Social agencies and community groups who attended City of Edmonton consultation sessions last week expressed excitement about the Edmonton Galleria Project potential to be an asset to their organizations and the people they serve. However, they cautioned that planning input and program partnerships were keys to realizing this potential.
We were pleased to hear this because we understand the Edmonton Galleria Project must be an integrated part of the community in order to be successful. Rather than displacing people, it must be a community builder….a welcoming space regardless of income or circumstance. We recognize that to do this we must involve our neighbours and others who may be impacted early in the process, not after the decisions have been made.
People at the consultations saw significant opportunities in working together to continue revitalization of the area, do community programming on the Galleria plaza and in the theatres, work with U of A students and faculty on music and art outreach, support community organizations and artists in need, and generally create something that has great value to a host of people.
The discussions did raise flags about the impact on the poor and homeless, congestion, rent pressures, safety, and other issues. However, people were confident these could be addressed and resolved through dialogue, collaboration and open communications. To ensure we stay connected, transparent and collaborative, it is our intent to follow-up with stakeholders after the City’s consultations are done in February.