Back in 2009, the City of Edmonton decided it was high time to change the way it addressed sidewalk, curb, and pavement problems in our neighbourhoods. Many different areas of the city were falling apart, but others simply needed a little extra care. Splitting the city’s labour force between all of these jobs was not only inefficient, it only addressed the most dire of problems, and created havoc on the paperwork front. But worst of all, the old way wasn’t getting to the root of the issues, it was instead dealing with the symptoms. And while a band-aid is all well and good, it doesn’t fix the problem on its own.
The city responded by creating the Neighbourhood Renewal Plan, a new way of getting ahead of these problems instead of waiting for the complaints. The plan came with a 30 year timeline, with the eventual hope that every major neighbourhood in the city would get the sidewalks, curbs, and pavement it needed to keep the area safe and looking its best.
Here we are, six years later, and now is as good a time as any to see how the program is holding up. According to Mayor Don Iveson, the project has seen more neighbourhoods get the attention they need than ever before. According to one survey, only 53 neighbourhoods between 1987-2008 received the work they really needed. But in the first 5 years of the program, over 69 neighbourhoods have had their streets and sidewalks redone, and the preventative maintenance necessary to keep them going has made sure these new projects will last much, much longer.
But for buyers and sellers, the Neighbourhood Renewal Plan could help move homes. After all, “curb appeal” is becoming a bigger and bigger part of selling homes, and that starts with the literal curb. Homes with decrepit sidewalks and roads make even the journey to the front door of an open house a logistical nightmare, and that can turn buyers off before they’ve even seen the inside. By getting more streets looking better, residents in these neighbourhoods may be able to sell faster, and get the attention their areas need when it comes to roads and sidewalks.
While still in its relative infancy, Edmonton’s Neighbourhood Renewal Plan is on course to help areas around the city with the cost of much-needed facelifts, and that can help move homes and keep our neighbourhoods looking their best.