was an intensive effort that involved almost a dozen community engagement sessions and extensive collaboration with multiple City departments.  Given the immensity of the project, it’s easy to understand the satisfaction Anne and her team felt when City Council adopted the plan on August 24, 2015.

“Developing the plan involved carefully balancing community feedback with technical studies of the area and existing City policies, such as The Way We Grow,” explains Anne. “Where all three of these core elements aligned, it was an easy win!  Next we focused on areas where two out of three factors aligned, and used that information to help guide the direction of the policies in the plan.”

One of Anne’s project hurdles came when community feedback and technical studies weren’t in full agreement with the direction in the City’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Guidelines. Both the community and the technical studies indicated that Jasper Place already had a high concentration of apartment units, but the TOD Guidelines recommended more apartment buildings along main roads near LRT stations.

Anne took these competing perspectives into consideration when drafting the ARP and, as a result, the final ARP recommends other types of housing in proximity to new LRT stations, such as row and skinny homes. This balance will increase housing diversity in Jasper Place, while still meeting the intent of the TOD Guidelines to provide more housing near transit.

An innovative approach to community outreach also helped Anne and her team get the best information about the needs of the community. Not only were there almost a dozen public engagement sessions, but the team was also present at a number of other community gatherings such as Big Bin events, community BBQs and Christmas Tea functions. This helped the team reach Jasper Place residents who may not have thought to attend one of the ARP public engagement sessions.

This new approach to consultation helped City staff learn from community members, and gave residents a better understanding of the ARP process and the reasons for the decisions that were made in the final plan.  Anne and her team extend their thanks to everyone who participated in the development of the plan. The time and energy contributed by community members was central to building a successful vision for the future of Jasper Place, and the Plan wouldn’t have happened without them.

Now that the plan has been approved, you may be wondering…what happens next? The ARP may be complete, but the City’s work is far from finished.

From left to right: Michaela Cochran city planner, Anne Stevenson principal planner, Wesley Andreas city planner.
From left to right: Michaela Cochran city planner, Anne Stevenson principal planner, Wesley Andreas city planner.

Michaela Cochran and Wesley Andreas, the planners who helped Anne along the journey are excited for the implementation to begin. To kickstart the implementation, a short video has been produced to help staff, residents and the development industry better understand the plan.

“Being 105 pages long, the plan isn’t exactly light reading,” explains Michaela. “The video helps turn complex policies in the plan into an engaging story about the future vision for Jasper Place”.

Michaela, Anne and Wesley hope this story will inspire property owners to come forward with new and exciting uses for their land that align with the plan. Achieving the plan will take time  –  it won’t happen overnight, or even in a year. Instead, the plan will guide incremental change over the next 15 to 20 years as Jasper Place becomes a more connected, vibrant and livable community than ever before. This will require continuing the effective communication between the City and the community; a strategy that the City of Edmonton plans to continue well into the future.

To learn more about the plan, visit edmonton.ca/jasperplacearp.