Boyle Street Construction and Renewal
An update for the spring of 2018.
The residents of Boyle Street regularly hear about plans to improve and enhance their neighbourhood through new construction projects and other types of development. We get excited for a while, but then resign ourselves to long delays before any visible changes actually appear.
All the same, there is movement. Two major, longer-term projects are being planned for the eastern edges of the community. One is a project that will enhance Dawson Park and Kinnaird Ravine, and improve our access to those areas. Another is LRT-focused residential construction near Stadium Station.
As well, a number of other projects are proceeding, and one is in full flower. The Moth, self-described as a “plant-based café,” opened at 9449 Jasper Avenue at the beginning of 2018. It appears to be thriving.
For the past several years the City has been working on a 25-year vision and guiding principles for the renewal of Dawson Park and Kinnaird Ravine. Dawson Park, just below the river bank that forms the southern edge of Boyle Street, has remained essentially the same since the 1970s. The most recent (August 2017) report notes, “The growing communities of Cromdale and Boyle Street, while visually linked to the park, remain physically disconnected.”
The public and key user groups were most recently consulted about a preferred concept plan in November 2017. The concept includes a new formal entrance into the park under Latta Bridge (90-91 Street on Jasper Avenue), with both a gravel path and stairs connecting to 91 Street. The entrance would support increased use of the park by the Boyle Street and McCauley neighbourhoods.
A final report will be presented to City Council when the 2019-22 budget is set. If the plan is approved, there will be further opportunities for public input.
Earth is being moved around on the Muttart Lands near the Stadium LRT Station. That project was approved by City Council in 2014 but it hasn’t progressed as quickly as expected. The City and the owners of the land, Brookfield, are going 50-50 on a plan to build a high-density, transit-oriented neighbourhood that includes pocket parks and new bike and pedestrian paths.
One feature of the plan will be of particular interest to many of those (including the writer of this article) who live in the high-rise apartments and condos on and near Jasper Avenue between 90 Street and 84 Street. A new road will cross the LRT tracks near 106 Avenue and 86 Street.
This road will give Boyle Street residents a more direct and walkable connection with the Commonwealth Stadium and Recreation Centre. Currently, these amenities are visible from apartment windows and appear very near as the crow flies. But the only (roundabout) access is through the Stadium Station or on 92 Street.
Several other projects are expected to reach completion a bit sooner than the two major initiatives described in this article.
- A crane has appeared on the northeast corner of 95 Street and Jasper Avenue, where a large hole in the ground resulting from an abandoned building project has remained for several years. The Calgary-based Cidex Group is beginning construction of a 199-unit, 24-storey, market-rental residential building.
- Progress is visible on the new EPINSS (Edmonton People in Need Shelter Society) building on 103A Avenue, across from the Boyle Street Plaza. It is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2018.
- Work on Kinistinâw Park was expected to begin this summer but there may be delays because of contamination. Kinistinâw Park is on the east side of the Armature (96 Street), between 102A Avenue and 103 Avenue.
- Construction of the Valley LRT line is moving ahead. Unfortunately, this work has necessitated the closure of 102 Avenue for two years, with considerable inconvenience and stress for Chinatown South and other nearby businesses and agencies.
- Primavera Development has appointed architects to redevelop and restore the historic 1912 Ernest Brown Building, aka the Brighton Block, at 9666 Jasper Avenue. This building has been vacant for 15 years.
Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.