Published in the August 7th issue of The Edmonton Sun. News
Firms vie to revamp muni lands
Redevelopment of the City Centre Airport is moving ahead as five design firms were announced as finalists in the airport redesign competition Friday.
The companies were among 33 worldwide vying for the chance to turn the airport site into an environmentally sustainable, mixed-use and transit-oriented development for more than 30,000 residents.
The final five are Sweco International AB from Stockholm, Sweden, KCAP Architects & Planners from Rotterdam, Netherlands, BNIM from Kansas City, USA, and Perkins + Will from Vancouver, B.C, and all firms have local partners.
“This is a veritable whose who of the design, architectural, and engineering world,” said Simon Farbrother, city manager. “The work quality that they have provided to us demonstrates not only that they have the innovative ability to design something that is world-leading in sustainability and family redevelopment, but is also something that is achievable.”
The announcement comes while Envision Edmonton is working to collect nearly 80,000 signatures by the end of the month to force a plebiscite to keep the City Centre Airport open.
Officials say since the petition has not yet been submitted, the airport redesign process will proceed in the timeline as originally planned.
“About a year ago, council made a decision to work on the land. We’re continuing along that journey,” Farbrother said.
Coun. Ben Henderson says the step forward in the design process is necessary despite the circulation of the petition.
“We need to get on with it,” he said. “One of the things that frustrates me about where we are right now is we keep on dithering. We’ve dithered for 20, 30 years on this decision and it’s done nothing but damage to the city by that dithering.”
But Charles Allard with Envision Edmonton said if the redesign is to go ahead, it should include a working airport.
“Our plan is much more viable, balanced. It creates to place to play, live and work. (The city) forgot the place to work in their designs… I think all they are trying to do is kill the airport,” Allard said.
He adds that the group is in the 60,000 signature-range of their campaign.