On April 28th, the South Edmonton Business Association (SEBA) had the opportunity to welcome the Mayor of the City of Edmonton, Don Iveson, to speak at our luncheon.
The focus of his short speech and the Q&A period was around the future of Northlands. During the conversation, a few themes arose.
Ever Changing Dynamic
With the opening of Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton, the major revenue source for Northlands has moved. The Oilers Entertainment Group was not a huge source of revenue, but concerts and special events were the draw to Northlands and the Coliseum. Very few events have been held at the Coliseum since September, 2016. The original proposal for the Coliseum was to have it changed to 7 sheets of ice and host major tournaments. There is now a new proposal being evaluated with Hockey Canada where the Coliseum would host 4 sheets of ice, a dry land training area, and other facilities. The Coliseum would become a major training centre for Hockey Canada.
Northlands and the Shaw Conference Centre currently compete against each other to host major conventions and conferences. If you look at other major cities across North America, is there another city which owns two conference facilities that compete against each other for the same events? The Mayor proposed that Northlands and the Shaw Conference Centre (Division of Edmonton Economic Development Corporation), at the very least, work together to get larger events.
The Northlands site is a prime location for development. The city has a goal to increase infill development to 25% of total development. The Northlands proposal has residential high and low-rise housing along with townhouse-style developments. Another portion of the development would be the building of at least one hotel on the site. Northlands is currently losing major events to Winnipeg and Saskatoon due to the fact there is no high quality hotel directly on the conference site. If the Hockey Canada proposal is adopted, a second hotel could be constructed to take in the demand from hockey tournaments.
The governments of Alberta and Canada have recently proposed the development of a food strategy. The root of Northlands has always been agriculture. If Northlands was to increase its emphasis on agriculture, coupled with the senior governments urge for a food strategy, it is very conceivable that Edmonton could become the Food Capital of Canada. The agriculture emphasis would move past hosting events like Farm Fair. Everything agricultural would be looked at. It is conceivable that at Northlands, there is a vertical garden growing food! The Edmonton International Airport has also built itself as a logistic hub. That capability could be leveraged by Northlands.
The future of Northlands is not something that will be decided in the next few weeks. The site is very much a canvas which can be used as seen fit. As Mayor Iveson mentioned, Northlands is very much a part of the community of Northern Edmonton and the wishes and desires of those communities need to be heard and understood.
What was your biggest take away from the luncheon?
Have a great week.
Kevin – Social Media Chair - SEBA
Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.
Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.