Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Economic Development Partners with ACFA to Recruit

Did you know that Grande Prairie has the 3rd largest French Association in all of Alberta? Not bad for being the 7th largest city in the province right? The size of our Francophone community is a real asset for our city as it leads to some very important partnerships like the one below. 

The City's Economic Development Officer will be traveling with ACFA representatives to Brussels and Paris in an effort to highlight the job opportunities available in our region.

It goes to show that investments to support and partner with our cultural communities make us an attractive place to live - and if we're an attractive place to live then people will consider moving here when they might not otherwise. 

With the labour market tightening up again Grande Prairie will benefit from the doors our cultural communities can open for us. 

All the details are below in the City media release. 

Recruitment Opportunity for Grande Prairie Employers
Media Release
October 24, 2011

The City of Grande Prairie is representing the region at the Destination Canada job fairs in Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium in partnership with the L'Association Canadienne-Française de l'Alberta (ACFA).

“There is a skilled worker shortage developing within our region,” says Brian Glavin, Economic Development Officer. “The Destination Canada event is an excellent opportunity for our community as the applicants have been pre-screened to be fluent in English as well as being skilled workers.” The events, which run from November 15th-19th, will have between 3,500 and 4,000 job seekers.

“The job fair provides employers with access to a pool of highly qualified workers looking to relocate to Canada,” says Glavin.

The job seekers span a wide range of specialties, from engineers and mechanics to chefs and surgeons. Companies looking to hire skilled employees can contact the Economic Development department for more details or sign up directly on the Destination Canada website.

Media enquiries may be directed to:

Brian Glavin
Economic Development Officer
City of Grande Prairie

Michelle Margarit
ACFA - Grande Prairie

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Traffic Lights Being Installed

View Traffic List Installations in a larger map
The pins above mark the locations of the new lights.

Traffic Signal Construction Projects Begin

Installation of traffic lights will commence today in three separate locations.

Crews will at begin at the 104 Ave. and 92 St. intersection, continue to the 116 Ave. and 96 St. intersection and finish at Kateri Drive where a pedestrian crossing will be erected near Derek Taylor School.

Most of the work will be carried-out away from the road, but some delays are expected when the signal poles and overhead light arms are craned into place.

Patience is appreciated as the addition of traffic signals to these busy intersections will significantly improve safety.

Media enquiries may be directed to:
Roger Hodgson
Project Engineer

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ice Delay Possible at Dave Barr Arena

Installation of ice at the newly renovated Dave Barr Community Centre may be delayed until October 27, a few weeks beyond the originally scheduled Oct. 11 date. 

Improvements to the rink at the Dave Barr Community Centre are taking longer than expected. A $1.4-million project has included a new condenser, boards and glass, and revamping of the heating and ventilation system. Fire sprinklers and other infrastructure needs were also addressed.

Dave Barr management is working with Coca-Cola Centre and Crystal Centre personnel to accommodate ice time demands. User groups have been made aware of the projected delay.

The delay is connected with the manufacture and installation of the board and glass system. 

Once these are in place, staff will work around the clock, with help from the City’s other two arenas, to ensure the ice surface is in as quickly as possible.

“We are working to tighten-up the time frame of when user groups can get onto the ice,” says Garry Roth, Community Services Director. “Running extra shifts will minimize the down-time.”

Monday, July 11, 2011

Help Name The New Fire Hall!

The City of Grande Prairie is encouraging the public to take part in a process to help name the Third Fire Station.

This is the first time residents have been invited to participate in the naming of a City fire facility.

The two existing stations bear the names of historical community figures. The North Hall is named after William Salmond – an area pioneer – and the South Hall recognizes Pete Eagar – the first full-time Fire Chief of the Grande Prairie Fire Department.

“This is an opportunity to involve citizens in a positive, community-building experience,” says Dan Lemieux, Fire Chief. “We want to celebrate the contributions of our founders.”

Residents can send an e-mail to thirdfirehall@cityofgp.com with a nominee and a rationale of 100 words or less explaining why the Third Fire Station should be named after that person. 

Proposals can also be mailed to Rick Adair at P.O. Bag 4000, Grande Prairie, AB, T8V 6V3.

A safety related prize will be awarded for the winning submission!

“The Station doesn’t necessarily have to be named after a fire-related figure,” says Rick Adair, Project Manager of the Third Fire Station. “The Grande Prairie Fire Department appreciates the role all our community builders played in shaping the city.”

The deadline for nominees is September 15. City Council will have final approval of the Third Fire Station name.

The new facility, located at 97 Avenue and 118 Street, will open in Spring 2012.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Health Advisory Council Meeting

So, this isn't city business but I know people are interested in the state of healthcare in our city and the province so when I got notice of this in my email inbox I thought I'd share it. I've put the important sections into a BOLD font.

If you have any questions or comments, I CANNOT ANSWER THEM: Please direct them to the health advisory council at:

Peace Health Advisory Council

Dear Community Stakeholder:
The Peace Health Advisory Council would like to invite and engage with all interested individuals and groups to attend either of the health care forums we are hosting in July and August to provide input on local and regional health and provide feedback to Alberta Health Services regarding health care services in our North Zone.

On Thursday, July 21, 2011 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. we will be in Grande Prairie and on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 we will be in Peace River. Location in Grande Prairie is the Elks Hall 10806-106 St.

Part of our mandate as a health advisory council is to engage the public to gather opinions, concerns, bright ideas or suggestions on gaps and opportunities and to share success stories related to health care services and to relay the messages to Alberta Health Services.

The forums will be an excellent opportunity for the Peace Health Advisory Council to gather feedback from the public. The open mike format will be utilized with each speaker allowed two to five minutes to present their information. We will be happy to accept any written presentations whether as supporting documents or as the entire presentation. Additionally, should you wish to present to the Peace Health Advisory Council at a regular council meeting at a later date you may request an opportunity to do so. The information we receive from the public forums will be condensed into an advisory report to Alberta Health Services regarding local ideas, opportunities, challenges and opinions.

We are very interested to hear your opinion regarding health services. Please be advised the Peace Health Advisory Council does not have the mandate to deal with individual patient concerns or the day to day operations of the health centres but rather works in an advisory capacity to Alberta Health Services.

Please join the members of your Health Advisory Council on either date to share your ideas and provide feedback about health care in our area so that we can ensure that we convey your message to Alberta Health Services.

Theresa Sandul, Chair
Michael Ouellette, Vice-Chair

GP's First BMX Park!

BMX Site To Be Ready By August

Construction on Grande Prairie’s first BMX bike park is set to begin Thursday.

Located west of the off leash dog park in the South Bear Creek section of Muskoseepi Park, the site was chosen for its high visibility, availability of space, and accessibility from park trails. It’s also adjacent to neighbourhoods and schools. The bike park will be completed in about three weeks.

 “The BMX park was made possible by the generous support of Wapiti Gravel Suppliers which delivered and levelled over 10,000 cubic meters of soil and Genivar providing free design consultation, engineering and surveying services,” says Laurie Barry, Operations Manager at Muskoseepi Park.

“This is a community partnership driven by the local BMX enthusiasts who wanted something positive for youth to develop their interest in the sport and we are proud to add this facility to the park”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the facility is scheduled for Park’s 25th Anniversary event on the August long weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Survey on Future Use of Leisure Centre

The City of Grande Prairie is conducting a Feasibility study on the future use of The Leisure Centre.  Roger Field of Field, Field & Field Architecture-Engineering Ltd. will be conducting the survey and results.  
Your response to this survey will lead to recommendations made to City Council and Administration to determine the direction, future use, and upgrade of The Leisure Centre.  
An open house will be held on Wednesday, June 29th from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Leisure Centre.  Residents are encouraged to stop by to fill out a survey or have questions answered by Field, Field & Field, or the Leisure Centre staff.
If you are unable to attend the open house, please visit here to complete an online version of the survey.  All responses will remain anonymous and will be kept confidential.
Media enquires may be directed to:
Roger Field ​
Field, Field & Field ​​
Ph: 780-532-3690​

Monday, June 6, 2011

97 Ave Construction Begins Thursday

Starting Thursday, 97 Ave. traffic between Wapiti Road and 112 St. will be restricted to one lane to allow for major construction work.
Use of alternative routes to avoid the area if possible is advised. Motorists needing to reach businesses between 112 St. and 116 St. should use the following roads: 89 Ave, 84 Ave, 100 Ave, and 112 St, as side street access will be limited.
The City is investing about $900,000 in the project.
Improvements include the replacement of curbs and gutters, repairs to manholes and catch basins, milling of the existing asphalt, and replacement of the road surface.
“These intensive upgrades are important to maintain the City’s transportation infrastructure,” says Project Engineer Yao Kouadio. “We appreciate the patience of everyone affected during this temporary inconvenience.”
Work is scheduled to take until the beginning of August to complete.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Graffiti Wipe Out Week – June 6-10, 2011

From a report at the Protective Services committee yesterday...

Marketing for the Graffiti Wipe Out week and requests for volunteers started in mid-March and is continuing through several different avenues including posters, radio, community pages, social media (Facebook, Twitter, City website), road signs and email.

In less than two days, 73 vandalized properties have been identified and are potential sites for Graffiti Wipe Out week. The vandalized businesses and property owners will be personally contacted over the next 10 days and will be educated on the effect of graffiti within a community, how it impacts crime levels and the importance of quick removal. They will then be encouraged to either remove it themselves or give their consent to have our volunteers remove it during Graffiti Wipe Out week.

The property owner’s responsibility will be to provide the appropriate paint and ensure the area around the vandalized area is safe for the volunteers and staff. Crime Prevention will supply the volunteers, equipment and supplies necessary to remove it. Educational information has been sent to the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Association with the request that they forward it to all of their members to assist in educating them on graffiti management and offering assistance in removal by volunteers and the free use of Crime Prevention’s Graffiti Wipe Out kits. These kits include rollers, paint brushes, safety goggles, disposable coveralls, gloves, etc. Several volunteers have come forward to assist in painting, supervising and promotion of the Graffiti Wipe Out week.

Volunteers include City employees, seniors, families and community youth. The Youth Intervention Program has six youth that may be assisting in the Wipe Out for reparation. Volunteers will be trained online in WHMIS through the City as well as being trained on safe removal of graffiti. Graffiti Wipe Out week launch is slated for 10 am on June 6th with Mayor Bill Given, councillors, City staff, volunteers and media in attendance.

The location was originally planned to be the new Protective Services building however, Crime Prevention is looking for an alternate location with a significant amount of graffiti to showcase removal.

Crime Prevention has approached ATCO to join the City of Grande Prairie in fighting graffiti by pledging to remove it from any targeted property they own within 24-48 hours of identification. This is similar to the pledge between the City of Leduc and Fortis Alberta. Crime Prevention is waiting for a response from ATCO. Neighbourhood Safety Teams and Associations have also been contacted and encouraged to conduct an inspection of their areas and conduct a neighbourhood wipe out during Graffiti Wipe Out Week.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Donation Of Goods For Fire Victims Maxed Out!

Trucks and storage lockers across the province are brimming with donations for residents displaced by fires in Northern Alberta. No further non-cash contributions are needed at this time.

The province, local municipalities and the Red Cross are working with evacuees to determine their needs,” says Donelda Laing, Manager of Community Social Development with the City of Grande Prairie. “As we assess how we can best help these regional neighbours, we will share this information with communities in our area.”

The City of Grande Prairie, the County of Grande Prairie, the Towns of Sexsmith, Beaverlodge and Wembley and the Village of Hythe are part of the Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership.

We know that residents across the region are eager to help and we appreciate the outpouring of concern and generosity,” says Kathleen Turner, Director of Family and Community Support Services with the County of Grande Prairie. “The best way people can assist is to provide cash donations so specific needs can be addressed.
Individuals and organizations wishing to provide assistance are asked to please consider giving a cash donation rather than goods. Individuals and organizations that wish to provide assistance are asked to call the Red Cross at 1-800-418-1111 or online at www.redcross.ca, or the Salvation Army 780-908-7782 or 780-909-5598.
Cash donations may be made to the Community Foundation of Greater Grande Prairie by calling 780-538-2820 or contributions can be made online at www.canadahelps.org
Media enquiries may be directed to:
Donelda Laing
Community Social Development Manager
City of Grande Prairie

Kathleen Turner
FCSS Director
County of Grande Prairie

Sharon McLean
Red Cross Regional Branch Manager

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Regional Draw

I'm not sure if people real realize just how cool The Multiplex is going to be. It seems like a lot of people think of it as "the new pool" and that leads to picturing an updated, bigger, version of the Leisure Centre.

The reality is that it's much, much more than that. It really does have the potential to be a regional tourist draw.

I'm not saying that people from Calgary are going to decide that they need to drive up just to check it out but I do believe that people from the north and the region around the city may do just that. I also think that after families stop in once they will start to make it a regular part of their visits to the City. Just like my family used to stop in at the wave pool in Millwoods and then the water park at WestEd when we would go down to Edmonton.

With features like a tube slide, adventure river and surfing machine all set in amongst a fantasy dinosaur theme, kids and parents alike are going to love it.

Check out the pictures and tell me you're not excited too....

City Media Release

The much anticipated Dinosaurs for the Multiplex are finally arriving in Grande Prairie! The first shipment of the Multiplex’s prehistoric pals, are now onsite at the Multiplex and installation will begin in late June.

Cheryl McKenzie, Multiplex Marketing Manager says “This is one of the most exciting parts of the overall aquatics area. The personality that these playful dinosaurs display is just amazing. In the children’s vortex area the dinosaurs are cute, colourful and friendly.

There are 6 perched on Hoo Doo’s surrounding the kiddie’s area, and they are equipped with goggles and life preservers just ready to splash in the pool. There are 3 more surrounding the family hot tub and volcano. Further back in the giant slide area beside the lazy river the dinosaurs are more realistic looking. We have a giant T-Rex head that is breaking through the rock facade over the change rooms and a couple more are on the island in the Lazy River. In addition the theme includes waterfalls, foliage, 4 pterodactyls, dinosaur rib cage and murals depicting some of the prehistoric aquatic life. The City wants to support the exciting new dinosaur opportunities that our region is becoming known for and The Multiplex is the perfect place to put that theme to good use. Though the Dinosaurs at the Multiplex in no way represent those found at Pipestone, they will certainly help get visitors and locals alike in the ‘Dinosaur Frame of Mind’.”

The Dinosaurs were designed in Calgary at Studio Y Creations and have taken over a year to develop. Studio Y has taken the Dinosaur theme to a whole new level while remaining considerate of all ages of our patrons.

“It is going to be so exciting to show off the Multiplex to everyone. It is definitely a one of a kind facility that won’t fail to impress anyone who comes to visit us!” adds McKenzie.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

South Muskoseepi Bridge Closed

As the sun has come out and the snow has started to melt I'm sure everyone is itching to get out and go for a walk, run or bike ride on the trails. Unfortunately there is a problem at the pedestrian bridge south of 68th Ave....

-Update- The bridge has been opened to pedestrians again. Repairs to the asphalt will be made later this spring (the plants that make the asphalt haven't started up yet) but the bridge is safe to use.

Media Release
April 6, 2011

Water Wash Out Closes South Bear Creek Trail

The concrete pedestrian bridge adjacent to 68th Ave. in Muskoseepi Park has been closed indefinitely.

This action results from water washing away the approach to the bridge which spans South Bear Creek. Aquatera is working to find the source of the runoff and complete repairs.

As a precaution the bridge has been barricaded and fenced off to prevent public from crossing in that location.

“We ask trail users to find an alternative route until further notice while heavy equipment is in the location to undertake repairs,” says Parks Operations Manager Laurie Barry. “We know this is a popular location for trail enthusiasts and regret this inconvenience. However, safety is of utmost importance.”

“There is a significant amount of damage from runoff to the area around the bridge,” says Aquatera spokesperson Tim Conrad. “Our team is investigating the water source, and will look to redirect it and make temporary repairs to the trail as soon as possible.

“We will need to close the trail and bridge again later in the spring to complete permanent repairs after the frost has come out of the ground.”

Media enquiries may be directed to:

Laurie Barry
Muskoseepi Park Operations Manager

Tim Conrad
Aquatera Communications Manager

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Very Cool Program Expansion at GPRC

GPRC Media Release:

Bachelor of Education Secondary now offered at GPRC

Meeting the demand for high school teachers in northern Alberta is the goal of a new pilot program this fall at GPRC. For the first time ever, the Bachelor of Education, Secondary, will be available in Grande Prairie through a collaboration of GPRC and the U of A, beginning with Year 3 in the fall of 2011. A series of information sessions are being planned to share specifics with prospective students.

The highly successful Teacher Education North (B Ed Elementary) collaboration has been paving the way for this announcement for more than ten years – over 150 elementary teachers now employed at schools throughout our region are alumni of the GPRC/U of A collaborative degree. Students have long been requesting the option of Secondary route degree completion at GPRC as well.

Area school districts have been working closely with government, GPRC and the U of A to facilitate this pilot project, and the great cooperation and effort of all the people involved is recognized as its major strength.

“We are fortunate to have wonderful partners who have made this pilot project possible,” says Susan Bansgrove, GPRC Vice-President Academics and Research. “It is a collaborative effort in every sense, and all partners are excited at the potential to increase access to needed education for learners in our northern and remote region.”

Peace Wapiti School District is excited about the recruitment opportunities that this pilot program represents, according to Superintendent Sheldon Rowe. “We expect that in the upcoming years, as a result of a considerable increase in retirements, we will be facing a significant and growing shortage of secondary teachers,” says Rowe. “This U of A program brokered by GPRC will help address this issue and also help insure that our new hires are very familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of teaching in rural northern Alberta. As a District we are always pleased to see additional locally available post secondary programs offered to our graduates.”

The pilot program will offer a general Bachelor of Education Secondary program, with majors in either English language arts or general science, and minors in English language arts, general science or math. Prospective students who have completed 60 credits of study may bring transcripts to GPRC for evaluation. It is hoped that a cohort of 20 students will soon be registered for the program, which begins in September, 2011.

“The opportunity for the University of Alberta to collaborate with GPRC in offering a pilot program in Secondary Education is ground breaking and extremely exciting,” says Fern Snart, Dean, Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. “The Faculty of Education and GPRC have an excellent relationship based on a decade of delivering the Teacher Education North (TEN) Elementary Education program, and both institutions share a great pride in the many graduates who are adding strength to the teaching force in northern Alberta. We are confident that the Secondary graduates from this cohort will join the school systems with equal strength in two years, and we are delighted to have this opportunity.”


For comment please contact:
Susan Bansgrove, VP Academics and Research
Grande Prairie Regional College


Fern Snart, Dean
Faculty of Education
University of Alberta

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ahh Spring....

The city has a general email account that people use from time to time to send notes myself or council. As we get in to spring I expect this won't be the last one I receive that is concerned about the roads.

I try to respond to any email that has a working return address and a name. Here's the resident's note (with their name removed) and my response:

I know your the new mayor of Grande Prairie, but you might want to start doing something and get the roads fixed because they are shitty, that's the only way to describe it. You might want to start considering the citizens of Grande Prairie because if your doing nothing to fix the roads, are you gonna pay for all the vehicle damages? 

 - Name Removed - 

My response....

Hi - Name Removed -, thanks for the note. 

You'll notice that we've had a spring with lots of melting, then re-freezing. This is really rough on the roads, it creates lots of potholes that weren't there last fall because the run-off water gets in to tiny cracks in the pavement and then freezes over night. When it freezes it expands and breaks apart the pavement just like a bottle that's left in the freezer too long. 

We will be going after these potholes very aggressively but there's not too much we can do until more of the snow melts and the temperatures get warmer. We have already had some crews out addressing the worst cases but that work doesn't last because it's still too wet can cold for the repairs to hold. 

This summer we plan to spend about $20 million on road repair, construction and overlays as well as sidewalk construction. So this area is a major priority for me, Council and our staff.... and we're spending a significant amount of your tax dollars on it. 

I hope you'll notice the improvement but understand that our weather here make this an ongoing battle and that every spring will bring new potholes no matter what we do. 

Thank you again for taking the time to write.

Bill Given, 
Mayor, City of Grande Prairie 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2011 State of the City Address

This afternoon I had the pleasure of presenting the State of the City Address at an even hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

Here's the full text of the speech:

Good afternoon,

It's my pleasure to present the State of the City Address for the first time as Mayor of Grande Prairie.

Before I go any further, I'd like to extend my thanks to the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce for hosting today and to each and everyone of you for attending.

I take great pride in telling others across the province how Grande Prairie, Alberta's SEVENTH largest city, is home to Alberta's THIRD largest Chamber.

The Chamber is a key partner for the City and I believe the state of the organization speaks to the strength of our local economy. Thank you Dave, Dan and to your whole team for hosting today -and for all the work that you do.

By design, Council and Administration come together form a single unit so I'd be remiss if I didn't recognize the members of my team who are here today...

Croken, Gustafson, McLean, Munroe, O'Toole, Radbourne & Wong

.... and our Senior Administration Team:
Greg Scerbak & Frank Deskawech

It’s hard to believe that we’re closing in on March – We’ve already had a busy start to the year and everything suggests it will be a significant milestone for your new Council.

I had the pleasure to speak at the Chinese New Year celebration last month. At the time I noted that 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit – recognized as a year of calm, peace and an opportunity to reflect.

As global events have shown, we can probably still expect this year to have its share of excitement and turmoil. But I believe that locally, 2011 will be marked as a time of taking stock of where we are and laying the groundwork for future success.

In November, just weeks after the new Council was elected, one of our first tasks was to review the 2011 budget that had previously been approved by the prior council.

At that point, we were each working from a perspective informed by the issues we heard from residents during the election.

AND, although it's a challenging task for a new group, I believe we were focused on a shared goal of keeping any tax increase to a minimum - Which we accomplished.

We reduced a proposed 7.6% tax increase to just 2.5%. In large part this was achieved by deferring capital projects and putting off proposed staffing increases.

For example, council choose to defer a request for 6 additional RCMP officers in 2011 that would have added just under $750 thousand dollars per year to the budget.

It's obvious that those types of deferrals are only short term solutions.

To put our community on a more sustainable path we will need to take a longer term view and address our challenges head on.

During our March 9th to 11th strategic planning session, Council will discuss, from a Big Picture perspective, our priorities related to programs, facilities, infrastructure, services and tax levels.

The new Strategic Plan that emerges will not be a revision of past plans with a few new words here & there.

It will be the vision this council uses to guide the next three year budget cycle, and beyond.

Why is it so important to take time away from overseeing this $100 million operation to develop a plan?

I believe that at the start of this new term and budget cycle, it’s more important than ever that Council forms a collective vision of where we believe the community needs to go.

Think of it like this: A couple are discussing their vacation plans, They could go visit family in Kelowna, or Calgary or Saskatoon.

If they can't come to some consensus on a preferred option...

If they can’t first agree on a final destination, a goal, it's likely they'll end up not going anywhere at all.

Once they decide it's Calgary, the actual route they take to get there can follow.

They could fly or drive down Highway 2. Or even, maybe Highway 22. Each has it's pluses and minuses but without first agreeing on a destination, the route wouldn't even matter.

So the challenge for your council is to agree on a goal. A vision of what we want our community to be in the future. We need to set the destination.

Once developed, the Strategic Plan will provide a vision for Administration, allowing our admin team to set service priorities and develop a budget for Council to review next fall.

Over the course of the planning session, Council will also provide Administration with a range of financial expectations within which they can build the budget, based on the priorities we’ve established.

Going in to this, Council’s challenge will be to think long term.

And, to balance our community's needs for infrastructure and services with the reality of our fiscal situation.

We already know that our revenue maybe be reduced by as much as $2 million as a result of the end of the fire agreement with the County of Grande Prairie, and there may be an additional loss of up to $2 million as Aquatera transitions to its own corporate services by year’s end.

In addition to the reduced revenue in these areas, we’re also dealing with the results of lower than expected funding from the provincial government's Municipal Sustainability Initiative, or MSI, grant program.

When it was announced MSI was intended to deliver long-term sustainable funding to municipalities which would allow us to make long-term planning decisions and investments in infrastructure.

We were told we could “Bank on It.”

Unfortunately it hasn't exactly turned out that way. For example, due to provincial budget changes last year the city received $6 million less than was forecast.

This in turn required us to take on extra borrowing to complete the construction of The Multiplex. Over the term of mortgage this extra borrowing will cost us approximately $3 million in interest, further reducing the effectiveness of our MSI monies.

Ironically, today is also provincial budget day, so we are hoping for good news for municipalities and for provincial capital projects in our community.

The final part of the financial picture that council needs to consider is the mix of land-uses in the city and how that impacts our ability to generate revenue.

In study after study in Alberta and across North America it's recognized that residential properties consume more in services than they provide in tax revenue. It's industrial and commercial assessment that pays the way.

The difference is staggering;

Residential properties tend to consume approximately $1.60 in services for every $1 in tax revenue they generate.

While Industrial development consumes just 14¢ in services for every $1 it generates.

In Grande Prairie our assessment is approximately 74% Residential, 24% commercial and just 2% Industrial.

As a business person, imagine discovering that 75% of your customers used more in services than they generated in revenue. What would you think of the outlook for your business? What would you do?

This is one of the factors that council cannot ignore when thinking about our community's strategic plan.

On the more positive side council will be well equipped with an array of public input to consider as we think about the future:

This includes resident concerns and feedback we each heard during the election.

Early results from the 2011 Quality of Life/Customer Satisfaction Survey will be in, and public consultation documents from the Municipal Development Plan and Municipal Sustainability Plan processes will provide extra context.

All of this information – the challenges and the public input will help provide the foundation for our strategic plan which we'll report back to the community on later this spring.

Speaking of public input: Right now, the research firm of Ipsos Reid is conducting the Quality of Life/Customer Satisfaction Survey by getting in touch with approximately 400 city residents.

The last customer satisfaction survey in 2009 revealed that more than 90% of residents feel there is a high quality of life in Grande Prairie.

Residents were the most satisfied with our services in the areas of Fire, Police & Enforcement and Crime Prevention.

At the same time they showed concern with Infrastructure, Affordable Housing & Land Use and Planning.

It'll be interesting to see what the top of mind issues are for our citizens this time around.

It'll be surprising if we don’t hear significant feedback about our snow removal program following the record downfall in mid-January.

Council has already taken the proactive step of asking Administration to conduct a thorough review of our snow removal and ice control program at the end of this winter.

The point is not to look solely at our efforts in reaction to this one weather event but to consider how we address snow removal in the big picture. Including preplanning, resources and communications.

One great news story emerging from the record snowfall was how the community embraced social media as a means of expressing their concerns, asking questions and receiving updates on our progress.

Residents can expect we’ll continue to open up opportunities for them to join in the conversation with, and about their city government.

Having a social media presence certainly proved to be a bonus when it came time to promote vacancies for volunteer positions on our boards and committees this fall.

We had a record response, with far more people interested in serving than we had spaces!

In fact, nearly 40 people applied for just 18 positions on committees.

This represents an incredible success story in community engagement and participation, something we are eager to repeat in other municipal processes.

As well, our budget deliberations last fall were webcast for the first time.

I think people appreciated the opportunity to tune into deliberations from the comfort of their homes, offices or calssrooms.

I mentioned earlier that this would be a year focused on setting the stage for success in the years to come.

Our Land Use Bylaw review, to be complete by year’s end, is one of these foundational elements.

This document will guide the dynamics and aesthetics of the City as it continues to grow.

The update will revise existing provisions to allow the City to meet its mandate to effectively control and regulate land use while still remaining sufficiently flexible to permit new opportunities and innovations.

This will be key as the City begins to annex land from the County of Grande Prairie through the Inter-municipal Development Plan, adopted last year.

The IDP identifies short- and long-term annexation areas and steps are underway to initiate that process with open houses for affected land owners scheduled for early March.

Annexation is vital to the City’s economic growth. It will provide much needed land to attract new industrial and commercial firms.

The short-term area covers about 6,000 hectares, predominantly in the northwest, northeast and several quarter sections surrounding the City identified for annexation in the former IDP.

Our Transportation Master Plan is also progressing. It will help us as we develop our transportation network to address some of the pressures of today and prepare for future growth.

This massive undertaking will explore pedestrian, cycling, transit and vehicle opportunities in the City, and beyond.

Of course it's not all long term planning and blue-sky thinking. As we head in to 2011 the city is working on a number of important projects that will impact the future of our community and improve life for residents.

By April, we will be able to gauge interest in the possibility of redevelopment of the former York Hotel and/or Germain Park properties in our City's Centre.

A “Request For Information” is available on AlbertaPurchasingConnection.com and has been distributed across the country to attract proposals. This is probably the most flexible and transparent process the city has ever undertaken with respect to land development. Proposals will be judged on five simple criteria:

  • How do they support the concepts within the Downtown Enhancement and Municipal Development plans?
  • How do they increase Density and impact Activity in the downtown?
  • What is the developer’s experience with projects of this nature and their financial capability?
  • What are the proposed project timelines?
  • And finally, what is the overall financial benefit to the City?

It appears that the positive effects of the City's investment in purchasing the property are already being noticed by the business community.

Yesterday at the DownTown Association's Annual General Meeting the City was presented with a certificate of appreciation for the positive impact the change has had for businesses in the area.

Also this year,

We will expand on the foundation of our City-Wide Wireless Initiative by adding up to 100 hot spots across the community. Residents will benefit from improved customer service as our field staff will have the ability to retrieve information remotely, just as though they were at a workstation in city hall.

Our brand will be launched shortly with a new visual identity including a logo and slogan that promote the community’s innovative, resourceful and entrepreneurial nature.

We’re looking forward to the opportunity to have visual imagery that helps residents celebrate what they have while encouraging visitors and new businesses to come see why we love it here.

Close on the heals of the new visual identity the city will launch a completely redesigned website. This will be the first major update to the city's web presence since 2004 and will allow residents and visitors to find information more easily.

We will also integrate social media features to enhance our communication capabilities and begin the steps of integrating OpenData principles.

And, recognizing that investing in infrastructure is still a priority for our community, a significant amount of capital projects will be underway including:

Twinning of 116 Street between 84th and 97th avenues as well as paving the section between 68th and 84th avenues. This will be a welcome relief for residents in the Westpointe neighbourhood and for drivers as it paves the last section of gravel between the bypass and the correction-line.

Also on the books is the badly needed rehab of 102nd Street from 97th ave to 86th avenue.

These will be just two of the projects in a summer road & sidewalk construction program that will total almost $21 million dollars.

We’ll be nearing completion on the third fire hall as we move into 2012. This facility will be an extremely valuable addition to our ability to protect the community. Its location in the west end means neighbourhoods and businesses in that area of the City will be safer and that we'll be able to provide excellent service to the residents in the annexation areas.

The ultimate highlight of 2011 will be the completion of The Multiplex.

This facility will offer something for everyone in Grande Prairie, and beyond. I know I can’t wait for my turn on the FreeFM Freerider.

The Multiplex will be a dynamic attraction for the region, helping to make this community a destination to travel to . . . and for visitors on the road, a location where they can be enticed to stay an extra day or two.

And it all wouldn't be possible without our community partners like Telus, Menzies, Servus Credit Union, Rotary Clubs of Grande Prairie, FreeFM, Daily Herald Tribune RBC and Radium Industrial Solutions who have come on board to support the project. Thank you.

As a municipality, we are always examining ways to improve how we do business and means to support the develop our local economy.

We have formed an Economic Development Advisory Committee, with public representatives from various sectors of the local economy.

This group will help guide the work of our Economic Development Department as it addresses the priorities outlined in our Economic Development Plan.

One of the priorities in the plan was to address the underlying costs of doing business in The North.

In response, the Economic Development has begun providing residents monthly updates on the cost of retail power while providing education on energy aggregation and promoting energy efficiency.

Also, Over two years ago we first initiated our Business Visitation Program.

Through the process, we received a lot of rich data to help us better understand the needs of our local business community. We'll continue to follow up on those needs and priorities.

The City is also undertaking process improvement initiatives to enhance our customer service.

We took a significant step forward with the recent renovation at the City Service Centre, which for the first time brought together our Parks, Fleet, Transportation Services, Engineering and Planning in one building. This move will provide a one-stop-shop for construction and development and improve our internal coordination.

Speaking of these important departments I'd like to recognize them for their commitment customer service.

Just a few weeks ago the City was honoured to receive the 2010 Customer Service Award from the Grande Prairie Home Builders’ Association. For our staff to be recognized by such an important partner is very rewarding.

On a on a different topic, I'd like to cover some of the steps we've taken around advocating for our City and the Region.

The job of keeping Grande Prairie top of mind for Provincial decision makers is never ending and has to be a priority for the City.

Earlier this month, Council approved a schedule of twice yearly visits to the Alberta Legislature.

These will occur in Spring and Fall of each year for the balance of the term and will be in addition to our continued support of regional lobby efforts such as those led by the Chamber of Commerce.

I believe the objective of these kind of missions should be to proactively build relationships & increase communication with Provincial Ministers and departments.

We need to ensure that Grande Prairie's voice is heard and that our story is understood.

Some of our immediate priorities include; capital funding for Aquatera's Waste Water Treatment Plant improvements, construction of the new hospital, expansion at GPRC and support for new K-to-12 schools.

In all of this we recognize that our partners are important.

Immediately after the election council and I identified a number of community partners and regional municipalities that council wanted to meet with.

We have regular meetings with our partners at the County of Grande Prairie, the Chamber, our local school boards, GPRC, the Homebuilders’ Association, the Urban Developers Institute and many, many others in an effort to strengthen our understanding of the community and keep the lines of communication open.

In closing ...

It’s been my pleasure to update you on some of the challenges the city is facing, some of the key municipal initiatives coming up in the short term and to offer some insights into what the future holds.

I believe the best way council can contribute the continued progress of our community is to:

  • Be a Willing & Accessible Community Partner
  • Continue Working to Provide Excellent Service
  • Openly Discuss the Challenges Facing our City
  • Establish Clear Priorities and regularly report on our progress and finally,
  • To Be Visionary by setting long-term goals that will guide our organization and our decision making.

The first few steps will happen in the coming weeks.

I'd ask you all to lend us your support as we proceed and I'll commit that we'll remain accessible & accountable to you as we move forward in building an excellent community that you can be proud of.

Thank you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cost of Community Services

One of the challenges we have is to ensure we have a good mix of different types of development in our community. Not only is important for forming a well-rounded city it also directly affects our bottom line.

Give this report (pdf download) from Red Deer County a quick once over. It looks at different land uses such as Residential, Industrial and Commercial and compares how much revenue each one brings in with how much it consumes in services.

The key concepts it outlines are; that Residential uses more in services than it provides in revenue; that Commercial roughly pays for itself and finally that Industrial basically subsidizes everything else.

Two really interesting sections:

Industrial – The Industrial land use appears to be a significant subsidizer of all other land uses. The low cost of this land use is more or less in line with other COCS studies. A sensitivity test of the “Power and Pipe” taxes, a significant source of the Industrial land use’s revenues, indicated that even without these revenues, the Industrial land use would still pay for itself in dramatic fashion.


It is significant to note that the Residential land use did not pay for itself in any scenario in this study, not even in the re-calculations done to make this study more comparable to previous studies. ... This effectively means that other land uses are subsidizing the level of service provided to the Residential land use.

Although the specifics would be slightly different for us I'm willing to bet that the fundamentals would be largely the same for any community in the province.

It goes to show that a community like GP with a majority of it's land used for residential development is not sustainable because we don't have enough industrial development to subsidize the service residential development demands.

Communities with significant "Power & Pipe" or linear tax sources are much better off.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Create The Future of GP's Parks & Trails

Do THIS survey.

One of Grande Prairie's greatest assets is our urban park system. We are so lucky to have a green-space like Muskoseepi that runs from one end of the city to the other. Recently I put forward a motion through the 100th Anniversary committee that would see the Expansion and Revitalization of Muskoseepi Park be the capital legacy project for the 100th Anniversary in 2014. (See Item #5 in this set of minutes)

On top of that we have a system of neighbourhood parks, trails and open spaces that spans the city and forms important transportation corridors.

But of course we're always looking to improve that system and a key step is finding out what is important to residents like you.

You can help us chart the future for our parks and open spaces by participating in our online survey right HERE.

The survey asks questions on everything from how you use trails to what kind of sports you might participate in, to what size of neighbourhood parks you'd like to see.

I've done the survey myself and it takes less than the 15 minutes it says.

Charting the Future of City Parks and Open Spaces

Grande Prairie residents can have a say in the future parks and open spaces in the City.

Until mid-March, citizens can provide input on the Parks & Open Space Master Plan User Survey. It explores a variety of issues involving parks, open spaces, and trails. Public input will be used to guide future improvement, development, maintenance, and management of Grande Prairie’s parks and open spaces.

In addition to the public survey, other opportunities are being planned for community members to share their thoughts and feedback in focus groups and open houses (dates are to be determined).

The Parks & Open Space Master Plan will guide the City in meeting the needs of the community over the next seven to 10 years. The plan is slated for completion in December. It will consider the future standards for parks and open spaces development and the delivery of services to parks, playgrounds, public green spaces, and outdoor recreational facilities within Grande Prairie.

An online version of the survey is available HERE. Questions can be directed to gp_surveyinfo@ sandalackassoc.ca.

“Parks are an integral part of the community,” says Lindsey Juniper, Parks Planner. “The public’s involvement in the survey and public houses will ensure our Parks and Open Spaces Master Plan reflects the needs and feedback of the community.”

Enquiries may be directed to:
Lindsey Juniper
Parks Planner
ljuniper@ cityofgp.com

Friday, February 4, 2011

Join Me for Breakfast - March 18th

Men Speaking Out Against Family Violence and Abuse in Our Community
Breakfast with the Boys
March 18, 2011

Hosted By:
Mayor Bill Given, City of Grande Prairie

Special Guests:

Wayne Drysdale
MLA- Grande Prairie Wapiti

Everett McDonald
Reeve- County of Grande Prairie

Featuring Keynote Speaker
Dr. Michael Kaufman

Michael Kaufman, Ph.D., is a public speaker, educator and writer. His innovative approach to engaging men and boys in promoting gender equality and transforming their lives has taken him around the world.  He has worked extensively with the United Nations and with governments, non-governmental organizations, corporations, professional firms, unions, universities and colleges.  He is the co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women.

7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Grande Prairie Quality Inn
(Richmond Ballroom)

Tickets: $30
Includes Full Buffet Breakfast

Tickets available at:
Crystal Center Box Office
City Hall

To reserve tickets call:


Monday, January 24, 2011

Snow Removal Update

City crews, bolstered by additional contracted forces, made good headway on local roads over the weekend. I noticed the crews made some major progress in the north end of the Ivy Lake area, 101 Street in Swanavon was done and they should be mostly through the Countryside neighbourhood.

The staff have picked up where they left off before the big weekend snow fall, so if your neighbourhood hadn't been done before then it should be one of the first to have some attention now. - the flip side to that is of course that if you were done before the big snow fall (like my neighbourhood) then you'll be a little further down the list.

Today they will complete Countryside North and Signature Falls and then move on into the Summit, Mountview and Mission Heights areas.

Of course not everyone has seen an improvement yet and I know thats frustrating but we are on our way. We have a Public Works committee meeting this Tuesday and I'm going to formally ask staff to do a "post-mortem" review of our systems and the response this this event to see what we might be able to learn from it.

Media Release
January 24, 2011

Snow Removal Efforts Move Into New Neighbourhoods Today

Weekend snow removal efforts saw major inroads into the backlog resulting from the mid-January record snowfall.

Today, crews will complete Countryside North and Signature Falls and move into the Summit, Mountview and Mission Heights areas.

“The lack of snow in the forecast and milder conditions are a bonus right now,” says Transportation Services Manager Robert Carroll.

The addition of contractor equipment has doubled City of Grande Prairie forces to tackle the accumulation of snow.

“We thank everyone who has co-operated by moving their vehicles off the streets and understand that those people who have not seen a plough are anxious to see their streets ploughed,” Carroll says.

The milder conditions have helped reduce the size of windrows, reducing safety issues.

“We appreciate the many people who have called or sent messages to us asking us to address this issue,” Mayor Bill Given says. “It is regrettable that people have been stuck and are inconvenienced by our extreme weather earlier this month. This remains our top priority and crews will continue to work around the clock until we are caught up.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hydrants need a helping hand

Aquatera just released the following info ... I know we're all tired of shoveling but this is a major safety issue:
Grande Prairie, AB – Somewhere in a snowbank near your property is a fire hydrant that may be desperately needed on a moment’s notice. 
Aquatera and local fire departments are urging the public to clear out hydrants near or on their property regularly so they can be used at a moment’s notice by fire crews in the region.  Fire hydrants should be easily accessible from the street, and have clearance of one metre on all sides of the hydrant, as well as two metres on each side of the hydrant. 
Aquatera provides approximately 2300 hydrants throughout Grande Prairie, the County of Grande Prairie and Town of Sexsmith, as part of service agreements with municipal governments.  Hydrants are typically located 200 metres or less from each other, and provide fire crews quick and easy access to water in emergencies.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow Removal Response

It's no surprise there've been lots of questions about how the City is addressing the massive amount of snow we received over the weekend. Here's the answers (Please take some time to read the fact sheet at the bottom)

Media Release
January 19, 2011

City Adjusts Snow Removal Plans To Tackle Latest Snowfall

The City of Grande Prairie has amended its regular ploughing practices to step up removal of the record snowfall from last weekend.

As neighbourhoods streets are addressed, residents may notice adjusted levels of service due to the need to expedite snow removal operations. For example, residents could be required to remove ploughed snow from the end of their driveways. As well, in some neighbourhoods snow will be stored in locations not typically used such as sidewalks.

“Cars parked on roadways makes snow removal impossible as equipment cannot fit between vehicles and windrows,” says Robert Carroll, Transportation Services Manager. “This means some streets may not receive snow removal service until the vehicles are removed.

“Snow clearing in driveways and storing the snow in windrows constitute a high level of service and this needs to be relaxed to speed up operations. This adjusted snow removal measure means that the same area can be covered with less staff, resulting in more crews working simultaneously.”

A second measure being implemented is a relaxation of the City’s Noise Bylaw which does not allow snow removal operations after 10 p.m. on Priority 2 routes.

“This Bylaw is in place to enable our citizens to enjoy quiet in the later hours of the evening,” says Mayor Bill Given. “Due to our current situation, it is necessary to speed up the removal of snow from neighbourhoods.”

Sunday’s 20-centimetre snowfall eclipsed a 60-year record. Crews worked overtime throughout the weekend to combat the accumulation.

“These temporary steps will allow our crews in carrying out their work,” says Mayor Given. “Addressing this issue is the top priority for Council and Administration and we applaud crews for their efforts to date. Residents will be informed daily of progress.”

Crews are working in three eight-hour shifts, augmented by contracted equipment seven days a week as long as required. The City invests about $6 million annually in snow ploughing and ice control.

Media enquiries may be directed to:
Mayor Bill Given

City of Grande Prairie Snow Removal Fact Sheet – January 19, 2011

• Crews worked overtime throughout the weekend to combat the record snowfall. These forces were ramped up with contractor equipment on Priority 1 roads.


The City’s Snow Removal Policy calls for Priority 1 & 2 routes to be ploughed first. These include:
Priority 1 – Major Arterial – 100 St, 84 Ave, 68 Ave, Resources Rd, Hwy 40 - Wapiti Road, etc.
Priority 2 – Transit Bus Routes and Major Collector Roadways; Crystal Lake Drive, Mission Heights Drive, Poplar Drive, Royal Oaks Drive, etc.

• The City has advised residents to remove ALL vehicles from these Permanent Snow Routes (Priority 1 and Priority 2) immediately.

• City Crews are presently working on all of our Bus Routes and vehicles parked on these routes are a hazard and make the clearing of snow very slow and difficult or impossible.


• The City is employing six graders, four plough trucks (dump trucks with either plough on the front or under the belly), five front-end loaders with angle blades, five City dump trucks, four contracted dump trucks and one snow blower for clearing windrows. 

• The City has secured 12 additional pieces of heavy equipment – six graders and six front end loaders – to supplement the fleet to expedite snow removal operations. Additional trucks have been hired to assist snow hauling operations.


• Typically, residential streets are ploughed with driveways being cleared and the snow piles being stored in windrows or on rights of way.

• Residents may need to assist by removing ploughed snow from the ends of their driveways.

• A temporary relaxation of the Noise Bylaw will allow snow clearing operations to continue past 10 p.m. on Priority 2 routes.


• The City’s total budget for snow ploughing and ice control is about $6 million.

• There are 130 kilometres of Priority 1 and 2 roads and 180 kilometres of residential streets to clear for 310 kilometres total.

• Up to 30,000 truckloads of snow must be hauled to the snow dump to remove the accumulation to date. By comparison in the winter of 2006-2007 (a record snowfall year), 75,000 truckloads were hauled away between Oct. 27 and April 2007.

• In average conditions, it takes up to six weeks to do a complete cycle of snow removal in the City with only municipal forces.

Saturday Disruption at 84th Ave & Wapiti Rd

Despite what you might guess given out weather it's not snow related...

"Media Release
January 21, 2011

Lane Closures on Wapiti Rd (108 St) at 84 Ave Intersection

Residents are advised that Bell Canada is installing services to a School Saturday and Sunday, January 22-23. The company is going to be performing service locates at the intersection of Wapiti Rd (108 St) and 84 Ave.

Heavy equipment will be working in the intersection over the course of the weekend. Work in the intersection will be performed during the hours of 9:30-11:30 a.m., 1:30-4:30 p.m. to minimize disturbance to the flow of traffic.

“Drivers should be advised that through traffic will be disrupted during these temporary lane closures,” says Engineering Field Inspector, Claude Laurin.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience during this temporary inconvenience.”


Media enquiries may be directed to:
Claude Laurin
Engineering Field Inspector

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Moving on With York Hotel Site

Since council directed the city to purchase the York Hotel I've been focused on getting on to the point where we can start to move forward on getting something new built on the site.

We had to move through transitioning the residential and commercial tennants in the building to new homes. We had to go through inspections of the building, removal the hazardous materials it contained, an environmental site assessment (it got a clean bill of health) and finally demolition and removal of the building.

Late last year, just before Christmas, Council held a planning session to figure out what our priorities were with the now vacant land (both the York Hotel site and the Germaine Park site), what our vision is for that area of downtown and what we'd like to achieve with property. Out of that session a report came to our GGS committee yesterday that laid out the next steps in moving forward.

Essentially we've set up an open process where any party can submit their proposal for developing the site. We have not closed the door to anything at this point and we're looking to see what the business community thinks might be feasible. We'll be open to all-comers and looking for proposals far and wide. When they come in council will get together as a group to review the proposals and determine which we'd like to invite to move to the next step which would get in to a greater level of detail and be more formal. Essentially you could say we're looking to "pre-qualify" the proposals.

So everyone is clear, Council has agreed on a set of five broad principles that we'd weigh the proposals against to measure them. The 5 (with my comments in italics)are:

1. The proposal meets the concepts within the Downtown Enhancement Plan and the Municipal Development Plan.
(We've already approved these plans and they've received plenty of public input. Any proposal should support the goals and ideas contained in these documents.)

2. Explain the overall financial benefit to the City
(The city invested nearly $2m to buy the property and clean it up. We want to know what kind of financial return any proposal will generate. This could be just the purchase price someone would offer, but it could also relate to what kind of taxes any new property would generate. For example someone could offer more money up front to buy the property but build only a small building that doesn't generate a lot of property taxes. OR there might be a proposal that puts a low value on the land but builds a larger building that pays more property taxes each year. Keeping in mind that it'll pay property taxes forever that long term value of a proposal like that might be worth more to the city than one with a higher up-front purchase price.)

3. Project timelines
(How soon can you get something built? We want to see something build sooner rather than later. It's no benefit to the community - or our tax base - to have the property sit empty so we want to hear how quickly any proposal would expect to start and finish construction)

4. Developer’s experience in projects of this nature, including ability to complete, and proven financial expertise
(With something like this we want to know if the person we're talking to actually has the expertise to do what they are saying and, just as importantly, do they actually have the money in the bank to do what they say that can. We're looking for serious people who have the proven ability and financial backing to complete a project like this.)

5. Explain the increase in density of the proposal and impact on activity in
the Downtown

(We want to see something that adds activity and life to our city's core. We also believe that the land should be used to it's maximum potential and should be the kind of development which speaks to the future of our downtown. It is just an office building that's closed after 5pm or does it also have commercial/retail space that may be open in to the evening? Does it have any residential? How will it build on the activity generated by the Farmer's Market?)

Hopefully we'll launch the process towards the end of this month and interested parties will be able to pick up a package with details on the site, the process how to submit a proposal. They'll then have 60 days to put together a proposal which will then be reviewed by council using the principles above. Council will have the ability to reject any or all proposals if we don't see anything that comes close. We'll also have the ability to select as many as we see fit and invite them to move on to the next step where they can provide a greater level of detail.

I think this allows us the greatest amount of flexibility and allows developers to enter the process without having to commit a great detail of resources to the first step - after all it costs something to put these kind of proposals together.

I'm looking forward to kicking this off and seeing what kind of innovative proposals come forward.

View City DownTown Property in a larger map

Development Proposals Anticipated In April
Media Release
January 12, 2011

The General Government Services Committee today recommended City Council initiate a Request For Information (RFI) process for developing downtown lands owned by the municipality.

The RFI would be issued for development concepts for the former York Hotel and/or Germain Park lands. City Council will consider the recommendation at its Jan. 24 meeting.

It would be open for 60 days and must address five principles. Proposals must meet the concepts within the Downtown Enhancement and Municipal Development plans. They will also explain the overall financial benefit to the City and include project timelines.

Submissions must also detail the developer’s experience in successfully completing projects of this nature and their proven financial expertise. As well, they will indicate the increase in density associated with the proposal and project its impact on Downtown activity.

“Council has underlined the importance of the development of these lands moving ahead as soon as possible,” says Economic Development Officer Brian Glavin. “We will promote the Request for Information across the country in a variety of media to maximize our opportunity for proposals.”

This strategy results from a visioning session Council had in mid-December.


Related Posts with Thumbnails