The Horsehill area in the Northeast of Edmonton is believed by local food and urban agriculture advocates to be home to the richest remaining agricultural soils within city limits, and the Area Structure Plan (ASP) for its development sets the tone and precedent for the building of Edmonton’s remaining suburban residential neighborhoods.
The Public Hearing about the Horsehill ASP is scheduled for February 25 and 26, 2013 (1:30-9:30pm both days). If you’re reading this, you’ll want to be there.
At the Local Good, we believe that use of the Agricultural Reserve idea described in the recently-passed Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy, combined with innovative developments built using cutting-edge sustainability principles, could satisfy all the stakeholders in the Northeast with a minimum of compromise. If more suburbs must be built, we hope City Council will use the tools at its disposal to preserve as much prime agricultural land as possible. If more suburbs must be built, we hope City Council will use the levers in its hands to ensure that the new suburbs don’t suck.
(An example of the sort of development we’d like to see is Larch Park, in the walkable new-urbanist Terwillegar Heights ASP, which uses sustainable architecture, landscaping with native plants, and a denser land-use pattern to set aside an additional wildlife reserve adjacent to the MacTaggart Nature Sanctuary on Whitemud Creek. Imagine an urban agriculture version of that, with covetable eco-homes, edible landscaping, public orchards, community gardens, existing farms on agricultural reserves, and the Food Hub mandated by the Food and Ag Strategy.)
Our colleagues at Friends Of Farmers and the Greater Edmonton Alliance’s Local Food Team urge you to sign this petition, asking Edmonton City Council for further study to gather information about alternative development scenarios and true costs and benefits before they approve the Horsehill ASP. Be sure to use the comment section to personalize your response and explain your concerns to Council.