Mayor Don Iveson 'very disappointed' with Ice District parking lot proposal
'It's not my vision for downtown at all'
Mayor Don Iveson wants to put the brakes on a massive gravel parking lot proposed for Edmonton's Ice District.
The Katz Group hopes to rezone a large tract of undeveloped land just north of the new arena and create an 800-stall parking space for fans.
Though the plan has yet to be tabled in council chambers, Iveson said he won't support the proposal.
"I can't speak for council, and we have to keep an open mind until we hear the whole application, but I will say that I was disappointed that the idea even got floated," Iveson said during a Monday morning interview on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.
"It's not my vision for downtown at all."
Nearby residents were equally displeased when the plan for the largely undeveloped lot was unveiled during a June 20 open house.
"It's offensive, because it flies in the face of the entire line that we were sold when they were trying to convince us that the arena was a good development," Degan Richards, a long-time downtown resident, said during the recent public forum.
The Katz Group is asking for the temporary parking while it works on a 2,200-stall underground parking garage downtown, but it will take several years for construction on the parkade to be completed.
The property is currently earmarked for high-density commercial and residential development, including apartment and condo buildings. However, if the application gets approved, any further development on the lot could be stalled for up to a decade.
Iveson said when the city decided on zoning for the arena district, the availability of parking for arena patrons was not considered a problem.
"There are 18,000 stalls of parking already in existence around the arena site that during the day are in use," Iveson said. "But after hours, when you have concerts and hockey games, there's a ton of it available.
"There wasn't going to be a pressing need for on-site parking."
Iveson said the city is keen to revitalize the downtown core, and building a parking lot — even a somewhat temporary one — would have the opposite effect.
"Providing this as accessory parking precisely when we've made these catalytic investments in the downtown ... to actually take down buildings and support the creation of new gravel lots? I don't think that's what council had in mind."
City administration must first examine the proposal before it's presented to council for consideration.