Southeast Edmonton residents weighed in Tuesday evening about a plan to redevelop and integrate Mill Woods Town Centre with new high-rise residences and the Valley Line LRT.
The city's chief planner on the project, Michelle Ouellette, said the proposed development could add more than 1,750 residential units above retail and cafés on the main floor.
"This is a redevelopment of a major shopping centre," Ouellette said, "[It would] redevelop the whole site to a comprehensive urban livable environment."
The Valley Line, under construction, would be a key component. The 13-kilometre LRT line will connect Mill Woods with downtown.
RioCan said in an email that it and Bayview Realty Development want to transform the current Mill Woods Town Centre into a "mixed-use, transit oriented urban village."
A rezoning application before the city would change the low-density shopping mall and commercial area into a higher-density mixed-use centre.
RioCan said its rezoning application conforms to the City of Edmonton's Mill Woods Station Area Redevelopment Plan.
In addition to the residential units, the 58-acre site would offer 750,000 sq. ft. of commercial space. The height or number of buildings hasn't been determined, but the project could include "a publicly accessible, central esplanade along the length of the main retail street."
Most of the parking, the email said, would be moved underground, "or in structures to prevent a sea of parking lots."
Ward 11 Coun. Mike Nickel said before the meeting he's concerned the proposed project would overwhelm the limited parking options in the vicinity.
Already, he said, the area has, "quite a bit of parasitic parking," which he describes as people who park in lots and then leave the area.
Nickel has already expressed his concerns about the potential lack of parking when Valley Line LRT station opens in 2020.
"We definitely need to address the one question of a park and ride," Nickel said. "That's something that needs to be integrated into this plan. How and when has to be step one."
Ouellette said the city is investigating future parking spaces on private land near the LRT station and they would use Thursday night's meeting to collect feedback from the community.
As for residents who live in the area, some agree parking will eventually be an issue if the proposed development gets the green light.
"Absolutely, ultimately parking will be a problem," Mark Laurie said. "But if the ultimate goal is to get people to use the LRT, you really don't want it to be ultra-convenient for people to drive everywhere."
City council is expected to vote on the rezoning proposal in October, before the municipal election.