Edmonton Economic Development Corporation

Edmonton Economic Development Corporation

October 08, 2010 16:35 ET

EEDC and Its Board of Directors Believe the Redevelopment of the ECCA Lands is in the Economic Best Interest of the City

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Oct. 8, 2010) - Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) and its Board of Directors support the closure of the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA) because the redevelopment of the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA) land is in the economic best interest of the city.

"We firmly believe that consolidation of airline service into a single airport would benefit the long-term growth and development of our community," says Henry Yip, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. "While there is no doubt that ECCA is conveniently located for some, the reality is that only a small proportion of Edmontonians actually make use of the airport."

EEDC believes that the redevelopment of the airport lands would have a positive long-term impact on the quality of life in Edmonton. Based on the planning principles put forward by the City of Edmonton, the redeveloped airport site could significantly increase the attractiveness of Edmonton to the next generation of forward thinking citizens who want to live near the city centre in a modern, environmentally sustainable and transit-oriented community.

"EEDC believes that the City of Edmonton's redevelopment plan for the airport lands would have a positive impact on the goal of creating a strong and vibrant urban core," says Yip. "The redevelopment of the airport lands and the creation of a dynamic new medium high density residential community would expand the population and employment base of our urban core. We believe the City of Edmonton should move ahead expeditiously to complete the planning for the lands and begin the development program."

Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) provides leadership in economic development, markets Edmonton as a must-see destination, manages the Shaw Conference Centre and Edmonton Research Park, and acts as a stakeholder in TEC Edmonton, a joint venture with the University of Alberta. For more information, visit www.edmonton.com Learn more about Edmonton through the stories of people who've experienced it at www.edmontonstories.ca

In recent months there has been considerable public dialogue around the City of Edmonton's decision to close the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA) and redevelop the airport lands into a transit-oriented and environmentally sustainable residential community. This discussion has raised a range of issues, a number of which revolve around the impact this decision would have on Edmonton's economy and future economic development. As the organization responsible for economic development within the city, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) believes that it is appropriate to add our point of view to this discussion.

EEDC believes that the redevelopment of the Edmonton City Centre Airport is in the economic best interest of the city. EEDC firmly believes that the consolidation of airline service into a single airport would benefit the long-term growth and development of our community. The redevelopment of the airport lands and the creation of a dynamic new medium to high density residential community would also expand the population and employment base of our urban core. EEDC is committed to working with the City of Edmonton, businesses and the community to ensure the development plan is a success.
Below are the important reasons EEDC supports the airport closure and land redevelopment.

Airline Service

In terms of airline service, EEDC believes in two fundamental principles: the first is that the quality of Edmonton's airline service is critical to the long-term growth and development of the economy. The second is that the full consolidation of all scheduled service into the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) is one of the most positive moves the city made to ensure the best possible airline service over the longer term. 

Between 1996 (the year of consolidation) and 2009, passenger traffic at the EIA grew by 95 per cent, from 3.1 million to 6.1 million passengers. In comparison, over this same period the population of the Edmonton region grew by only 30 per cent and the GDP of Alberta grew by 53 per cent.

EEDC believes that the continued operation of the ECCA presents serious economic challenges and risks for our community over the long-term. By allowing commuter service into city centre, Edmonton splits passenger traffic between two airports when significant efforts are already underway to expand passenger traffic and service at EIA. Few cities the size of Edmonton attempt to run a dual airline service operation, and in those that do, there are many who question the wisdom of that policy. The continued operation of ECCA also raises other important issues; with one major international airport and three general aviation airports (Villeneuve, South Cooking Lake and Josephburg) already serving the Edmonton region, do we need and can we afford to continue to support a fifth general aviation airport? While there is no doubt that ECCA is conveniently located for some, the reality is that only a small proportion of Edmontonians actually make use of the airport.

Quality of Life

EEDC believes that the closure and redevelopment of the airport lands would also have a positive long-term impact on the quality of life in Edmonton. Although the City of Edmonton's redevelopment plan is still only in the early stages, and few details and hard facts are yet available, in our opinion a development of this type could be a "game changer" for our community. Based on the planning principles put forward by the City of Edmonton, the redeveloped airport site could significantly improve the attractiveness of Edmonton to the next generation of forward-thinking citizens who want to live near the city centre in a modern, environmentally sustainable and transit-oriented community. Cities that can offer this type of creative and innovative urban experience will have a competitive edge in attracting both the individuals and businesses of the future. 

Vibrant Urban Core

EEDC believes that the City of Edmonton's redevelopment plan for the airport will have a positive impact on the goal of creating a strong and vibrant urban core. EEDC recognizes that there are those in the community who are concerned that the airport lands would compete with development in downtown Edmonton. With that said, there are many who feel just as strongly that a development of this type of new urban community could be one of the building blocks driving the growth of an exciting downtown core. This in turn could create a ripple effect and spur other development within Edmonton. It is for this reason we believe that the City of Edmonton should move ahead as expeditiously as possible to complete the planning for the city centre site and begin the development program.

Contact Information

  • Media contact:
    Renee Worrell
    Communications Manager, External Relations
    780.932.4865
    rworrell@edmonton.com