The community of East Village has had its share of struggles over the years and I’m proud to have initiated the current transformation that’s taking place. Left to languish over decades, Calgary had a unique opportunity to rehabilitate a large riverfront property in centre of the city.
Since City Council created Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) in 2007, key milestones in the redevelopment of East Village and The Rivers District have ranged from bold to subtle. Critical utility upgrades and raised roadways are invisible to the casual observer, but they plant the seeds for a sustainable, safe East Village and are made possible because of an innovative financing model, the Community Revitalization Levy (CRL).
Obvious signs of change include the first two phases of RiverWalk, the spectacular urban promenade that is making East Village a recreation destination for all Calgarians, the new 4th Street Underpass, which has connected us to Stampede Park, Victoria Park and downtown, and of course, St. Patrick’s Bridge and Island which is set to become a beautiful oasis in the middle of the Bow River.
These infrastructure improvements have made possible the biggest change of all, the bright ‘SOLD’ signs on large parcels of land in the community which signal that our careful investment in the neighbourhood is being recognized by investors and developers. To date CMLC has attracted more than $1 Billion of planned development to East Village.
Infrastructure and construction work in East Village will continue at a robust pace in the next several years thanks to CMLC’s efforts. St. Patrick’s Island Bridge is nearing completion, work continues on RiverWalk, and the construction for St. Patrick’s Island starts this summer. CMLC has also assumed project-lead responsibility for the New Central Library project, and an extensive refurbishment of the Simmons Building will soon begin.
Creation of infrastructure for public enjoyment has been key to CMLC’s place-making efforts, and programming these newly minted public spaces has been central to bringing the neighbourhood to life.
As important as improvements are to welcoming new residents into the East Village neighbourhood, so is maintaining a relationship between CMLC and current residents. CMLC is a regular participant in meetings held by the East Village Neighbourhood Association and is a contributor to their community newsletter EV VIEW, which gives progress updates and information about community events. CMLC hosts frequent information sessions with the residents to provide updates on the master plan.
Over the last six years, I am proud to say that CMLC has accomplished a great deal, and not only in terms of completing infrastructure projects, securing land deals and reinvigorating a long-neglected community. Along the way, a unique team has been assembled whose expertise and vision can be transferred from the redevelopment of East Village and the Rivers District to other neighbourhoods faced with unique challenges. City Council recognizes that the CMLC team has the experience to take a critical second look at struggling neighbourhoods, can find creative solutions, and has confidence in the execution. CMLC is uniquely positioned for continued success in the Rivers District and to give new life to Calgary’s downtown.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.