Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Horse Hill Area Structure Plan Approved

After two days of attending City Council for the Public Hearing process, our members who attended got to witness the fall of "status quo" for Horse Hill not Horse Hills.

Horse Hill has an Area Structure Plan (ASP)

Nothing in this Community will change for at least 2 - 4 years as all the plan does, is realize areas and neighborhoods that will be identified in the future. It also serves to STOP the unnecessary and unwanted development that has attempted plagued this area since annexation. Things like the Stockyards which took alot of work and resources to avoid will no longer fit into the areas "structure plan." All these inputs will now have to be set into a Neighborhood Structure Plan (NSP).

A brief update to the past two days;

Day 1 - This day started out with some brief rules set out by the Deputy Mayor, Kim Krushell which we were all advised Mayor Mandel would be slightly delayed. We heard from the City Planning that this ASP and it's draft would be "supported" by them and for the many reasons why. One of the main points to support it was because the NE section of Edmonton is now below the ten year mandate in which there is enough serviceable lots to supply the housing demand. They identified with the Horse Hill Energy and Technology park in place to the north of us, Heartland, and the twinning of highway 63 to Fort Mc Murray there will be a need to offer affordable housing for those who wish to locate in Edmonton.
Supporters spoke first - this group consisted of many experts from the design and development industry who gave the insight to the technical information pertaining to process and why things are on the map as they are. These too are the people who worked very close with each of the city departments to attain the locations of amenities. Then it came to NEEA members and supporters, other owners like St. Stephen Cemetery, other smaller developers, Capital Region and so on. Once the supporters were done the non-supporters began - these were comprised mostly of GEA's  Local Foods Team, private citizens not residing in the area and our local North East Agricultural Producers (NEAP). Not all the non supporting speakers were heard from so day two was needed and day one was now over.

Day 2 - Finished up with more pro food experts? eaters more like it, NEEA even got personally attacked and recited from our blog! City Council even heard from one of these that this "status quo development" had no foresight or imagination. It was now time for Council to ask tough questions of their Administration Team. Once through those questions as there was much discussion around this outer ring road which the City has no say over its location, the map indicates only a suggestion from the Province at it's location. This was what the Ag producers were concerned over. If the ASP was approved, they felt it would mark this spot permanently, this was shown not to be the case as in the documentation for the ASP, it clearly indicated in many locations through out this ASP document stating it can and may move. A motion to have this literature clarified was made by Councilor Gibbons, voted on and was passed. Meeting was then voted on to close, accepted and passed. Council then had the opportunity to speak to the bylaw which some took advantage of where Councilor Gibbons expressed some history of the area and explained he had been the representative for this area for many years and understood the dynamics and that he was going to support the bylaw. When all Councilor had had their chance to address the bylaw, they voted on the first reading, passed 10 - 3 with Councilors Iveson, Henderson and Sloan voting against making it pass. The Mayor then asked for second reading, again 10 - 3 with the same three against the bylaw officially passed! The bylaw now goes to the regional board for approval which may take as long as six weeks as we have been told. As the regional board has identified Horse Hill as a growth area, it seems automatic it will be accepted and passed as well.

The process ahead now is; nothing will be changed in the area until an NSP is passed which will most likely be applied for shortly after the capital region passes the ASP. There is no indication where yet, but it has to be done as the planning process will take a while and Edmonton is definitely short in NE Edmonton for development. Before any shovel is in the ground, it will be approx. two years as this is how long it takes to get plans in place and accepted with more public consultation.

The North East Edmonton Alliance is proud to thank those who assisted us from the Development Community to support our wishes, keeping us informed and respecting each of our members with the utmost respect. This gratitude applies to the City of Edmonton, Stantec, Walton, Cameron and Crest Developments.
NEEA is proud to display our working relationships, this is how a Community shares it's desires and dreams.  Our endeavors would have been much easier if our NEAP neighbors would have worked with us instead of  involving a community with little to absolutely no track record within this Community. The "status quo" for Horse Hill had been supported by this Community from 1982 - 2009. At the MDP in 2009 it is this group who made it clear they did not want to work with the community by showing up to the public hearings with the Greater Edmonton Alliance (GEA) and implementing their agenda and not that of the community as a whole. Due to their creation of this process and distrust, NEEA was formed which consisted of those with insight and imagination to break the "status quo" planning of the past and to pass this ASP. 

For the shot at NEEA during the public hearings by the gentleman opposing this plan about our strong ties and pro development. They offered to work with us, and by no means did they write our presentations, tell us what we wanted and control a community with misrepresentation. You just cant get that without being passionate about our land and community!

Thank you to everyone who assisted throughout this process, ALL NEEA members are excited about the future for Horse Hill.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Support the Horse Hill Area Structure Plan

Tomorrow begins the Public Hearing for the Horse Hill Area Structure Plan (ASP). 

That's right folks...Monday Feb.25, and Tues. Feb 26 will be the days set aside for the Public Hearing. Finally we will get peace in our Community and leave our fellow friends, neighbors and community with a sense of direction by our civic leaders. We will have a vision and know the direction after 32 years and defending of our property rights.

For those North Edmonton Agricultural Producers (NEAP) who hid behind being; "non suspecting and naieve local farmers who didn't know who you were selling your land to"?
Let's explain shall we;

This has been a well-mastered and heavily orchestrated plan for which we as a community have been witness to. The commercial agricultural producers left the sanction of this Community who supported them during and after annexation (1982 - 2004). Because you sold much of your land since 2000 and as recent as Jan. of 2012, this community could no longer support commercial operators views that require Ag land to conduct their business when they became tenants. TOPSOIL, Legacy Lands (NEAP as they are known today) wanted back then to lock up the same land they just sold. We as a Community refused to support those ideas then as today. It would be hypocritical and just wrong from a community standpoint.

We still believe the "Landowner" has Rights 

In the Municipal District Plan (MDP) in 2009, the Horse Hill Community spoke on the support of the City of Edmonton requiring an ASP for each of the last three Urban Growth Areas SE, SW, and NE. When we took part in the process we suddenly learned whom the Greater Edmonton Alliance (GEA) was! Apparently since 2006 our resident, commercial agricultural producing neighbors had found a NEW community to support their initiatives, GEA. We as a Community had been blind sided! Not a mention, meeting, common or uncommon ground before the MDP.

From that process, research for a Food and Ag strategy was to be required before the ASP in NE only had to be completed. A third land study in 30 years? That process has concluded, interestingly it read much as the previous two, which were conducted in the mid 80's and 1996. Many of the special claims of the NE soils made by NEAP and GEA groups, were not substantiated with scientific studies and documented proof. 

Facts are; it's like the myth of the Sasquatch, it's there right? I was told it's there! Does it have to be proven to believe in it? Experts say it's there but not one skeleton has been found. Called an "Urban Myth." 

For years now, many of these same commercial producers have their business participating in international markets and are conducting their business on "rented" land as they no longer own enough to maintain their present business models. Simply put - without NEEA members land - no more commercial agricultural producer. For those who think the produce is "Organic" far from it. Our members have lost bored water wells due to high levels of recorded  nitrates from water run off due to over concentrated fertilizer applications to gain maximum yields. Trees have been killed or stunted from chemicals being sprayed in windy conditions and topsoil from fields blown off in high winds. In our experience and knowledge of practices, none of these lands in "all" of NE Edmonton would pass organic certification.

Our position is clear and concise. If you Own your land, speak on it's behalf! Do not speak on behalf of your neighbors wishes. We have supported these commercial producers from the beginning by representing their rights in the ASP. If it's green on the map, that's all they own and have the right speak to. For all the land that is not green? We will do the speaking for it! NEEA has the interest of those landowners. NEAP and GEA do not have permission from those landowners to represent their interests! We respected and supported your decision; now in return, respect your neighbors wishes. 

As for GEA and their members, the treatment and tactics displayed by their Local Foods Team will long be not forgotten and unnoticed by this Community. You attacked our members on personal levels; discredit their experience and knowledge for your "common good"?

We question your tactics and integrity?

NEEA urges the land owned by these commercial agricultural producers to be registered and locked up for perpetuity through the Edmonton Area Land Trust (EALT). We would encourage all residents in Edmonton to support these producers in accomplishing this goal by sending emails to the Greater Edmonton Alliance and requesting them to have proof at the Public Hearings that these producers have done this before the ASP. NEEA has asked! EALT to date does not carry their titles to preserve it as ag?

Do it for the "common good" 

Contact them at the listed address   suggesting these producers make the commitment before they request for more land they do not have the right to represent.

This is by far the most extensive, time consuming design than others done previously for and in conjunction with the City of Edmonton. This ASP has vision, a balance for ag land, residential, environmental protection, park sites and commercial developments.Our members are excited to make NE Edmonton proud for the foresight it contains and how it will support the Edmonton Energy and Technology Park to the north of our location for generations to come.

NEEA will be in City Council Feb 25 & 26 to participate in the process and witness the undeniable act of others speaking on our rights. We require our civic leaders to show leadership to make this happen. They will be required to listen and make the best decision  for Edmonton and it's surrounding Capital Region.

We participated in far too many studies, plans and developments in the past 32 years

The Capital Region too has NE Edmonton as a "Growth Area"!

NEEA will be encouraging Council show leadership and pass this ASP!

Friday, February 8, 2013

NEEA and the Area Structure Plan

      As we begin to prepare for NEEA's presentation for the Area Structure Plan (ASP), we will continually address the misinformation from GEA and their Local Food Team?  NEEA feels this will be the only way they and North Edmonton Agricultural Producers (NEAP) will get the ill informed support. NEEA will report the truth from within our Community and from the land owners perspective. This information is what GEA does not want you to know.           Our members attended some of the open houses hosted by these two groups which was to be open to all? Continually, our members were silenced during question sessions by not answering questions we crafted to publicly inform those in attendance. Many times we were asked by those in attendance to share our thoughts after the meetings. Those in attendance noticed it was intentional that we were being silenced by the Local Foods Team chair and organizers. Many had never been told there was a lobby group representing the community who did not support the views of these two groups.

      This is the latest by GEA, for all those who attended City Council for the Food and Ag policy, you will have more insight than those who did not and will realize again, they are misleading the public. Much of what is written was proven inaccurate at the public hearings on the City Wide Food and Ag Strategy (CWFAS).

Heads in the Sand, Good Information be Damned:

8 Facts on True Costs of Losing Farmland to Urban Sprawl

Edmonton’s City Council seems poised to approve a plan that preserves virtually none of the prime farmland in Northeast Edmonton before taking a look at good information about the value of Edmonton’s remaining agricultural land.  The proposed Horse Hill Area Structure Plan (ASP), slated for Public Hearing on February 25 and 26, 2013,(1:30 to 9:30 both days) would convert almost all remaining farmland to low density residential and retail development.  Mounting evidence about the true costs of converting farmland to urban sprawl raises serious questions about the wisdom of the proposed Horse Hill ASP. 

Other municipalities have successfully implemented alternate solutions to “business-as-usual sprawl” where regulatory and fiscal policies align to support the creative use of existing spaces in already built areas.  Portland and Vancouver are leaders of the “smart growth” pack.  Our City could choose to embrace such policies, and simultaneously reduce sprawl and preserve farmland.  Instead, the current choice is to not even gather good information to show us the trade-offs between different decisions.

We are aware of skilled consultants the City could engage to use state-of-the-art methodologies, such as Multi-criteria Analysis, Total Cost Assessment, or Full Cost Accounting, to provide comprehensive assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed ASP and alternative land use scenarios. City Councilors are requesting information on alternate financial scenarios in controversial decisions like the new arena[1], but have voted down motions to do the same in the case of converting prime farmland to other uses.  The City is aware of these options, but is choosing not to gather this information so necessary to making wise decisions.

Please read the attachment for 8 facts on the true costs of losing farmland to urban sprawl. Let us know if you have any questions or require additional information.

Local Food Team - Greater Edmonton Alliance

      The Horse Hill ASP is about to go to Public Hearings, a collaborative effort by not only GEA, North Edmonton Agricultural Producers (NEAP), NEEA members, many City Dept.'s as well as many other stakeholders.
       Here are just a few of the facts provided by NEEA and its members at City Council;
During and since annexation (1981);

      The Province of Alberta made it very clear in the annexation order that "All" the annexed land in the City of Edmonton, including that in NE Edmonton will be ultimately used for urban development and will be designated as agriculture as as interim use! 

      The farmland which is designated to be preserved in NE Edmonton is that of which the landowner wants to preserve by their own choice through ownership. To represent any more of that land as agriculture will be against the wishes of the TRUE and RIGHTFUL landowner. 

      Had the NEAP members ( 6 existing farmers who between all of them own approx. 200 ha.) had simply continued to own their land today, rather than selling much of it in early 2000, would have been in control of this land they seek. Today they want to represent their property rights for agriculture ( to date none of the six have preserved in perpetuity through the Edmonton Area Land Trust) but NEAP and GEA wish to control the future of our property rights? 

NEEA has never suggested to have any of the NEAP members lands to be put into housing or development!

NEEA and their members are more than frustrated with the facts and wishes of our property rights being misrepresented and misleading. 
1) The above comments, much of the prime farm land in NE Edmonton being used for urban development? It was proven in City Council during the public CWFAS hearings that two previous detailed land studies prior to and including the most recent by HB Lanarc for NE Edmonton, this land is "slightly" better than the other two growth areas in the city.

      2) "Other municipalities have successfully implemented alternate solutions" 
Who? Where? 
       We heard all these general generic terms at the City Wide Food and Ag strategy!  Supply the information and the facts or else it's hearsay.
       This ASP allows those who want to keep their land as agriculture to do so! Notice not to "preserve it" as they still have not?
      3) We are aware of skilled consultants the City could engage to use state-of-the-art methodologies, such as Multi-criteria Analysis, Total Cost Assessment, or Full Cost Accounting, to provide comprehensive assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed ASP and alternative land use scenarios.
       NEEA's solution;
Cut the cost to the taxpayer... Don't sell "OWN IT" just like NEEA members! The City of Edmonton already spent $ 750,000.00 to conduct the Food and Agriculture strategy which was driven by NEAP and GEA without the inclusion of our community before at Municipal District Plan (MDP). City Council made the correct informed decision!

       NEEA members, own the same land as NEAP members land, not once had we asked this organization or their supporters to represent it for us! 
      We, as the "farmers" since 1981 knew what was going to happen in the long run! Why are these farmers confused? Their land will continue to be farmed (as long as they wish to) as it is today. Their problem is they have sold much of the land they need to continue their commercial business. 
     NEEA, as owners of this land will support the ASP,  it is our right to do so. It has been accomplished as a collaborative effort with much of the heritage being incorporated into its design. Farming can continue and neighborhoods will be designed to allow residents who work in all parts of the city as well as the immediate vicinity to the Edmonton Energy and Technology Park to have a place to live and play.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Horse Hill Annexation and NEEA

Upon going to City Councils Executive Committee to address the recent document which was put together by a wide range of "Stakeholders" is now being challenged by some the same stakeholders who participated in the creation of it. Fact is they want this $750,000 study redone or sent back for more information requiring nothing but delays and money.

"City- Wide Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy" is a project that many people have dedicated an enormous amount of time to develop. NEEA has heard many comments from other Blogs and media sources who consistently want to discredit the hours of time volunteered to review the insurmountable pile of information and then attempt to come to a conclusion to be a win win for everyone. From comments written in the social media and Blogs that attempt to discredit the outcome or back grounds of the people representing each of the stakeholder groups, Are you truly ever happy?

In the beginning of this project, our Community felt we were being excluded and left behind. Imagine before NEEA was formed, and residents found out there was a Questionnaire being circulated throughout the farmers markets. We initially weren't too concerned but when we investigated the questions being asked of the public, it was clear, land preservation was on the topic. Not City wide, NE Edmonton in particular so we questioned the Horse Hill Community League if they had been advised and offered the electronic copy to circulate throughout our Community? This is where things got interesting because we got the big   "NO".   Further investigating, we found out the Greater Edmonton Alliance (GEA) had, it was on their website with comments prior to filling it out to direct their members to indicate land preservation in NE Edmonton.
We now felt left behind!

For those who direct North East Agricultural Producers (NEAP) and Greater Edmonton Allianace (GEA), this is why NEEA was formed. We as landowners and former supporters of your cause need, to explain why we will not support your cause and let the public you are misinforming understand;
  • We as residents supported the commercial agricultural producers who, while they owned their properties (which consisted of contiguous tracts of prime agricultural and micro-climate claiming soils) we supported them as a Community would so they could continue their farming on their lands. Justt as what is being done in City Council today.
  • Upon completing two agricultural land studies, it became apparent to everyone in the City Planning Department and within the Community, this soil and micro-climate are simply nothing out of the ordinary for the regional area. There too was a third  study (prior to this one) that was never allowed to be reviewed. NEEA has it! NEEA has exhausted the search for this "MICRO-CLIMATE" in NE Edmonton. We have asked our Provincial Government representative to supply the documented study showing the data for our area. "None Existant"                                                                
  • Approximately 2005, prior to the recent Municipal District Plan (MDP), these same commercial agricultural producers requested our assistance again for the most recent MDP process. Now twenty five years since annexation, our Community has gone without many of the same conveniences that our urban residents enjoy, in fact we have seen an enormous amount of development take place in all areas of the City excluding, NE Edmonton. 
  • At the 2005 meeting , the Community questioned the commercial agricultural producers about land sales as many residents had only heard the rumors. Much of their land (contiguous tracts of prime agricultural and micro-climate claiming soils) had been been sold by them to a new owner. Not to their  families in the commercial agricultural producing business but to investment companies willing to pay far more per acre than any farming Community. As the new owners were not in attendance, our Community refused to represent their interests as we had no idea what they were. The Community was astonished these commercial agricultural producers were more than willing to impose constraints upon property they no longer owned? Never the less trying to get the Community to support them? Without the investment company in attendance, we refused to support them any longer. How far were these commercial agricultural producers willing to go?
  • While attending the most recent MDP process, our Community was handed the blindsiding of our existence! A food and agriculture strategy for the city wide before any MDP's can go ahead and for us as a Community, yet again another land study! Who was leading this charge? GEA and ?...our NE Commercial Agricultural Producers (neighbors)? These members of our Community have turned their backs and treated us with the same respect they showed for the purchasers of their (contiguous tracts of prime agricultural and micro-climate claiming soils) land! The same Community who has supported them since annexation! We as a Community are now hugely stunned, how long had they been organizing. No consideration or concern for those they call, neighbors. Apparently they have a new Community and we are expendable. This is not how an agricultural community, treats one another!
  • NEEA is formed. The residents of this Community feel betrayed, let down by the commercial agricultural producers (our neighbors) and GEA. Upon realizing money is the ultimate reasoning to their approach we can't help but suspect GEA and their supporters are being played as we had. These producers had used us until we realized their intent, they easily replaced our Community with GEA's and kept us in the shadows of their intent on this food and agriculture initiative. Ill prepared going into the MDP and what was going to be pressed upon us yet again! Imagine how we felt when we found out recently our producers have been working with GEA since 2006. Notice the events from 2005 and then in 2006, they wasted no time!
  • January 2012 - An Advisory Committee is formed to detail and design the "City Wide Food and Urban Agriculture Study." Today this is what is being debated in City Council.
  •  Executive Council meeting Oct 26/2012 in City Council Chambers. Interesting day to say the least as we were to witness,
Comments like; 
  1. "Why should the Developers be involved when its about saving land for food security?"              
  2.  They were very clear in their messages to those who attended, "this is the common good for the citizens" without so much as inviting one member of our community to a meeting so the common could hear how this would affect you. NEEA too was excluded in participating in the Advisory Committee, that left the Community League President and these food people to speak on the rights of our Community's land owners, properties?  GEA, Local Foods and NEAP stakeholders were involved.
  3. "Property rights carry little right to zoning" as said by a Local Foods representative. "No compensation has to be given for their zoning rights. The Federal government has done it in the past."
  4. Our members in the audience clearly heard, "NEEA was invited to these meetings" which is a false statement. They are the ones who could not meet at least three meeting dates that were attempted by NEEA. Whether we were invited (NEEA) or not, How many residents in the area received a flyer inviting you personally to a house or Church meeting hosted by GEA , NEAP or the Local Foods Team? They held at least forty five of them in Urban Edmonton. 
That tells us they know our Community does NOT support NEAP or having a group who is unseen or heard from representing OUR interests.
Had they approached us with everyone's interests in hand, we would be standing there with them.

This is what we will support, since annexation (1981) we as residents of OUR Community have lived by as the commercial agricultural producers, the same conditions that were presented to us word for word by the                     City of Edmonton;

Not withstanding the City's belief in, and support of, the principle advocating the preservation of the Province's agricultural land base, the City must view the matter of agricultural land management from an urban perspective. That perspective centres on the following assumptions;
  • agricultural lands within the corporate limits of the City of Edmonton will ultimately be developed for urban use;
  • urban development represents the highest and best use for all incorporated lands;
  • urban centres constitute the most efficient and economical opportunities to accommodate the Province's population and industrial growth and;
  • ultimately, urban development represents a legitimate use of all incorporated lands, irrespective of soil productivity considerations.

The City of Edmonton Planning also stated;

"Agriculture zoning for the urban growth areas (UGA) will be an interim use until the land is required for urban development."

This was to prevent fragmentation of the land and prevent "Leap Frogging" something GEA has stated they support to stop the development of this ag land? That means allowing the Municipalities to grow and not Edmonton?

Regardless of your position, our Community as the NEAP organizers have been living with the same understanding for thirty two years. TOPSOIL was their name prior to 2006, unfortunately they wore out their welcome as explained earlier. The same arguments and attempts for justification then, as today, only now they own little of what they have suggested for GEA to represent in their vision.

We as a Community have a hard time believing the Community in Edmonton will support these individuals, once they hear the facts behind what NEAP is.


There are people out there that want to argue and discredit this fabulous Horse Hill Community and it's resident owners. For those people, we will give you every opportunity to hear us and get involved, should you have the perspective our history, property rights and voices be eliminated from any discussion; We as a Community will challenge your perspective.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

November 23, 2009 Post MDP

In providing information to our members and the public to inform them of how we got to where we are, NEEA is committed to providing facts to support all the claims made by our organization.We will provide new information each day until the Non-Statutory meeting in City Council Oct 26/ 2012. This we hope will bring the facts to the table and supply information to those seeking the truth.

This article was found in "Just Food Edmonton's Blog" published November 23/2009. This particular "win" for GEA at City Council came with information and direction from residents within our Community (Horse Hill) who have alot of knowledge and participation in the previous two (1983 and 1997) NE Land Management Studies which clearly stated that NE Edmonton would be staged as agriculture until it was required for urban growth.

From our Communities perspective, we call their win a "blind siding" of the Community. GEA started this campaign in 2008! Who did they campaign? The same Community who has been very patient and accepting to our agricultural producers had just been duped going into City Council. Not one meeting to involve the Community residents by GEA or North East Agricultural Producers (NEAP) to simply let the Horse Hill Community League know what was about to be proposed. Leaving the Horse Hill Community uninformed!

Notice too;
                  "Motions were passed to ensure that mechanisms and strategies to preserve farmland within in Edmonton will be in place before any land can be planned, rezoned or developed."

How about we help? Ownership, Edmonton Area Land Trust to name a couple easy ones.
Their initiative was clearly expressed in the previous read.

This is one of the many reasons the North East Edmonton Alliance (NEEA) was created... to inform, bring facts, reasoning and representation for those who have another voice for our Community.

The Resident Stakeholders, NEEA Members

Protecting Edmonton’s Food Security

The Greater Edmonton Alliance had a great day at city hall yesterday, winning key votes on their year long campaign to preserve farm land and integrate a local food system into any future plans for development.
Motions were passed to ensure that mechanisms and strategies to preserve farmland within in Edmonton will be in place before any land can be planned, rezoned or developed.

This was GEA’s primary task from the beginning of the “This Land is our Land” Campaign launched in September of 2008. More than a year later it is now moving forward in the final version of the MDP to be voted on in February.
The biggest win came on the following motion: Preparation of Area Structure Plans is authorized for the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest Urban Growth Areas and shall only be approved following council acceptance of, and adherence with the:
- Growth Coordination Strategy
- Integrated Infrastructure Plan: and
- City Wide Food and Agriculture Strategy

An amendment to delete the City Wide Food and Agriculture Strategy was made by Ward 3 Councilor Tony Caterina. This amendment was defeated in a 7-6 nail-biter.
Those councilors who voted for keeping the City Wide Food and Agriculture Strategy tied to the motion and any future planning and development were: Karen Lebovici, Ron Hayter, Don Iveson, Dave Theile, Ben Henderson, Kim Krushell, Linda Sloan.

Those who voted to remove the City Wide Food and Agriculture strategy from the motion were: Mayor Mandel, Tony Caterina, Ed Gibbons, Jane Batty, Bryan Anderson and Amarjeet Sohi.
The GEA extends their thanks to all of who helped out with the campaign.
This is a huge step forward for food security in Edmonton.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues Response

       President of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues
   Response to the City Wide Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy

From David Dodge's blog

#5  Food And Agricultural Strategy Needs More Meat On The Bones

The EFCL has decided to ask the city to do more work on the Food and Agricultural Strategy before adopting the draft document as city policy.

While liking many of the ideas presented in the policy, such as the promotion of food hubs, farmer’s markets and community gardens, the EFCL couldn't determine from the document who was going to undertake any of the projects, how they would do them or where they would get the resources. 

The EFCL also didn't see any commitment to protecting any of the city’s prime agricultural land, which is a key ingredient to providing locally-grown food.

Without additional direction the federation is concerned that the draft policy won’t accomplish much of anything.

The following is the response to Mr. Dodge from NEEA, please feel free to comment on his blog or send him an email if you should choose, email  
                                      David Dodge <>
                                                      Ask him to consider NEEA 's position. 

Hi David,

North East Edmonton Alliance (NEEA) is a group of landowners in NE Edmonton representing the majority of landowners in NE Edmonton – better known as “Horse Hill” or the North East Urban Growth Area (UGA).

Of the 3,887 hectares acres under discussion in the NE UGA, 26% is within the River Valley Alliance jurisdiction and a further 8.8% is already in use for recreation areas, power lines & telecommunication sites, and the Alberta Hospital Edmonton leaving approximately 2,530 hectares for development and amenities including parks, schools, roads and other ancillary uses, those who wish to continue farming into the future own approximately 200 hectares – the remainder is owned by an assortment of developers and other private landowners.

Since annexation in 1981, it was made very clear to the residents that until it was required for urban development, it would be staged as agriculture. For the residents and area agricultural producers this was fine. However, leapfrog development and uses not compatible with the agricultural nature of the area have increased significantly. This, over the past several years and for the past two MDP debates, led to the Horse Hill Community League requesting that Council proceed with an Area Structure Plan so that these sorts of developments could be curtailed and rezoning where it was required and consistent with the ASP could proceed.  For instance there is a major cemetery developed in the area that is currently zoned agricultural.  This should be corrected.

From our perspective, these individuals who wish to continue farming should prove their intent by donating and preserving in perpetuity their lands as agriculture through the Edmonton Area Land Trust; an organization who I believe Mr. Bolstad was instrumental in implementing while he represented TOPSOIL and Legacy Lands Conservation Society. Both these organizations are well known within our community for past land preservation tactics in Horse Hill (NE Edmonton). NEEA suspects this will NOT occur as past suggestions to this effect have not been heeded. There would have been ways to save this land if that was truly important to this group through any number of avenues including cooperative ownership as they, their friends and relatives sold land to developers.

Soil tests have been taken and there have been two previous studies by the City of Edmonton. This strategy does not show results different form the past two. We are not surprised by the latest study results, but we are surprised how suddenly everyone seems to claim the soil inside Edmonton is better than anything around Edmonton.

The study has proven 733,000 ha of #1, 2 and 3 soil makes up the Edmonton capital region. Fact is much of the information gathered for this study came from those past land studies.

NEEA is of the opinion that although we as an organization will support the study, we cannot understand whom, the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues is representing here?
Where did EFCL gather their information? NEEA is concerned with the implication and direction that may come from your comments. Have you ever had a discussion with the Horse Hill Community League? Has EFCL held a local open house for feedback?  How informed are you and your executive on agriculture in the City? Many of our members are farmers or past producers who are very informed and would provide a much different perspective if you are interested in the other side of the story.

During the past 32 years a group of agricultural producers have wanted to create an agricultural zone.  These same producers at one point owned much of the land that is being sought out which is over and above the land currently owned by them. Instead of preserving this "prime agricultural land" through ownership they decided to sell it but not for agricultural value instead to the development industry knowing very clearly who was purchasing the land. Six farmers... 2- market and greenhouse commercial producers, 2-tree and shrub nurseries, 1- berry producer and an international commercial seed potato producer who harvests and stores very little in Edmonton boundaries.

The Horse Hill Community League was blindsided at the MDP when the Greater Edmonton Alliance along with these six agricultural producers made a presentation to City Council to involve this City Wide Food and Agriculture Strategy to the remaining UGA’s.  The main aim of this Strategy seemed to be solely focused on “saving” agricultural land in the NE rather than developing a comprehensive food strategy for the City. Publicly even now all discussion is focused on the NE. How does this translate into a “food movement” or a food strategy as to a City wide aspect?

This issue has divided the community for years. We have dealt for the past two years now with the implications that these groups presented at City Council. The numerous meetings, lack of representation to the stakeholder meetings, incorrect addresses to which questionnaires and surveys were sent or never received are issues the league has tried to address as it tries to ensure that all residents all heard on this issue.  We support the representative from the Horse Hill Community League in her efforts in this regard.

As the past president of this community, I am suggesting the EFCL become more involved educating themselves from affected individuals from all sides prior to developing an opinion that can or will create long reaching consequences. As an example, during my Community Presidency, the Top of Bank Policy was supported by the EFCL. Consequences to privately owned properties were not fully explored, as the landowners were not consulted. Are you completely aware of the restrictions and constraints this has created with the EFCL's support? My property is one of them, when I questioned EFCL; I was never given a reply. NEEA would like you to reconsider your statement until you consult with a broader range of stakeholders including the affected Communities and their respective leagues.

Please feel free to contact us or visit our blog


Todd Molineaux
NEEA Representative

Monday, October 15, 2012

Important Information Regarding
YOUR Property!

Edmonton City Hall is holding a meeting on October 26 regarding the Food and Agricultural Strategy that is being proposed. We NEED you to commit to attend so our voices are heard.

This Strategy GREATLY affects Land and Property in Northeast Edmonton.

NEEA (North East Edmonton Alliance) is holding a discussion on Friday Oct 19 from 6-7PM Sharp at Evergreen Community League to organize for the October 26 Meeting. We will have more information available for you there.

Plan to attend both meetings-Your property may be significantly affected if we are not willing to stand up for our rights.
For more info Email or call: Gerald or Ingrid Sieben 780-818-6496, Sharon Stepanick 780-818-6267 or Todd or Brenda Molineaux 780-278-8475