January 28th, 2018
NorthEast River Crossing Update
As many of you know, we’ve been very involved in the politics surrounding the development of our neighbourhood, the Horse Hills. While we’re happy to be farming inside of the city limits of Edmonton, this proximity comes with it’s own set of challenges and concerns. In case you aren’t familiar with the ongoing development saga of the NorthEast, you can brush up here on the plans and projects involved in the Area Structure Plan as well as the proposed provincial highway crossing in our area.
After months of meetings and research, late in 2017, the Northeast River Crossing Planning Project Committee came out with six options for the proposed highway crossing in the Horse Hills. These options bring both good news and bad news. The good news is that not a single option proposes to cross Riverbend Gardens’ land. In the years leading up to this study we were always lead to believe that the highway would inevitably cross our land and make RBG a non-viable agricultural producer. We can hardly express our relief at seeing these options steer clear of our fields.
The bad news is, that this is not the case for all agricultural producers in the area who want to continue to farm in this area. Our neighbour, Norbest Farms, grow seed potatoes and have done so on their land for over 40 years. Being our next door neighbour their fields share many of the same qualities our land has which makes it exceptional agricultural land. Their proximity to the river, the micro-climate and the quality of the soil make their fields very valuable growing land and well worth preserving. It’s the kind of land that you just can’t replicate.
Only one of the six highway placement options avoids Norbest Farm’s land in favour of non-production land. This option is designated as “S2N3”. And while none of the proposed options actually cross Riverbend land, by far the best option for us is S2N3 as well. It keeps the highway a little further away from our fields (rather than running right beside them), doesn’t bisect any farms (no one wants farm equipment crossing a high speed highway) and creates a natural barrier between planned future residential spaces and agricultural operations. You can see all the options below to get a better understanding of the proposed crossings at this time.
S1 Highway Options
S2 Highway Options
This is where you come in, because after all, it is not farmers who will be able to save their farms, but rather, a community of people dedicated to protecting agricultural land in the Edmonton area. The best part is that right now, it’s really easy to show your support. All you need to do is to let the Northeast River Crossing Planning Study members know where you stand and what you’d like to see as the next steps arising from this study.
We encourage you to email:
Public Engagement Lead, CAROL CRAIG (email@example.com) and
Project Manager, CHRISTOPHER WINTLE (firstname.lastname@example.org)
to tell them that you support the S2N3 highway crossing option because you value local farmers and preserving agricultural land is important to you.