City aims to transform old Rossdale power plant site

Early plans include walkways, docks and possibility of retail and apartments around historic power plant

The City of Edmonton plans to turn the area around the old Rossdale power plant into a destination in the river valley, complete with docks, walkways and the possibility of small shops and restaurants.

"It holds all the potential to create a regional destination," said Rob Marchak, Edmonton’s Director of Urban Planning.

"I mean, one of the things with the [new Walterdale] bridge and all of these components -  we're also creating a new entrance to the downtown [that is] very much a signature piece."

He adds that the historic brick EPCOR building, which sits overlooking the North Saskatchewan, could be turned into a cultural space. A twelve-story apartment building could also be part of the plan.

Part of the powerplant, including its three distinctive smokestacks, was demolished in 2011 after the plant was decomissioned. The smaller building, which remains standing, is a historic site.

The area also served as a gathering place for aboriginals for thousands of years and the original site of Fort Edmonton.

Marchak says the plan is still in the design stage, and funding isn’t in place. The city will have to discuss the ideas with the residents who live in the area.

"A series of walkways and view decks down there. May even be some commercial involved if we determine that's what's needed or wanted down here," he said.

Rossdale Community League President Lynn Parish says she’s encouraged by the initial plans, but wants to make sure that the development doesn’t overwhelm the river valley.

"We will be concerned when development takes place to ensure it is very much in line with what the zoning says...that twelve storeys don't become 14," Parish said.

The city is currently in negotiations with EPCOR over the power plant lands.