The city is going to get into the community development corporation business. The goal is to take $10 million and a bunch of run down vacant city land, and turn it into something profitable.
Out of this decision, will come an arms-length volunteer board to develop vacant parcels of land, with some social training development as an add on to create small mom and pop shops, new modest infill homes, and train the unemployed in the process.
“The intent is that there’s some start up capital but once it gets up and self sustaining, it should run on its own.,” Mayor Don Iveson told reporters. “We’ve got partners putting in that money as well. So it ‘s not all on the city. It’s a broadly held community effort.”
Among the charities that are being mentioned are Homeward Trust, the United Way and the Edmonton Community Foundation. “I think the best case for it to go well is if we’re arms-length from it and we rely on the expertise of community leaders in business and community organizing to actually run this organization,” Iveson said.
Coun. Bryan Anderson raised one worry, about surplus school sites being part of the inventory of city land that would be considered. He tried to block that inclusion, but his motion lost 11-2.
“I don’t fundamentally agree that we should be taking that open green, treed, active playing field space and putting a range of housing on it, no matter affordable or appropriate it might be. We can’t get those spaces back,” Anderson said.
“I think that we’ll find, that when the rubber hits the road and that list of $10 million worth of land is made available, it won’t include surplus school sites.”
“I’m really disappointed that this issue keeps coming up,” said a frustrated Iveson, “when council has over and over made a series of decisions about surplus school sites.”