Edmonton

Katz Group proposes 'offensive' gravel parking lot behind Rogers Place

The Katz group's latest proposed development in Ice District isn't a new highrise, but rather a gravel parking lot. Concerned residents at an open house on Monday said they were "very, very unhappy," to hear the parking lot was even being considered.

Proposed parking lot would only remain in place for 10 years, planners say

Council approved a temporary gravel parking lot for 600 vehicles on land north of Rogers Place. (Emily Fitzpatrick/ CBC News)

The Katz group latest proposed development in Ice District isn't a new highrise, but rather a gravel parking lot.

Residents at an open house on Monday said they were "very, very unhappy," to hear the parking lot was even under consideration.

The Katz group hopes to temporarily rezone a large swath of undeveloped land just north of the new arena to create a temporary 800-stall parking space for fans and spectators visiting Rogers Place.

Right now, the land is designated to eventually be developed with commercial space and high-density apartment and condo buildings.

"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," said Degan Richards, a long-time downtown resident.

He and others at the meeting said the added parking will encourage more people to drive, rather than take transit to games and concerts.

The Katz group is asking for the temporary parking while it works on a 2,200-stall underground parking garage downtown. The parkade won't be finished for several years.

While the temporary designation would only last for 10 years, many residents said they didn't trust the sunset clause, since it could always be extended.

"Considering how much city council in the past has completely caved to the demands of the Katz Group … if they agree to this, it would just be flying in the face of everything that they used to sell it," Richards said.

Right now the land is mostly undeveloped. Stantec planner Nancy McDonald said the land will be more attractive once turned into a parking lot, rather than a pile of dirt.

"This is actually going to make it look a little bit better, and make it be a little more attractive until the site gets redeveloped over time," McDonald said.

She said people can expect some landscaping and lighting to be installed on the gravel lot.

City administration is still studying the proposal before putting a recommendation forward to council. City staff are looking for input from the public in the meantime.

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