Great Capital Region Scenario Analysis
To inform recommendations to Edmonton region mayors on how to make the region globally competitive, ALCES Online was applied to explore the long-term (50 year) consequences of alternative urban development strategies to landscape composition and greenfield development. The scenario analysis, presented as an appendix to the report, identified significant environmental and fiscal benefits from pursuing urban densification in the Edmonton region. The modelling indicates that if municipalities continue to develop the Metro Region under a “business as usual” approach, as 87,700 additional hectares of agricultural land and 50,200 hectares of natural areas could be lost to uncoordinated development over the next 50 years. What’s more, the settlement footprint across the region could double in size from 135,900 hectares to as much as 273,900 hectares. Taxpayers could be on the hook for an additional $8.2 billion to service that larger footprint with roads and other public infrastructure. The good news is that there is a far better way forward – if municipalities plan, decide and act as one Metro Region through an integrated approach, the expansion of the overall settlement footprint could be cut by approximately half. This would save precious agricultural land and natural areas. Municipal servicing costs would be cut in half, reducing upward pressure on municipal tax rates and saving money for taxpayers.