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Downtown Recovery Coalition: advocating for a safe and vibrant downtown Edmonton for all

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About the Downtown

We all have different reasons for caring about downtown Edmonton, but we are united in our passion for this city, and our belief that together as a community we can revitalize the core of our city. Our goal is to use our collective experience, expertise, and voice to help build a vibrant & thriving downtown that is an engine of Edmonton’s economy and a welcoming place for all. The Downtown Recovery Coalition is led by a Steering Committee which represents a cross-section of the downtown community, including community groups, non-profit, and business leaders. Variously, our Steering Committee members work downtown, live downtown, provide services downtown and do business downtown.
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History ​

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In 2016, the Downtown Vibrancy Task Force formed organically in the community, when 16 people gathered to work on integrating the new arena downtown, identifying friction points with businesses, and developing bike lanes downtown. They functioned as an advocacy group for these projects and dissolved as a group once those goals were met.

The Downtown Recovery Coalition developed during the pandemic with some of the same people, and a new mission to help facilitate economic growth and vitality downtown as we recover from the impacts of the last several years.

The Downtown Recovery Coalition is focused on three pillars which together will support vibrancy and vitality in the heart of our city:

Safety and Security

Ensuring that people feel safe when they are downtown is critical. Physical intimidation, abusive behaviour, and all forms of violence are unacceptable anywhere, and cannot be allowed downtown. Specific steps must be taken by the Edmonton Police Service, City Council and other entities to enhance personal safety and security downtown if we’re to have any chance of getting this right.

Cleanliness and Infrastructure

Much of the physical infrastructure of downtown is in disrepair. Sidewalks are crumbling, holes go unfilled, trees are damaged, construction barriers abound, and many sidewalks are littered with garbage. As a community we must to better to create and maintain welcoming infrastructure that makes our downtown the sort of place you’d like to spend time.


Projects that transform our downtown landscape can bring new people, new energy and new ideas to our downtown. Building a downtown arena and entertainment district, a bike lane network, and expanded LRT access are all transformational projects that reimagined how our downtown can be used. What are the next generation of such projects, and how might they support the post-pandemic recovery of downtown Edmonton?
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Downtown Edmonton

Downtown Edmonton is the beating heart of our city. It is a centre for business, finance and professional services, an exciting entertainment district, and the seat of government for both the Alberta Legislature and Edmonton City Hall. It is home to 13,000 people and a workplace for 60,000. Less than 1% of the geographic area of Edmonton is downtown, but the land there comprises 10% of the municipal tax base.

Any downtown has an outsized role in shaping how a city is perceived by locals and visitors alike. It is critical that the issues facing downtown Edmonton area are addressed in a holistic and comprehensive way so that all Edmontonians feel safe, secure and proud to be a part of the action when they visit downtown.

Downtown Edmonton is served by a Business Improvement Area (the Edmonton Downtown Business Association), and you can learn more about all of the best things to do, see, and eat in Downtown as well as all of the great work that the EDBA is doing at edmontondowntown.com

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Specific Actions

Here are the specific asks that we have identified as priorities for all three orders of government & the Edmonton Police Service:

Short Term

Better patrols and security enforcement at LRT station entrances

We’ve heard repeatedly, loud and clear, that students, workers, and visitors don’t feel safe entering or exiting the LRT system downtown when large groups block the stairways while engaging in anti-social behaviours such as smoking, open illicit drug use, and verbal harassment and intimidation. Efforts to date to improve safety in the transit system have not been sufficient to solve this problem.

More Community & Solution-oriented Policing

A more visible community policing presence downtown would contribute to general safety and security for all downtown users and visitors. Having more officers who are proactive in their patrols on foot and on bikes, who are committed to partnering with the downtown community and are experienced with trauma-informed interactions and conflict de-escalation, can make a big difference in ensuring our public spaces and businesses are safe for everyone.

Repair crumbling infrastructure

We need to ensure that sidewalks and roads are clean and in good repair and that planters, benches, trees, garbage cans and other small pieces of public infrastructure are regularly maintained so that, on the whole, the appearance of our downtown is clean and welcoming.

Accelerated removal of construction material

There often appears to be no sense of urgency for construction teams downtown to remove and minimize the blockades and barriers they set up. A principle of causing the minimum disruption to the orderly flow of pedestrians and traffic should be implemented and enforced.

Medium Term

Crisis diversion response times

Several social agencies provide valuable crisis diversion services downtown, helping and supporting people in crisis to access the services they need. More resources are needed to ensure these teams have the staff and resources to respond in a timely manner when called upon.

Transitional spaces for those struggling with addictions on 
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As a community, if we seek to welcome and support people on a journey out of homelessness and addiction, we need to provide them with transitional housing and shelter options to bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing. All orders of government must work together to ensure those in Edmonton who need this support can access it.

Long Term

Long-term recovery spaces

Long term recovery spaces for people struggling with addictions and homelessness are needed as part of the mix of supports and services that will provide all Edmontonians an opportunity to live with dignity and a roof over their head.

The DRC is working with and will continue working with the relevant decision makers to make progress on each objective, but we would also love to hear input from the community. What do you think can be done to revitalize our downtown? Let’s work together to raise awareness of issues and, as a community, get our downtown back to where we all know it needs to be.
DRC Successes

Edmonton city council approved 3-year funding formula for police

This funding formula provides stable and consistent funding to police, allowing for long-term resource planning to provide needed services.

King Thunderbird Centre receives Class A Development Permit

Boyle Street has received a Class A development permit for okimaw peyesew kamik (the King Thunderbird Centre), after a previous setback at the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. The DRC wrote a letter in support of this purpose-built facility.

Council votes against bylaw that would have kept 102nd avenue closed to vehicles.

City Council voted 7-5 against a bylaw that would have enabled the continued closure of 102nd Ave between 103rd and 99th street for another year. The DRC advocated the risks of this to council and are pleased to see it will be opening back up.

Province Deploys sheriffs to downtown Edmonton

After significant efforts advocating for increased law enforcement in the core, the Government of Alberta announced a 15-week pilot partnership between the Alberta Sheriffs and the Edmonton Police Service that will help deter and respond to crime and social disorder.

Council votes in favor of amending Bylaw 8353

City Council voted 9-3 in favor of amending Bylaw 8353 Conduct of Transit Passengers Bylaw to prohibit loitering and using a controlled substance while on Trans-it Property.

Council passed the Community and Safety Well Being Strategy

City Council passed the Community and Safety Well-Being Strategy including an additional $300K in funding for Chinatown and $4M to social support services in the core

DRC Events

The DRC hosts regular meet ups and other events. You can find out more here

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Steering Committee

Alex Hryciw
Chair, Downtown Recovery Coalition

Executive Committee Member, DRC

Cheryll Watson
President & CEO, Junior Achievement Northern Alberta & NWT

Board Chair, STEM Collegiate
Executive Committee Member, DRC

Dave Young

Executive Vice President, CBRE Edmonton
Executive Committee Member, DRC

Robert Seidel

National Managing Partner, DLA Piper LLP
Executive Committee Member, DRC

Mike Saunders

Senior Vice President, Qualico Properties

Anand Pye

Executive Director, NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Development Association

Annemarie Petrov

President & CEO, Winspear Centre

Aziz Bootwala

Sr. Principal, Vice President-Business Development, Kasian Architecture

Bill Blais

President & CEO, McLab Development Group

Chad Helm

Founder, The Helm

Chris Buyze

Director and Past-President, DECL

Chris Lavin

Regional Managing Partner, MNP LLP

Dan Hugo

Chief Financial Officer, ATB

Devin Pope

Property Manager, The Gather Co.

Henry Edgar

President, Autograph

Jackie Nelson

Vice President, External Relations, NorQuest College

Jan Fox

Executive Director, REACH Edmonton

Jenny Adams

President, The Adams Agency

Jim Brown

Sherrick Management

Jonathan Durance

District Vice President, TD Canada Trust

Kalen Anderson

Executive Director, Urban Development Institute - Edmonton Metro

Kevin McKee

Chief Executive Officer, Pangman Development Corp.

Lanny Chudyk

President, Civic Service Union

Lisa Baroldi

President and CEO, BOMA Edmonton

Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell

College Dean and Vice Provost, University of Alberta

Mike Sacha

Asset Manager, Triovest

Parm Raeewal

Director, Government Relations, Canadian Bankers Association

Pilar Martinez

CEO, Edmonton Public Library

Puneeta McBryan

Executive Director, Downtown Business Association

Sean Kirk

General Manager, Edmonton City Centre

Theresa Vladicka

Director, Government Affairs, MacEwan University


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The Downtown Recovery Coalition respectfully acknowledges that we are situated on Treaty 6 territory, the traditional lands of diverse Indigenous Peoples—First Nations, Métis, and Inuit—who have lived on, cared for, and travelled this land for centuries. The cultures and histories of the Indigenous Peoples of this land continue to enrich our community and help us go forward in truth and collaboration on our reconciliation journey.