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  • If they won't join, BEAT 'EM

    I am so glad I had a chance to meet Mandel. He is excellent for this city, and this is exactly why. For years, I've written people to say stop whining and get out there and attract the big businesses here instead of waiting for the sharing/co-operation bit to appear.

    So, here it is. Be warned Strathcona County et al...this is not a shot across the bow - we're aiming amidships. You poked the sleeping bear Mayor Olesen, so now we are awake.

    Originally posted by Edmonton Journal
    City plans to battle the 'burbs for big industry
    At stake: crucial taxes for regional services

    Scott McKeen
    The Edmonton Journal


    Wednesday, April 26, 2006


    EDMONTON - Excuse me while I jump out of my seat, pump my fist in the air and cheer like a hayseed homer.

    What? The Oilers? No Morley, not the Oilers. We're talking city council for a moment. You know, the politicians you elect every three years to fix potholes and ruminate over drainage infrastructure.

    Mayor Stephen Mandel will reveal a civic-style power play at his state-of-the-city speech Thursday. It is guaranteed to cause the sheets to flap in every bedroom community around Edmonton.

    The mayor, I'm told, will serve notice of Edmonton's intent to compete in an arena where it has long stood passively as a whining spectator. Word around city hall is that council is developing a massive strategy to attract big industrial players to Edmonton. Not the Edmonton region -- Edmonton.

    You say: So what? Well, as it stands today, about half of the region's industrial complex sits outside Edmonton borders. So 30 per cent of the metro population enjoys more than its share of taxes from industry.

    At the same time, Edmonton pays the bill for numerous facilities that serve the region, including the commuter freeways enjoyed by non-resident Edmonton workers. You hockey fans might appreciate another example: the $2.5-million annual tax subsidy of the Oilers' lease at Rexall Place, borne solely by Edmontonians.

    More concerning, perhaps, is that Edmonton is stuck with the majority of costs for this region's social safety net.

    U of A political scientist Jim Lightbody's research reveals that 74 per cent of the metro area's aboriginal population and 87 per cent of its immigrants live in Edmonton.

    With them comes greater demand for affordable housing -- 90 per cent of the region's rental units are in Edmonton -- medical care, public transit and social services.

    At the same time, Edmonton's growth has been considerably lower than that of the region in the past decade or so. What Lightbody's research indicates, then, is a flight of middle-class taxpayers to the lily white 'burbs of Sherwood Park, St. Albert and the like.

    You say: So what? Well, aside from philosophical questions about civic duty -- of sharing the costs of regional challenges -- the more practical issue is that of sustaining Edmonton's facilities and services. Outlying communities often forget this reality: As Edmonton goes, so goes the region.

    Yes, regional disparity is an age-old issue. Edmonton politicians have whined for years about it. Why didn't they do something? They waited on the provincial government, which has dominion over municipalities.

    Any move to equalize taxation in the region, to join or amalgamate civic services, must be done by the province. To date, the Klein government has shown no interest.

    So credit Mandel and his councillors for deciding to stand up and compete, instead of wringing their hands. The industrial strategy couldn't come at a more opportune time. Roughly $25 billion in industrial projects are planned for the Edmonton region in the next decade.

    So instead of watching such complexes locate as usual in Strathcona, Sturgeon or Leduc counties, Edmonton will attempt to lure the big taxpayers inside city boundaries.

    City hall is considering the establishment of a large industrial park in the far reaches of the city's northeast. This essentially rural area is removed from existing residential communities, but close to rail, road and river. And it would be relatively easy to reach with an LRT extension, to whisk workers to and from the job site.

    The city also feels it can be more attractive on the tax front than the counties. But such details are being worked on as we speak.

    The plan itself is compelling. But so is the symbolism. It signals this city council won't wait around for the region to come to the table. Edmonton wants in the game.

    In many ways, Edmonton's regional "partners" forced the issue. The counties of Leduc, Sturgeon and especially Strathcona are getting fat off industries that wouldn't be here were it not for Edmonton. Yet Strathcona County, in particular, has refused to even discuss sharing services or revenues, as they move forward with ambitious plans to double the size of their suburban enclaves.

    No, the Edmonton region never was one big happy family. But until now, Edmonton was more pushover than pugilist. With a new industrial land plan, Edmonton is adopting a strategy more like that of our hockey heroes.

    If you can't join 'em, beat 'em. Beat 'em like a rented mule.

    [email protected]

    © The Edmonton Journal 2006
    President and CEO - Airshow.

  • #2
    Best thing I've read in quite some time.

    Props to Mandel. Frankly, I welcome the day that amalgamation/annexation is forced upon the area, akin to 416 Toronto.
    [email protected][email protected]: the 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse

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    • #3
      An excellent idea and about time.

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      • #4
        This brought a smile to my face this morning. I thought to myself 'ha, they asked for it...and now they got it...'

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        • #5
          City hall is considering the establishment of a large industrial park in the far reaches of the city's northeast. This essentially rural area is removed from existing residential communities, but close to rail, road and river. And it would be relatively easy to reach with an LRT extension, to whisk workers to and from the job site.
          About time they're finally planning to do something with this land. Apart from a jail and a mental hospital, there's been nothing there since they annexed it over 20 years ago. But I could see the usual NIMBYs and BANANAs coming out of the woodwork to battle what will essentially be a Refinery Row that stretches from the Whitemud to Fort Saskatchewan.
          “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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          • #6
            If you read Edmonton Journal's 2006 Greater Edmonton Economic Outlook you will notice that EVERY community surrounding Edmonton stresses that they aren't a bedroom community but a regional centre. That's ********, and they know it. It's time to put them in their proper place.
            Edmonton first, everything else second.

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            • #7
              Hell yes! Go, Mandel, go!
              A solid Northeast plan is long overdue, especially one that gives the Stink-eye to the Parkies.

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              • #8
                Just as I thought. In today's Journal (page B3), there is an article about some of the farmers and land owners in the NE going into NIMBY mode. I would post it here, but it's a subscription-only article online and I'm too cheap to subscribe.
                “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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                • #9
                  I fail to see the benefit to Edmonton if they annex - picking and choosing isn't allowed so do they REALLY want all of the burbs? This would take years to be agreed.
                  Edmonton, Capital of Alberta

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SteveB
                    I fail to see the benefit to Edmonton if they annex - picking and choosing isn't allowed so do they REALLY want all of the burbs? This would take years to be agreed.
                    then lets get started...


                    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SteveB
                      I fail to see the benefit to Edmonton if they annex - picking and choosing isn't allowed so do they REALLY want all of the burbs? This would take years to be agreed.
                      The main thing, and this article references it, is the fact that the regional communities (and I mean the immediate metro and NOT this huge CMA that stretches from Wab to Tofield) pretend to work with Edmonton as the EEDC nee EDE goes out and looks for business only to submarine Edmonton by stabbing it in the back and saying come hither and avoid creep and bum land...and Edmonton gets stuck with the tab of the water plant upgrades and adding highways and adding sewer and adding.....you name it.

                      This is well pointed out in McKeen's column.

                      So, if we pay for it anyway, we'll just get the business ourselves. No more Mr. Nice Guy while getting - in the words of Simon and Garfunkel - slandered, liabled, and hear words we never heard in the Bible. We're tired. Period.

                      This would all go away if they played nice. Simple as that.
                      President and CEO - Airshow.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sonic Death Monkey
                        Just as I thought. In today's Journal (page B3), there is an article about some of the farmers and land owners in the NE going into NIMBY mode. I would post it here, but it's a subscription-only article online and I'm too cheap to subscribe.
                        Haven't read the article, but I have to say I wish we could do this somewhere other than the NE panhandle. ( Maybe we aren't, as I don't know the exact location... )

                        When we were given that land instead of refinery row during the last annexation saga we were really nailed. We got land we could only utilize by destroying some of the best farmland on the planet. Some of the soil subtypes are a grey clay loam that is one of the top 3 or 4 most fertile soils anywhere... dare I use the term "world class."

                        So we are stuck in a position of having our city slowly strangled by a ring of parisitic children, or destroying a precious resource... thanks province

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                        • #13
                          ...but this serves notice to the province that the city is serious. Solve this problem as you are the masters or we will do what we can under the existing rules and let the chips fall...
                          President and CEO - Airshow.

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                          • #14
                            Oh I know, and I'd make the same choice. But there are good reasons other than NIMBYness to be against development in the far NE.

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                            • #15
                              I never thought of that clay as good farmland. My type of soil is a bit more black. NW Alberta (GP, PR, etc) I thought had the best farmland.
                              President and CEO - Airshow.

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