Greener development: Proactive planning preserves pure lands whereas creating new subdivisions

CBC’s Kory Siegers is spending time digging into tales identical to this one which discover points affecting neighbourhoods across the Anthony Henday ring highway. We might at all times love to listen to your concepts. You possibly can electronic mail us at or

When Fred Duke stands close to the horse corral of his 40-acre ranch, he can see the tidy backyards of recent properties in a southeast Edmonton subdivision, with fiftieth Avenue marking the road between rural and concrete. 

“An old German couple lived there,” mentioned Duke, gesturing towards a Walmart lower than a kilometre north of the property he has lived at for almost 50 years. “They just lived on that quarter-section and milked a few cows, had chickens and a little bit of grain.”

Rather a lot has modified in 50 years. Mill Woods was in its infancy and the now thriving group of Beaumont has simply 400 individuals. Even Duke’s ranch is now a part of the just lately authorized Meltwater neighbourhood positioned southeast of Ellerslie Highway and fiftieth Avenue.

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One other factor that has modified is town’s dedication to stability neighbourhood growth with the preservation of pure lands.

Comply with the Emerald Crescent

Contemplate the Emerald Crescent, a 10-kilometre stretch of parks, pure areas and faculty websites, linked by trails, constructed wetlands and wildlife passages to type a linked community of open area. Meltwater is likely one of the eight neighbourhoods that the Emerald Crescent passes by means of.

“A lot of times when we’re planning growth, we wait for industry — the development industry or proponents — to come forward with a plan. And we work through that plan with them,” mentioned Paul Foster, common supervisor with town’s City Development and Open House Technique Crew.

However on this case, town acted early. It bought about 32 hectares of land that was residence to probably the most invaluable wetlands and created an space construction plan that works round that panorama.

Town is planning for development across the metropolis’s largest wetland complicated. (David Bajer/CBC)

In some methods, the Emerald Crescent is sort of a small river valley, tucked away within the metropolis’s southeast.

“We’re essentially preserving this and creating another ravine-type amenity for people in this area that don’t have easy access to our ravine system elsewhere in the city,” Foster informed CBC Information.

Emerald Crescent is a serious characteristic of the Decoteau space, a rural area that’s anticipated over the subsequent 25 years or so to develop into residence to a different 75,000 individuals in 5 new neighbourhoods. 

Two neighbourhood construction plans have now been authorized by town, Meltwater, and Decoteau North.

Town was conscious of the world’s ecological significance. It is residence to Edmonton’s largest wetland complicated — that’s, a set of wetlands which are depending on one another. 

Town bought 32 hectares of land with a purpose to maintain onto among the areas most useful items of wetland. (Kory Siegers/CBC)

This complicated is linked to the Beaver Hills Biosphere and drains into the Irvine Creek and Blackmud Creek watersheds. Finally, it feeds into the North Saskatchewan River. 

“The Emerald Crescent and what we’re trying to achieve in Decoteau goes a long way,” Foster mentioned. 

“There’s a lot of elements [in the new city plan] in trying to be greener as we go as a city, reducing our GHG emissions, getting to a net-zero carbon. Maintaining the ecological — the existing natural features — is a great step in achieving that.”

Town additionally needs to create extra usable areas, by getting away from single-use park areas and exploring the concepts of multifunctional open areas that present each actions for individuals and environmental advantages. 

‘That is a whole lot of homes’

Duke has been using his horses right here for many years, and he nonetheless teaches just a few college students out of his massive using area which now overlooks the Walker neighbourhood. 

It makes him glad to know that town plans to protect the wetlands that again onto his land — property that, regardless of the various provides he is had through the years, he has no intention of promoting.

“Forty acres. That’s a lot of houses,” he mentioned.

“I tell them to get lost. Everybody thinks I’m crazy and I probably am,” 

Fred Duke moved onto his ranch about 50 years in the past. He has no plans to maneuver anytime quickly. (Kory Siegers/CBC)

Foster, in the meantime, is happy to see how the cautious planning of as we speak will create a greater future for individuals who will finally reside on this nook of town.

“I think it’s aspirational what we’re doing here,” he mentioned. “But I also think it’s achievable,” 

“I think we can really have a fantastic neighbourhood ecological system that respects the biodiversity of the area.”