Edmonton

Edmonton city council approves affordable housing proposal beside Keheewin School 

City council voted 11 to 2 in favour of building a 135-unit affordable housing project in the community of Keheewin Park.

135 units will be built in vacant field

Edmonton city council voted 11-2 for a 135-unit affordable housing project for the community of Keheewin Park. (Natasha Riebe/CBC)

A proposal to build affordable housing beside an elementary school on the city's south side was approved Wednesday evening by Edmonton city councillors.

Council voted 11-2 in favour of the proposal to build 135 affordable housing units in an empty lot beside Keheewin School in the community of Keheewin Park.

The vote passed after what's been a lengthy public process dating back to 2015.

Some residents in the south Edmonton neighbourhood had argued the proposal would cause traffic problems and would be located too close to the school.

Coun. Michael Walters, who represents the area, voted in favour of the project. 

'The city's changing'

"Ultimately the site went through a lot of rigour in this public hearing, the proposal on the site was deemed appropriate by council today," said Walters, who has attended several public hearings on the matter. 

"The city's changing. We're trying to build a more dense, compact city," Walters added.

Walters said the Keheewin proposal is important for the city's planning goals. 

"From a planning perspective, we've changed our views on that over the years and we're trying to fill the city in. We take advantage of pieces of land like this when they come along. It's still pretty rare to get pieces of land like this," Walters said.

'Call that place their home' 

The site was made surplus by the Edmonton Public School board in 2009. 

In 2015, the city started talks about what kind of housing was needed there. 

Initially a proposal was made to build 182 units on the site beside the school, but concerns were raised at a public hearing where more than 100 people from the community showed up.

The proposal approved Wednesday includes a mix of low-rise apartment housing and row housing, totalling 135 units. 

"Hopefully it's a very successful project for the neighbourhood and for those families who are going to call that place their home," added Walters.

A date hasn't been set on when construction will start.

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