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

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About the Downtown
Recovery Coalition

We are a group of downtown business and community leaders, both for-profit and not-for-profit, united by our dedication to downtown Edmonton’s post-pandemic recovery.

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.

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 who work downtown, live downtown, provide services downtown and do business downtown.

Register to become a supporter of the Downtown Recovery Coalition and stay up to date with our work
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History ​

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Our Focus

We drive vibrancy and sustained economic recovery downtown by advocating for:

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.

Transformational 
Projects

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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DRC Successes

Our advocacy has helped make Downtown Edmonton…

Safer

More boots on the ground

  • GoA funding for additional police officers and 12 new Police and Crisis Teams (PACTs)
  • EPS/Alberta Sheriffs partnership – more frequent ground patrols and more ground covered
  • City released recommendations to reduce criminal activity and disorderly behaviour in Chinatown in their Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) document.

More collaborative solutions

  • GoA formed a Community Response Task Force on addictions treatment and support, houselessness and public safety issues.
  • $15.2M to support Healthy Streets Operations Centre safety teams where police, peace officers, paramedics and fire rescue services all work together.
  • $250,000 from the City to expand REACH Edmonton’s Crisis Diversion team.

More and better support for Edmontonians in crisis

  • $275 million in GoA funding to combat the mental health and addictions crisis.
  • HealthIM system to help police officers connect people in crisis with appropriate support.
  • $8.7M in funding from City Council for a Community Safety and Well-being Strategy to address immediate needs including responses to extreme weather and drug poisoning, creating an Indigenous-led shelter, and integrating call evaluation and dispatch.
  • $13M over four years to REACH’s Crisis Diversion 24/7 program for non-criminal crisis resources.
  • $7.5M from the City for new 24/7 temporary emergency shelter, creating 209 additional spaces in the Jasper Place Wellness Centre in partnership with the Tallcree Tribal Government.
  • GoA commitment to fund 200 additional shelter spaces for a total of 1,727 this winter.
  • GoA funding to help build and open 210 units of supportive housing in communities outside the downtown core.

Better public safety enforcement on transit

    • Bylaw amendment (approved June 8, 2022):
      • Ban on open drug use on transit property (stations, buses, trains)
      • Ban on loitering to stop gang-related gatherings in transit stations
    • City provided $4.1M for to reduce harm in and around Edmonton’s transit systems through Community Outreach Transit Teams (COTT) that combine Transit Peace Officers and Bent Arrow Society outreach workers to address concerns like housing, mental health and substance use.
    • City staff motioned to develop a proposal to expand the City’s Public Transit Safety Plan model throughout the downtown.
    • City released its formal Downtown Core And Transit System Safety Plan outlining immediate, near-term, and longer-term actions at request of the provincial Justice Minister.

Cleaner

  • $2.5 million in City funding secured for:
    • 23 new cleaners
    • 84 dedicated staff for garbage removal, space maintenance and graffiti cleaning
  • 700 volunteers rallied to remove garbage through the Corporate Cleanup Challenge.
  • $1.4M in city funding for a special waste team to help keep downtown clean and inviting.

Future-Focused

  • New building for MacEwan University’s School of Business
    • Potential to bring 25,500 students to the core by 2030.
  • King Thunderbird Centre
    • Boyle Street’s new purpose-built facility will help people struggling with addictions, trauma, and houselessness recover.
  • GoA commits $25M to build 400 new publicly funded treatment beds in 5 recovery communities across Alberta.
  • $3.99M through GoA’s Affordable Housing Partnership Program and $11.9M from the City go towards the construction of new supportive housing for over 63 people.

UDI-Edmonton Metro and Paths for People, with support from the DRC, EDBA, and DECL, have developed a Downtown Pedestrianization Plan to improve pedestrian experience in the core with collaboration from the city.

In the News

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

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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Supporting your downtown success story

Downtown Edmonton should be a great place for business, and we will keep working tirelessly to make sure it is. We see the potential, the opportunities, and the current drawbacks of our downtown with equal clarity.

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. You can get in touch with us 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
Executive Committee Member, DRC

Dave Young

Executive Vice President, CBRE Edmonton
Executive Committee Member, DRC

Mike Saunders

Senior Vice President, Qualico Properties
Executive Committee Member, DRC

Robert Seidel

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

Anand Pye

Executive Director, NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Development Association

Annemarie Petrov

President & CEO, Winspear Centre

Carolyn Osadczuk

Manager, PCL Construction

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.

Doug Griffiths

President & CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

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.

Landon Leclair

CEO, KRP Group

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

Supporters

EDBA
PANGMAN
NAIOP
Qualico Properties
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UDI
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ECC
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CBRE
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BOMA
ENBRIDGE
WITTEN
CosMedics
Adams Agency
MNP
NoreQuest
UofA
EPL
EPIC
ATB
Westrich
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CBA
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KRP
ROHIT
DECL
PCL
JANA
Chamber
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.