City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) Frequently Asked Questions

An Area Redevelopment Plan is a statutory plan that guides land use and development decisions over time. Alberta’s Municipal Government Act allows the City to adopt ARPs in order to provide a long-term vision for the future redevelopment of a specific geographic area.

The City Centre ARP will set a planning framework, based on community values and objectives, to provide a long-term vision for the future redevelopment of the city centre area. It will provide guidance on future land use and form in the area, and include an implementation plan to direct this work. Initially, this includes planning for future infrastructure upgrading and considering any required changes to the Land Use Bylaw that will help direct future development proposals.

The City hired a consultant, Cushing Terrell Architects Inc., in September 2017 to prepare the City Centre ARP, which includes a review of the area, identifies challenges and opportunities, and provides a redevelopment vision and concept to work towards. 

One objective of the City’s Municipal Development Plan is to create a city centre that is a mixed-use hub of activity with a distinct identity, focusing on:

  • Small scale service oriented businesses targeted primarily at the local population with a limited regional customer base;
  • Pedestrian orientation;
  • The use of streets as public spaces;
  • Civic and open space uses;
  • Mixed-use development; and
  • Higher density residential development.

The City Centre ARP will create a plan to fulfill this objective and provide necessary policies to achieve long-term redevelopment. 

Since this work began in 2017, the project team has consulted with stakeholders and the public to gather a range of ideas and input. There will continue to be public outreach during the final phases of planning in order to gather feedback on the proposed redevelopment concept and policy directions. The City will continue to communicate about upcoming engagement opportunities.  

The City’s Municipal Development Plan (Section 5.3 City Centre) outlines the need for a City Centre ARP to help the area regain its social vibrancy and provide a distinct urban experience. This ARP will guide City Administration and landowners in achieving the vision for a mixed-use, pedestrian friendly area that offers a diverse and eclectic range of services. 

We anticipate delivering the City Centre ARP to City Council in the spring of 2019. After that, a public hearing will be held as part of the bylaw process.

UPDATE: A public hearing was held on May 27, 2019, and City Council referred the ARP back to administration for further review. It is anticipated that another public hearing would occur after administration has addressed Council’s comments.

The city centre is the oldest part of Spruce Grove and the existing infrastructure will be reviewed to identify necessary upgrades to accommodate redevelopment. An implementation plan is also intended to define how infrastructure will be planned and upgraded over time. It is expected that these upgrades will include streetscape changes to make the area more pedestrian friendly and accommodate transit buses on McLeod Avenue. As a city centre that is focused on cultural and community events is desirable, upgrading Columbus Park to be a public gathering space that is flexible/suitable for hosting a wide range of events could help achieve this objective.

The City of Spruce Grove is within the Edmonton Metropolitan Region and its land use planning is required to conform to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan (EMRGP). Included in the EMRGP is an aspirational urban and sub-regional centres density target of 100 dwelling units per net residential hectare (du/nrha) that must be worked towards within the city centre (see EMRGP Schedule 6: Greenfield Density, Centres and Intensification Targets  ). This aspirational target requires the City to demonstrate how it is working towards this in its Municipal Development Plan and other statutory plans, including the City Centre ARP.

The City Centre ARP is being created to provide a consistent vision for coordinated redevelopment in the area over time. Part of this change is adding residential density through infill and redevelopment. A change to the City’s Land Use Bylaw will be required to implement the City Centre ARP. When done, a landowner who intends a redevelopment project in the area must adhere to these new regulations. 

The City Centre ARP will not require a landowner to undertake any redevelopment. But, where the new regulations are intending a transition in land use (like transitioning from low-density residential to medium- or high-density residential) it may make existing uses or buildings non-conforming. In this case, the applicable lands and/or buildings would be subject to the following rules, as established in Alberta’s Municipal Government Act:

  • A non-conforming use of lands or building, if discontinued for six consecutive months, must conform to the land use bylaw in effect.
  • A non-conforming use may be extended throughout a building; but, a building with a non-conforming use may not be enlarged, added to or structurally altered.
  • A non-conforming use of part of a lot may not be extended or transferred, in whole or part, to any other part of the lot, and no additional buildings may be constructed on the lot while the non-conforming use continues.
  • A non-conforming building may continue to be used, but may not be enlarged, added to or structurally altered except:
  • To make it conforming;
  • For routine maintenance; or
  • As may be allowed by minor variance powers for the purposes of this section.
  • If a non-conforming building is damaged or destroyed to more than 75 per cent of the value, above its foundation, it may not be repaired or rebuilt.
  • Use of land or buildings is not affected by change of ownership or tenancy.

The existing streetscape, and possibly the road network, will need to be changed to accommodate greater mobility for pedestrians/cyclists, future transit and vehicular traffic. This will help ensure a satisfactory level of service is maintained for vehicles and provide residents who choose to walk/cycle with safe and efficient access to the area.

A city centre parking study indicated that it is sufficient for future development; however, improvements are needed to address future transit needs, as well as employee and customer utilization. It is anticipated that approximately 40 parking spaces along McLeod Avenue (between King Street and Queen Street) will be lost in order to accommodate transit buses, which are not compatible with angled parking.

A parking plan will be critical to ensure management of available on- and off-street parking options. This would be identified in the City Centre ARP’s implementation plan.

Planning of transit service, including timelines and future routes, is not part of this project. However, the consideration of how buses would best access and move through the area will be considered and may influence recommended outcomes.

Once approved, the City Centre ARP is expected to take 25–30 years to implement. It is anticipated that initial efforts will focus on defining and upgrading the streetscape and underground infrastructure along part of McLeod Avenue.

Timing of redevelopment will vary depending on market readiness to participate, demand for housing and the infrastructure upgrades. An implementation strategy will be developed to identify short, medium, and long-term phasing, and actions to support private development activity.