Blatchford - The City Must Not Be The Developer

Today, Mayoral Candidate Michael Oshry called for the City to step away from its role as lead developer of the Blatchford lands. 

It’s important that the development of Blatchford goes ahead effectively and efficiently, for many reasons:

  • This is more than 600 hectares of central City-owned land – our most significant infill site and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
  • Edmonton needs to become a more sustainable, compact city, minimizing urban sprawl as we grow
  • Tax revenue from the 12,000 households Blatchford could hold would go toward funding City services and programs that benefit all Edmontonians

This is City-owned land, but it’s become clear over the past 10 years that the City isn’t the developer we need to make this happen:

  • Repeated delays and missed targets
  • Rising costs (nearly $200 million), which impacts Edmonton households since we’re using public dollars
  • Only about two dozen homes have been built on this key site over the past 10 years

Stepping out of its role as lead developer and opening up to development to the private sector is the right decision for the City to make. It comes with many advantages:

  • The City can still maintain the existing environmental regulations and objectives
  • The City still owns the land, and would benefit financially from land sales at a time when we need revenue
  • Better risk management – taxpayers would be off the hook for costs associated with development
  • Accelerated development – the land will be put to appropriate use sooner, with millions of dollars in additional property tax revenue that can be invested in important municipal priorities 

Michael Oshry Quote:

“The City has to deliver on the goal of building an innovative and sustainable development that it committed to in its Blatchford Vision. This is a signature development project and the current pace of development is hurting our reputation as a city, slowing achievement of climate change goals and putting unnecessary financial risk on the citizens - smart leaders admit when something isn’t working and they change course to put things back on track.  It’s time to admit that the promise of Blatchford will only be realized if the City steps back.”