There are few projects in Edmonton that promise to deliver a more game-changing boost to the urban fabric than the Blatchford Development. The vacated City Centre Airport has unlocked a blank canvas for builders, planners and architects to go wild and unleash their creative ideas. Like building a neighbourhood in SimCity, Blatchford's 536 acres will be completely transformed into one of the largest sustainable communities on the planet.

Mid-rise housing overlooks natural green spaces, image via City of Edmonton

With work on the site now underway, a frequent stream of updates posted to aims to keep the public informed about the status of the development. We consolidated the information into our own article earlier this year, which outlined some of the work expected to take place over the course of 12 months. Now, a May update has alerted the public that the 2017 construction season has officially kicked off, with crews mobilizing on the site to begin installation of the underground utilities that will service the first residential stage of the project.

Local road construction will begin after the utilities are placed underground, image via City of Edmonton

Before crews can begin constructing the local road network, a system of storm, sanitary and water pipes need to be placed below the ground. This includes piping for the district energy sharing system that will provide energy-efficient heating, cooling, and hot water to the neighbourhood homes and other buildings. By late 2017, crews are expected to begin the process of drilling boreholes under the first stormwater pond for the geo-exchange, one of the renewable energy sources for the district energy sharing system. 

Below-grade work for utilities placement begins, image via

"Starting another year of construction means we are one step closer to seeing the first of 30,000 residents moving into one of the world's largest sustainable communities," said Mark Hall, Executive Director, Blatchford. "While people won’t see buildings going up in Blatchford until next year, this is another significant milestone for us in terms of getting the site ready for the home builders."

Pedestrian-oriented cafes and retail line the streets, image via City of Edmonton

Part of the sustainability strategy of the project involves recycling of the runways that criss-crossed the site. About one-third of the concrete, asphalt and gravel has already been removed and crushed on the property and will be reincorporated into the roads of the future community. Any unneeded materials will be sold for reuse elsewhere.

The builder selection process is also expected to begin in the summer, with the first units going to presale in 2018. Additional images and information can be found in the Database file linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion or share your photos? Check out the associated Forum thread or leave a comment at the bottom of this page.