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CIVIC CENTRE STUDY, EDMONTON EDMONTON. PLANNING A

THE CITY OF EDMONTON PLANNING- ADVISORY COMMISSION

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PROGRESS REPORT 11 O. 1 re CIVIC CENTER STUDY

CIVIC CENTER STUDY COMMITTEE

May 31, 1961.

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PLANNING ADVISORY COMMISSION May 31, 1961. PROGRESS REPORT NO. 1 re THE CIVIC CENTER STUDY At the Council meeting of January 3, 1961, a study of the Civic Center was authorized, under the direction of G4

C.

Hamilton, a member of the

Planning Advisory Commission. Since that time; considerable study and investigation has been given to the project. Interviews have been held with civic department heads and with many business and goVernment offiCials; who might be interested in or affected by the development; a comprehensive list of possible inclusions has been prepared, and an evaluation undertaken of the relative importance of each to the commercial, cultural and recreational life of the city. Many of the elements proposed for the Civic Center depend on the presence, and perhaps the location, of other proposed inclusions. Within the basic framework already established -- the existing street system, the railways, the City hall and other large buildings -an attempt has been made to determine the most important, realistic components and place them in good functional relationship with each other. One or two important assumptions have been made, one of which is that the surface of the area between 99 and 100 Streets south of the City Hall, almost to 101A Avenue, should become the most ornamental park in the city. For many years this has been an often-expressed community aspiration. Council members might be interested to know that in 1913 a plan was prepared showing a City Hall located in a beautifully ornate park. This concept is still valid. The careful relationship between building and open space has always been a most important architectural consideration. A park or square in the Civic Center has a symbolic quality, quite apart from the visual pleasure it provides. The town square is traditional in western culture. It will be convenient to refer to this park as Civic Park. The purpose of this report is to describe some of the more important elements tentatively included in the Center, justify their inclusion where necessary, and examine their relationships with other


Progress Report No. 1 re The Civic Center Study.

Hay 31, 1961.

parts of the proposed development. It will be observed that the degree of interdependence is very high; so high, in fact that it is unlikely that any of the individual elements proposed can be realized without assurance that the rest of the Civic Center will develop substantially in accordance with the plan. It must be remembered that the Civic Center is not likely to develop all at once, but may require several years for completion. This is not of great importance. 'het is important is that a plan of the fully developed

Centei. be agkeed upon, so that the various interests in the Civic Center can make their plans in confidence, knowing that the nature and quality of the whole area has been settled. Tentatively, it appears that the hest technique to ensure functional conformity to the plan and to the architectural standards related thereto is the use of the "development scheme" provisions of the Town and Rural Planning Act. These are appended to this report. The effect of Council's adoption of a development scheme (which is based on a plan and report, and adopted in a similar manner to a zoning bylaw), is to give Council unusual powers to assemble and dispose of land, and to control land use and architectural appearance for purposes consistent with the plan. Powers of expropriation and other procedures are similar to those exercised for normal municipal purposes. The co-operation and interest of several large organizations should be acknowledged. Notable among these is the C.N.R., who soon after the study was announced, volunteered its support of the Civic Center project. Its help has been substantial, and generously given. 1. Future City Hall Expansion In considering the composition of the Civic Center, attention must first be directed to the needs of the civic administration itself. The growth of various departments has not been uniform, but rather has been a reflection of the changing and expanding municipal needs of the community.


3. Progress Report No. 1 re The Civic Center Study,

Nay 31, 1961.

The present City Hall is now completely occupied, but, in the original design of the building, an extension was allowed for. This extention is in the form of a wing, elevated above the ground in a manner similar to that of the Council Chamber, and extending northward from the present building. This extension is illustrated on the accompanying material. 2. A Major Hotel It is recommended that redevelopment of the area along the south and southeastern sides of Civic Park to commercial and office buildings be encouraged. This will be difficult to accomplish without the use of powerful development forces & Several such forces have been considered, including the construction of civic buildings, provision of parking nearby and so oni None of these appears to be sufficiently powerful to assure renewal of this area to the high standard hoped for in the Civic Center, however, and there remains only one other alternative. This is to attract a large, first quality convention hotel to build nearby. Such a building, complete with shopping facilities, underground parking, meeting, restaurant and lounge facilities, and set in attractive grounds, will almost certainly guarantee rebuilding of the surrounding areas. Although the value of purchases made by hotel guests is substantial, such a hotel is more closely related to the financial and office area of the city than to the retail district. Furthermore, the hotel should be located near other large convention facilities. It is suggested, therefore, that such a hotel be encouraged to locate on the north side of 101A Avenue between

99

and 100 Streets. It would serve as a handsome

south facade for Civic Park as well as hasten rebuilding in the surrounding areas. Convention facilities for over 800 should be provided. There is good reason to believe that such a hotel with 350 or 400 rooms is a realistic probability for this proposed site. A location south of 101A Avenue, as a redevelopment of the existing buildings, was also considered, but deemed to be impractical for several reasons: apart from the difficulty of acquiring the property, the hotel would not he located in a suffici,:intly prominent position. The


4. Progress Report Mo. 1 re The Civic Center Study.

May 31, 1961.

project would be delayed several years. Furthermore, the hotel would tend to separate the present and proposed office buildings in the vicinity of the EcLeod Building from the new office buildings which the Committee believes will materialize along the south and southeastern part of Civic Park if the hotel is located on the north side of 101A Avenue, 3.Transportation Center Yuch thought has been given, over the past few months, to the idea that the existing railway lines could be used as the basis for a rapid transit system. The matter is now under serious study by officials of the railway companies and the Edmonton Transit System, and the prospects are quite exciting. Ohether such a development occurs or not the need for

a

Transportation Center is growing. Such a center would serve the railway passenger, the commuter, the E.T.S. patron and the inter-city traveller. It might also serve as a central air terminal

building.

The transportation center should be located near

the

present CiN‘Ri

terminal, probably near the intersection of 104 Avenue and 101 Street. This location is adjacent to major traffic arteries and is on the perimeter of the concentrated downtown area. 4.The Coliseum More and more cities are coming to realize the value, both to the business community and the metropolitan area generally, of a centrally located, modern coliseum. St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle all have recognized this need, and have either built large enclosed structures or plan to do so. The Coliseum augments the convention facilities of the hotels and because of the multiple uses of its facilities, invites a wider range of functions to the center of the city.

ith such a coliseum, Edmonton could become the most important convention city in 'Jestern Canada. To illustrate the resulting benefit to the business community, Portland expects that a million persons will pass through the coliseum turnstiles in the first six months of operation. Each of these is a potential customer for the downtown merchant.


5. Progress Report No. 1 re The Civic Center Study.

May ea, 1961.

The Edmonton Exhibition Association has indicated its interest in constructing and operating a centrally located coliseuM.

A

fully modern,

flexible, attractive building, with a maximum seating capacity of 14,000 would seem most realistic. Because of the size of such a structure and because of the traffic problems it would create, it should be located at a main intersection and near the transportation center. It is suggested that the best site is the area between 100 and 101 Streets, north of the Land Titles building and the new Y.h.C.A., and including the area northward to the new 104 Avenue. This would requite a closing of 103 avenue. Parking could be provided nearby, both in the vicinity of City Hall and, perhaps, to the west of 101 Street, or even in a structure over the railway tracks. 5.The Legal Building A

proposal has been received regarding a new office building to be

located east of City Hall. This building, to be known as "The Legal Building" is described as being from six to ten storeys in height, and designed to conform in all respects with the standards applicable to the Civic Center. The location proposed is a very desirable one for the legal profession because of the proximity of City Hall, the Land Titles Office, the Court House, the Police Court and, no doubt, because of the parking planned for the area. The building could house law offices, a bank, possibly a trust company and members of the accounting profession. Such a building is valuable both as a redevelopment tool and in the creation of the Civic Center. It would be quite satisfactory from the point of view of architectural composition, providing a suitable mass at the north east corner of Civic Park. Furthermore, the Committee believes it to be functionally and architecturally compatible with the proposed Market Square. 6.The Market Square Agriculture has always been the most important contributor to Edmonton's economy, and is likely to remain so for many years to come.


6. Progress Report No. 1 re The Civic Center Study.

May 31, 1961.

The rural population is of especial importance to Edmonton: they sell their • produce in Edmonton (thus providing the basis for the city's biggest industries) and then spend a good deal of the money thus obtained buying machinery, equipment and consumer goods from the city merchant. Apart from its historic significance, therefore, the Market Square is valid as a symbol of the important relationship between Edmonton and its agricultural hinterland. But the present building is obsolete, however, and occupies the site of the proposed new hotel which is such a vital key to the whole Civic Center development. East of the City Hall there are four small blocks between 99 and 97 Streets and between 102A Avenue and the new 104 Avenue which could well be developed as a new functionally modern market square, architecturally integrated with the proposed Legal Building described in the preceding section. Two important, powerful components of such a square, which is really conceived as a downtown shopping center designed to cater especially to agriculture, are the existing Woodward 's Uarehouse store and the Army and Navy main store. Admittedly the latter is on the east side of 97 Street but is a busy and successful operation, whose management has already indicated that the new Market Square proposal has their approval. The present blocks are very small and wasteful of street area. One possible arrangement would be to close 98 Street between 102A and the new 104 Avenue, and to create a mall on 103 Avenue. Considerable parking would be a necessity. The parking area provided could be used in the daytime for the Market's use, and in the evening for the Art Gallery proposed later in this report. 7. The Court House In spite of an addition completed seven years ago, the courthouse facilities are somewhat inadequate and either an extension or a new building will be required in the next few years. It is therefore reasonable to expect that the land south of the present building will be used for this purpose.


7. Progress Report No. 1 re The Civic Center Study.

May 31, 1961.

Such an extension is illustrated schematically on the adcompanying plan. This building will no doubt be a handsome and impressive addition to the Civic Center. The only concern of the Committee (a minor concern) is that the contiguous relationship of the Telephone Buildings, the new Court House, the Land Titles Building and the proposed Coliseum might create a rather coldly impersonal appearance. If some type of use that produced more pedestrian activity could be introduced along the west side of 100 Street this effect would be softened. Thus far, however, this minor problem has not been resolved. 8.The New Post Office After some initial delays, the design of the hew post office is proceeding as quickly as is practical. This building will be slightly higher than the existing postal terminal, and will extend from the present terminal southward to the new 104 Avenue, a distance of some 330 feet, Its southern face will have a width of 120 feet, so the building will be a very large onel. It is being designed by K. C. Stanley and Company in collaboration with the firm of Aberdeen & Groves, and will be treated so as to enhance the composition and beauty of the Center. One of the most difficult aspects of the design is that of a traffic pattern to and around the building. The final solution to this problem has required close co-operation with the City Traffic Engineer and the traffic study consultants. 9.The New Library The need for a new library has long been felt in Edmonton. with each passing year, the existing central library has been less and less adequate to serve the growing metropolitan population. The need for more library space has been partially met by the construction ofbrench libraries but these depend heavily upon the main central library. In recent years there have been important advances in thinking about the factors to be considered in locating a major library. Traditionally these have been treated rather more like monuments than like the busy,


8. Progress Report No. 1 re The Civic Center Study.

May, 31, 1961.

utilitarian places they really should be. A library is successful to the extent that it is used; it is very important, therefore, that it be conveniently located in an area with a high pedestrian count. Many eXamples can be given of cases where, because of the good location and inviting aspect of a new library, the public use has increased many times& With the opening of the nets post office in two or three years, the old post office will, presumably, become surplus to its present use. No discussions have as yet been held with federal officials on the possibility of acquiring this site for the new library, but this prospect should be explored. Located between the two major hotels (see Section 2 of this report) in the heart of the financial-commercial-office building area, close to large parking facilities, the new library would be used by the citizens far more than is presently the case, and could, furthermore, be a handsome ornament to the Civic Center. 10. Recreation Building Since the Coliseum could provide certain facilities useful to the purposes of the Recreation Department -- assembly areas, meeting rooms, athletic facilities and so on, and since the new Y.M.C.A. offers gymnasium and other facilities related to physical recreation, it seems logical, therefore, that the new Recreation Building be located near both these other structures. The difficulty (which is substantial) is that there is no cityowned land available in the immediate area, once the space requirements of the Coliseum have been met. The work of the Recreation Department is important, however, and becoming increasingly so as the stresses of urban life impose greater and greater pressures on the city dweller, and expose his growing family to sociological perils unknown even a generation ago. It is fitting that the Recreation Building should be located in the heart of the city, so that the benign influence of the department's activities is most readily available to the greatest number of citizens.


9, . Progress Report Fo. 1 re The Civic Center Stusly....

,

May 31 1961:

The site of the present 1.screation Building Will be required for the proposed Coliseum; it is therefore suggested that a new site be considered immediately west of the Land Titles Building, and that its planning be integrated wherever possible with the new Coliseum immediately adjacent. 11. The Art Gallery Although the approach to Civic Center planning as discussed in this report has been and is a fairly commercial ones so that economic feasibility is an important yardstick in evaluating each element proposed, it must be recognized that the Civic Center development presents a rare opportunity to encourage and plan for certain cultural activities. While not profitable in the usual sense, these nevertheless fulfill a deep community need and are an indication of the city's maturity. The Edmonton Art Gallery is an example of such an activity. Victoria, Vancouver, Regina, liinnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, quebec, Fredericton and Halifax all have Class A galleries -- buildings in which any art exhibit in the world can be safely housed. Edmonton does not. Gifts and purchases over the years have given the hdmontor Gallery a good permanent collection of paintings, but they have to remain in storage most of the time because of inadequate and unsuitable space facilities. Furthermore, many of the private art collections in Edmonton which might come into the possession of the Gallery do not do so for the same reason. That the Art Gallery serves a definite community want is demonstrated by the fact that, in spite of inadequate accommodation, it is so well supported that a new Gallery Director will soon be appointed to allow the present Director to assume supervision of the art classes which now serve some 1500 students. Because of the need for convenient location both to the pedestrian and the motorist, and because of the exciting architectural possibilities of such a building, it is suggested that the Art Gallery be located south of 102A Avenue, east of 99 areet, just north of the old Civic Block which is now being rebuilt as the new Police Building.


10. Progress Report No. 1 re The Civic Center Study:

May 31, 1961.

12.Proposed New Office Buildings One of the most encouraging aspects of the Committee's work has been the real interest expressed by major Canadian companies in erecting office buildings in the Civic Center area. Uhile the designing and siting of these buildings (which, it is indicated, may well be the target of tt.eir type in Edmonton) has not been undertaken in detail, and, indeed, no final decision has been reached regarding the buildings themselves, it is fair to state that discussions with the officers and consultants of these companies are proceeding satisfactorily. Lembers of Council will appreciate and respect the request expressed by these companies that their identity remain undisclosed until the matters now under consideration are more definitely settled. 13.The Tourist Bureau In consideration of one of Canada's most important industries and its economic potential to the City of Edmonton, a relatively small but important Tourist Bureau should be located prominently in the Civic Center. No specific location is suggested in this report, but it is planned to work closely with the traffic consultants to locate a convenient, prominent and attractive spot to welcome visitors to our city. 14.Parking No detailed consideration has been given in this report to the parking and access requirements of the individual elements proposed for the Civic Center. These will require the close study of the traffic consultants and the E.T.S. Generally speaking, however, there will be a need for considerable parking capacity in the area, particularly for the hotel, coliseum, C.N.R., other adjacent office buildings, and City Hall itself. Part of this can be provided by the Market Square, but certainly some additional parking will also be required. The Civic Center is related quite closely to proposed developments both east and west which, it is hoped, can be announced and reported upon


11. Progress Report No. 1 re The Ciic Center Study.

Kay 31, 1961.

in the near future. The solution to the parking problem will be partially found in these proposals. But it remains one of the most basic and perhaps expensive factors in the whole development It will be dealt with in subsequent reports.

/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/o/

The various buildings proposed in this report are shown on the schematic plan appended hereto. This plan, like the proposals themselves, is subject to revision both as to content and arrangement. It does illustrate what seems to be a fairly functional and practical arrangement, and so far as can be foreseen at present, is capable of complete realization in the next few years. The financial program attendant on these proposals has not been overlooked in the Committee's thinking, and although no detailed cost calculations have been completed thus far, this will be an important aspect of the study before the final report is submitted. None of the elements which will represent a direct cost to the City are new ideas, and all will filfill needs either presently felt or definitely foreseen. By comprehensive planning of the valuable civic center area nowo .costl mistakes and omissions can be avoided in the future.. The major components will be built by private capital, or by semi-public agencies whose operations do not directly affect the City's financial position. host of the major elements proposed will be profitable or at least self-liquidating, and all will have the effect of attracting many other tax-paying activities into the central area. The Civic Center Study Committee hopes that this report will serve as a stimulant for public discussion and as the basis for more detailed examination of the suggestions contained herein. The comments of members of Council will be especially welcomed.


12. Progress Report No. 1 re The Civic Center Study.

May 31, 1961.

Further reports on the Civic Center will follow. Respectfully submitted, CIVIC CENTER STUDY COMMITTEE /

r / ////:

G. C. Hamilton, Chairman. GCH/gl


APPENDIX EXTRACT FROM THE TOIC & RURAL PLANNING

ACT (PART II)

Development Scheme 73. (1) At any time after the adoption of a general plan, or while interim development control is being exercised, the council may prepare and adopt a development scheme for the purpose (a)of ensuring that any proposal contained in the general plan will be carried out, or will be carried out in a particular way, or (b)of amplifying as to its details any such proposal. (2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the council by a development scheme (a)may make available any land for agricultural, residential commercial, industrial or other purposes of any class at any particular time, and provide for the acquisition, assembly, consolidation, subdivision and sale or lease by the municipality of such land and buildings as are necessary to carry out the development scheme, or (b)may reserve land for future acquisition as the site or location of any road, service, public building, school, park or other open space, and impose such building and other restrictions on the use of the land and make such agreements with the owners of the land as are necessary to carry out the development scheme, or (c)may specify the manner in which any particular area of land is to be subdivided end pro it buildings and works that would interfere with the carrying out of the development scheme. 1955, c.337, s.73) 74. A development scheme shall describe and set out (a) the manner in which the scheme is intended to implement a proposal or part of a proposal contained or to be contained in the general plan, (b) the land affected by the scheme, and the names and addresses of the owners of such land, and (c) the details (i)of the development to be carried out, (ii)of the land to be reserved and the manner in which the reservation is to be exercised, or (iii)of the manner in which land affected by the scheme is to be subdivided. (d) Repealed. (1957, c,337, .74; 1957,c.98,s.11) 75. A development scheme does not come into force until it has been adopted by by-law in accordance with section 83. (R.S.A. 1955, c.337,s.75; 1957, c.98,s.12) 76. When a development scheme =RS into force, the council may acquire by expropriation or otherwise any lands or buildings the acquisition of which is essential to the carrying out of the scheme, together with lands (a)that are the remnant, of parcels, portions of which are necessary for carrying out the scheme, or (b)that may be injuriously affected by the scheme. 1955 c0337,s.76)


APPETDC - Extract from the Town & Rural Planning Act (Part II)

77. (1) Jhen any land the owner of the land has he would have if the land by the municipality under it is governed.

is acquired under the authority of Section 76 the same right to compensation therefor as were land being acquired for public purposes the provisions of the municipal Act by which

(2)In acquiring land pursuant to section 761 the council shall proceed in the manner prescribed in the municipal Act for the acquisition of land for public purposes. (3)ihere a municipal Act contains provisions providing for compensation for the acquisition of subdivided land by the council, together with other provisions providing for compensation for the acquisition of unsubdivided lands by the council, the provisions providing compensation in the case of the acquisition of unsubdivided lands shall be applied for the purposes of subsection (1). (4)"here a municipal Act contains provisions providing procedures for the acquisition of subdivided land by the council, together with other provisions for the acquisition of unsubdivided lands by the council, the provisions providing a procedure in the case of the acquisition of unsubdivided lands shall be applied for the purposes of subsection (2). (h.S.A. 1955,c.3370.77) 78. The council, for the purpose of carrying out a development scheme, may dispose of any lands acquired for the purposes of the development scheme without the approval of the proprietary electors, subject to such building or other restrictions as may be set out in the development scheme. (R.S.A.1955,c.337,s.78) 79. An expense incurred by the Council in acquiring lands or in imposing building or other restrictions for the purposes of the development scheme shall be met as part of the cost of the scheme, and the proceeds of any sale or other disposition of the lands so acquired shall be applied against the cost of the development scheme. (R.S.A.1955,c.337,s.79)


Edmonton (Alta.) - 1961 - Progress report no. 1 re Civic Center study (1961-05-31)  
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