Ideas and visions of an evolving neighbourhood

In October 1994, the residents of Belgravia, McKernan and Parkallen, working with City of Edmonton staff, developed a set of vision statements (along with supporting principles and recommendations for implementation) as part of a community development plan:

On housing and residential development:

Generally maintain the low-density residential character of the area while at the same time providing opportunities for the sensitive integration of higher density infill redevelopment on a selective basis, for a wide range of housing needs.

On “circulation”:

Enhance an urban lifestyle that promotes walking, cycling and the use of public transit for residents and non-residents, and which minimizes the use of the private automobile.

On the urban landscape:

Preserve and enhance the village atmosphere within the neighbourhoods of Belgravia, McKernan and Parkallen… a place where residents may safely walk and socialize with their neighbours in pleasant surroundings, whether it be in the parks, on the streets or at one of the neighbourhood business centres. A community where mutual respect and concern for the well-being and safety of others is commonplace.

 In his forward to the report, Bradley Odsen, Belgravia resident and chair of the plan’s committee wrote that this was “not only a plan for the development of our community for the foreseeable future”, but was also “a breaking with tradition” by Edmonton City Council “in enabling local neighbourhoods to chart their own course.”

Much has happened since 1994. With the current Transit Oriented Development (TOD) project, we again face challenges and opportunities in the evolution of the neighbourhood.  While those 1994 vision statements (as below) have largely, I think, stood the test of time, it is important to look at emerging TOD recommendations in relation to this earlier work and connect it with the way Belgravia residents see their neighbourhood evolving now and into the future.  The TOD project is an important aspect of this evolution, but it should not be the only forum where Belgravians consider and discuss the neighbourhood’s future development.

In the past year, besides the TOD project, the Belgravia Community League board has discussed the vision for Belgravia as a neighbourhood and what the community league’s mission and work would be in relation to that vision.  The board’s working vision and mission statements (and corresponding goals) fit well with the 1994 statements:

Vision statement: Belgravia is a sustainable neighbourhood, and a connected, engaged, and diverse community

Mission statement: The Belgravia Community League is a catalyst to create and sustain quality of life for the whole community through community engagement, programs, facilities, and advocacy

We’ll fill you in on the goals and actions for a future edition of The Belgravian, but suffice to say that these draft statements, along with the 1994 statements and the forthcoming TOD recommendations are all elements for further discussion on Belgravia’s development as a neighbourhood.

Keep an eye out for further information on the presentation of the TOD recommendations (expected in November) and further neighbourhood consultation on Belgravia’s evolution.  You can do this by subscribing to for updates.

You can find BCL board’s draft vision and mission statements, from the board’s initial planning work in 2011, here.

– David Ridley, President, BCL


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