The saying, “So goes your downtown, so goes your city.” came from the awareness that downtowns are the economic engines of a city. They are the centres in which our social connections generate new ideas, innovations and ventures. Downtowns are the heart of a city.
For decades we’ve known that, “Our region’s portal to the world is downtown Edmonton, whether we live or work in Ottewell, Glenora, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan or even Leduc or Nisku — it is by our downtown that our entire region will be judged and measured.”
So many of the people I talk to tell me that our downtown is in rough shape. With the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of office employees and post-secondary students are working and studying in their homes. Every day we see downtown businesses closing their doors and there are temporary restrictions on the things that make downtown so special — nightlife, events, dining and gathering for experiences. While vaccines are available, it’s going to be a long time before we see the kind of vibrancy and commerce that is key to the success of not only downtown, but to Edmonton as a whole.
Without a thriving downtown, and its enormous impact to the entire region and province, we are in for years of economic hardships and we risk losing the incredible gains we’ve made in developing our city core.
Designate 109 Street to 97 Street and 104 Ave to 100 Ave as Edmonton’s Central Business Neighbourhood (CBN) and enable the following to catalyze business, support an innovation ecosystem, simplify and accelerate market-driven development, and encourage more people to visit and stay downtown.
A vibrant, thriving business district in the heart of our city, one that Edmontonians are proud of. More residents see downtown as an appealing and exciting place to spend time in. Our city’s streamlined permitting and licensing services enable entrepreneurs to set-up and grow their businesses in our city’s core. Our engaged technology and innovation community feels the value of the community connections and collisions, which result in new ideas and partnerships. The events, nightlife, restaurants, arts and culture breathe life into our heart and demonstrate the DNA of our city. The central neighbourhood of Edmonton looks better, is safer and welcoming to visitors from across our city, the region and around the world.