The Place To Be Tonight

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My family and I will be showing our support for local food tonight at City Hall (6 o’clock). Council will be discussing a plan for future land use. The Greater Edmonton Alliance (GEA) has influenced the plan so that it includes provisions to protect high quality farmland that is within city limits.

I hope that GEA is also arguing against the plan’s ridiculous idea that 75% of future growth should occur as urban sprawl (discussed more here). Anyone who has witnessed the many vacant lots and underutilized spaces in the city’s core can tell that there is plenty of room for growth/revitalization without ANY more urban sprawl.

Anyway, GEA has it right on local food. That’s why we’ll be joining a few hundred other concerned citizens to pack city hall tonight.

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Conrad,

Your post seems to be emotional; if I didn't read any of your scientific posts I'd be inclined to dismiss you as a fanatic.

Given the political nature of your post, I'd like to quote the motto of Pierre Trudeau: "Reason over Passion".

I believe the science to be firmly on my side.

This actually is a very political website, if you define politics as the process by which groups of people make collective decisions.

I am advocating my point of view that the planet is in big trouble, and that we have the tools needed to largely fix the problem. Given that we mostly choose not use these tools, my advocacy inevitably becomes political.

I invite you to please not insult me with the word fanatic in the future. My mind can be changed, and my opinions are based on scientific consensus and fact.

I don't know that "reason over passion" is the applicable phrase - maybe "reason over doing things the same way we've always have" would be better.  Twenty or thirty years ago a development plan that was based on 75% development of new neighbourhoods on what otherwise would have been farmland might have been OK, but today it's not very smart.  Why?  Firstly, as Conrad noted, there is available space within developed neighbourhoods.  Secondly, in many older neighbourhoods there are houses that are nearing the end of their usable life (my own included).  Why not work on a way to get more people to do what Conrad is doing - replacing an old, inefficient house with new super-efficient, flexible houses?  Thirdly:  Partially due to urban sprawl, the local school board has been left with numerous underutilized schools which makes it more expensive to provide education.  As evidence of this, the Edmonton Public School Board is reviewing the viability of 70 schools in "mature" neighboudhoods.  (See http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Parents+warned+more+than+schools+under+review/2619796/story.html)  Finally, there's the question whether the taxes from new subdivisions actually pay for the cost of the infrastructure they use (road & sidewalk maintenance and transit service).  Check out the "Understanding Sprawl" report from the David Suzuki foundation: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/Sprawl.asp

Overall, Conrad makes a very good arguement.  Ralph, I'm surprised that someone like you who is willing to push the boundaries of home building wouldn't automatically support Conrad's post.

Ken

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