In a few years, you could see housing in places that until now you’d never imagine the possibility. Both Edmonton and Calgary are talking to the province about changes to the Municipal Government Act, that would open the door to have housing built on city owned land where other buildings already exist.
Rec centres, schools, libraries and even fire halls have been mentioned. “I happen to know about the example about fire halls and residences,” city manager Linda Cochrane told council’s executive committee. “There are from a number of perspectives and ramifications of that, so I don’t suggest that there’s no reason why we can’t do the same thing. We’d be happy to do some analysis.”
Mayor Don Iveson said the talks are still in their early stages.
“We asked explicitly in the MGA review and have raised it in the charter discussions as well for greater flexibility around mixed used developments on municipal reserve, and particularly opportunities on different kinds of innovative things on school sites above new schools that are being constructed,” he told reporters.
In the example of schools, Iveson said the previous funding model of P-3’s prevented additional uses, but that’s changing.
“Some things are going to lend themselves more to mixed uses than others, but traditionally we haven’t even looked at that and I think being open to the possibility is good but it’s not the panacea. It’s just one plank with in a larger strategy that’s going to require a lot of investment.”
Amendments to the MGA are expected later this spring during the current sitting at the Legislature.