I think he more so means 300 people in the specific area. The project will play a roll in Chinatown revitalisation and pushing development north of 104 Ave. The project is being built because of the pedway as far as I understand.
A large residential project is only being built "because of" the pedway? How much weight did that factor have on the decision to build? By how much does it affect projected rental income? Is the market that much softer for projects without pedways, or is the CRL now just going to be used to build pedways for new residential projects from here on?
Sorry, I don't buy that Qualico would simply not go ahead with this project without it, and Council should have called their bluff. I'm sure the city could attract much more than 430 units by spending that $26M in ways that actually benefit downtown revitalization goals.
Let’s be honest this area is very challenging to develop A pedway isn’t the reason people move in but it will help some people to allay some anxiety. This project if successful will act as a catalyst for further development in that area.
Adding residents and then keeping them off the streets won't do anything to relieve that anxiety. We need more people out and about and visible with eyes on the street, not fewer. And that's not even considering that the pedways often feel less safe, given reduced visibility and fewer escape routes from potential threats.
The bigger picture is those challenges won't go away because of an expensive pedway. If we're serious about solving those challenges, we need to address them head-on and stop trying to literally and figuratively reroute people around them.
One could argue the residents wouldn't go outside if there was no pedway and would simply drive elsewhere out of downtown instead of walking through the pedway system to other parts of downtown. The pedway may encourage them to venture to the City Market. Is that worth $26M? Probably not; however, there is an argument to be made that it will increase people contributing to the downtown economy.
For how many people do you really think the existence of a pedway is the go/no-go factor in their decision to visit the Downtown Farmer's Market? At least people going outside would have an opportunity to find out what other businesses and restaurants and amenities exist around them. Seems to me that would be a bigger benefit to the downtown economy.
Is the lack of pedways causing people in existing downtown residential buildings without pedways to just drive out everywhere and never explore their neighbourhood on foot? If that's what people want, why would they move into a place downtown to begin with, when there's far better (and cheaper) options elsewhere in the city that don't have the same safety perceptions?
Again, not buying it that people would only live in this development because of a pedway.
And even if it were the case, $26M to attract 430 market-rate units? That's $60,500 per unit. For comparison, the City of Edmonton in September announced
that it would build 258 affordable units for $17.6M, or $68,220 per unit. In other words, the city could spend that $26M to add 300 or so affordable housing units to downtown instead of a pedway that is by and large to keep future residents of a private development from having to see the reality of the neighbourhood they live in, let alone participate in any aspect of it.
That is NOT what the CRL is for, and it is NOT what downtown residents were promised it would be used for.