A Community Exercise
Engagement is central to where the urban gondola idea came from. It was born from The Edmonton Project, a grassroots initiative by the business community to uncover a great city building opportunity for Edmonton, Alberta. And, to do it. It was effectively a city-wide brainstorming competition. What made The Edmonton Project unique is that the business community pledged to do whichever idea won but had no say in which idea won. As is obvious now, the urban gondola idea won The Edmonton Project in March 2018. The legacy of The Edmonton Project is important because it suggests that the gondola itself was the outcome of innovative engagement.
An extension of the philosophy of The Edmonton Project is demonstrated by Prairie Sky's commitment to follow the spirit and intent of the City of Edmonton and the Indigenous Relations Office’s engagement best practices.
On the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, there are decades of history and culture. Prairie Sky recognizes the importance of much broader and community-level engagement in the many Indigenous communities that regard the Rossdale flats as having cultural significance.
Letters of support from senior leaders of Indigenous communities is not enough. Prairie Sky is engaging directly with each of the more than 20 Indigenous communities who have identified the lands near the Power Plant Station as historically important.
We have begun to lay the groundwork for our Indigenous engagement through a multi-pronged approach, one that is culturally sensitive and responsive to the individual needs of each indigenous community. We are continually gathering input through emails, letters, phone calls, virtual conversations, in person visits on reserves or in Edmonton but also through sweats and ceremony.
We are also committed to creating stations that are inclusive and safe for all Edmontonians especially Indigenous people. The Power Plant Station will showcase Indigenous stories, a direction informed by Indigenous engagement during Phase One and Two. Through these conversations, it was clear that the entire experience of the Power Plant Station can serve as a powerful platform for reconciliation and recounting the history of West Rossdale. It also provides a means to advance social and economic outcomes for Indigenous communities in the region.
The preliminary project concept in Phase One PETA was presented to many organizations, and through this process, more than 30 letters of support were gathered that demonstrate the interest of proven city builders, stakeholders and members of the community. Because of early input from the public, the development concept moved from three stations to five stations.
In the third phase, formal public engagement will continue through the Public Engagement Committee and local community input sessions.
General public stakeholder updates and City meetings are occurring on an ongoing basis, focusing on those immediately along the proposed alignment (Community leagues, EPCOR, adjacent landowners, existing businesses, and various event and festival producers) but also any interested organizations and community groups.
Prairie Sky has met with all City departments to ensure we understand all of the City’s plans, projects, priorities, and challenges, ensuring we complement City objectives or presents meaningful solutions.
In the summers of 2020 and 2021, Prairie Sky leased the power plant from EPCOR to operate historical tours and educate the public about the gondola project. During the tour, we posed a survey asking if respondents supported our project; 88% of respondents were in favour.
Let's Chat About It!
Establish a Public and Indigenous Engagement Committee
Host two virtual and two in-person public engagement events during Phase Three
Host two virtual and two in-person Indigenous engagement events during Phase Three
Organize the data collected from surveys and polls
Address gaps, implement new ideas and ensure public input is integrated into the project as it enters the final stages of development.
Create a ‘What We Heard’ report concluding the Public and Indigenous Engagement