This Just In: Urban Sprawl Sucks!



Urban Sprawl is the bane of Edmonton’s existence. I wrote a letter to my councillors and mayor on the subject. I invite you to do the same.

Mayor Stephen Mandel

City of Edmonton

November 14, 2009

Re: Municipal Development Plan

Dear Mayor Mandel,

I was disappointed to hear about the contents of the Municipal Development Plan as reported by Scott McKeen in the Edmonton Journal on November 13. Specifically, I am very much against city council’s plan to greatly increase urban sprawl by allowing 75 percent of future growth to occur in new subdivisions in and around the outer ring road (Henday Drive).

Urban sprawl is a net financial drag on a city in the long run, especially compared to that same development being conducted within the currently developed area of said city. Therefore, by allowing new sprawl, city council is wasting taxpayers’ money.

It is especially frustrating that this inefficient use of money creates neighbourhoods that do not enhance the city culturally or aesthetically, and lock people into long-term patterns of living that are unhealthy and environmentally unfriendly. Furthermore, every time council approves a new neighbourhood, it weakens mine and reduces the services that my community receives.

I believe that, instead of living in fear that outlying municipalities will attract new citizens who want to live in the suburbs, Edmonton should market itself as an efficient, livable, walkable city with excellent transit and infrastructure. If that kind of city isn’t worth living in for some people because it does not have a dozen new suburban neighbourhoods for them to choose from, by all means let them waste another city’s money. Let another city run empty buses through their neighbourhoods and try to finance the repair of its sprawled out infrastructure.

I strongly urge you to push for zero percent new sprawl in our city. Let us boldly embrace our city’s developed limits as they stand today. We have dozens of neighbourhoods with room for hundreds of thousands of new citizens within our currently developed boundaries.

These neighbourhoods will only be beautiful, attractive, properly-serviced, healthy places with well-kept infrastructure if we stop urban sprawl in Edmonton immediately.


Conrad Nobert


Keep Edmonton's Trolleys

This is the number 5 Westmount. It's a new trolley bus - one of those buses that's attached to the electrical grid and produces zero street-level emissions. City council is currently debating a report that advises scrapping the entire trolley bus system.

Myles Kitagawa, one of my favorite all-around people and one of Edmonton's green heroes, sent me an email a ways back suggesting that we (the Toxics Watch Society, of which he is the Associate Director and I am the President), should make a submission to city council about the issue. Our angle would probably be a novel one in the debate: Peak Oil.

If you're not turned on to Peak Oil yet, it's time to get going (see this movie, and read this book, for starters). I think that Peak Oil and climate change will be the drivers of the 21st century. I know, I know, I wish that Ipods and flat-screen TVs were going to be the big factors too, but that's just not in the cards.

Edmonton needs to begin thinking about what happens when transportation fuels hit $5/litre. Among the many things that we could do to prepare, having a transit system not totally dependent on diesel fuel would go a long way. Here is most of what Myles and I submitted to city council regarding the electric trolley issue:

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