Housing in North Glenora
North Glenora has a Community Plan approved by City Council in August 1998. The Plan was a result of extensive consultation with North Glenora residents, and planning between the North Glenora Planning Committee and the City of Edmonton Planning Department.
North Glenora residents said they wanted North Glenora to remain predominately as a Community of single family dwellings.
An audit of the homes in North Glenora indicated that despite being nearly 50-years old, most of the single-family houses were well
maintained and of high quality. The same could not be found for most of the multiple dwelling buildings. The present ratio of housing is 78% owner occupied and 22% rental.
The survey of residents showed 100% approved of single detached residences, but 68% would also accept semi-detached (side by side) dwellings, while only 45% would approve of up and down duplexes.
Many of the homes in North Glenora have undergone improvements; the majority of that being roofing, plumbing and heating, with a significant number being either remodelled or had additions to them.
The Community Plan states that the Community will: “Accommodate redevelopment in a manner consistent with the existing development and zoning of the community.”
“The current residential zoning be retained to control land use density unless it can be demonstrated to The Community that a rezoning would be in keeping with the Guiding Principles of this Plan as well as the goals and objectives of residents and property owners who might be affected.”
While there is a strong concern to retain a single dwelling community, there is potential for redevelopment of the apartments on 109A Avenue to 4-story buildings, the patio home sites could be expanded from the present 60 units to a maximum of 150 units and the block of single detached houses on the east side of 135 Street between 109B and 110 Avenue are currently zoned RF5 which potentially could allow future row housing. All these possibilities would likely meet with strong community disagreement and the community must remain vigilant and ready to deal with these issues should they emerge.
The Community Plan recommends that:
“The future residential rezoning proposals be reviewed by the Community through a process that ensures compatibility with the Building Principles of this Plan, the goals, objectives of residents and property Owners, and a consensus of opinion within the Community.”
It is hoped that the Community Plan will assist in the ongoing redevelopment and rejuvenation of North Glenora. A second guiding principle states that it is desirable to:
“Maintain the current mix of housing types in order to meet arange of socio-economic needs while continuing to emphasize the single family dwelling.”
It has been recognized that a good mix of residents from young starters to empty nesters makes for a vibrant community that provides for all. The Community Plan considers the possibility for the accommodating of new and innovative ideas and trends. Home based business and intensified density are two current examples of trends that need to be accommodated in any Community. As new trends and needs develop, it will be up to the Community to help identify these and work with the City Planning department to address them. It is recommended:
“That the Community League recommend Land Use Bylaws changes to the City as they may arise, that would allow for innovative residential redevelopment consistent with, and complementary to, existing form and styles of residential development in North Glenora.”
It would be the Community’s responsibility to take the initiative. This was done during the discussions with the Owner of the Patio Homes resulting in a rezoning that would accommodate the building of adult style Condominium dwellings.
One other innovation recommendation is:
“That the community League investigate ways to attract financial resources and means to mobilize expertise in order to purchase and redevelop property for the housing needs of the Community.”
For example, finding someone or some organization that would purchase an appropriate property such as a patio home site and build a seniors type project thereby allowing seniors to sell their homes but stay in North Glenora, and open up residences for new families. Many homes in North Glenora have been completely remodelled or replaced. It is desirable to have homes rejuvenated, for this maintains the value of the Community in both real terms and desirability as a Community to live in.
Another Building Principle is to
“Encourage the rejuvenation of residential buildings in a manner that is sensitive to the residential character of the Community in terms of architectural style and scale of development.”
To do this the Community should ensure:
“That a Residential Design Guide be prepared by the Community League to illustrate appropriate redevelopment and exterior remodelling of existing housing to better insure compatibility with the prevailing residential character of the Community.”
This is a task the Community League is now charged with. To set out a guide that identifies appropriate size and style of homes to fit on North Glenora’s large lots and into the present neighbourhood; which meet the needs of modern families, but which do not become what is commonly referred to as “monster homes”.
The guide would also focus on issues related to height, style, and whether it causes concerns to neighbours by invading their privacy or shading patio or special garden for example. It would also deal with issues such as front verandas or other street friendly front-yard structures or developments (a fountain for example).
It is to everyone’s benefit for property in North Glenora to be well maintained. It enhances the Community and keeps property values up. Sometime back there were some problems when a notorious slum landlord bought some property in North Glenora and allowed it to deteriorate. Since 22% of the residences in North Glenora are rental properties, it is only reasonable to “Encourage Owners of rental housing to maintain and improve their buildings to community standards or to redevelop their properties consistent with the Character of North Glenora”. This becomes another guideline in the plan.
Sometimes a friendly approach from the community can inspire a property owner to clean up a property or refurbish a building. From time to time issues concerning Social Housing in North Glenora have arisen, often with potential neighbours expressing negative reaction and great concern. Where Social Housing has been integrated into North Glenora it has been exceptionally successful and an asset to the neighbourhood.
The Community Plan espouses the proposition that well planned social housing and services can exist in North Glenora. The Plan will:
“Support applications for home-based Child Care services, Group Homes and Foster Homes provided such developments are not intrusive and do not detract form the residential character of the Community and the use and enjoyment of neighbouring properties.”
The Plan recommends:
“That the City and Province investigate and consider ways of increasing consultation between group home applicants and communities, as outlined in the Adult Group Home Housing Project Final Report (April 1997) and ensuring that such homes are dispersed throughout the City and no concentrated within a Community.”
While considering Social Housing and Services, The Plan also addresses Residential Home Care:
“To allow for new innovative ways and means of accommodating the elderly, infirm, and disabled within the homes of families
and friends. It recommends:
That the City, possibly in consultation with the Capital Health Authority and Edmonton home builders, consider preparing residential home care design guidelines for the accommodation of the elderly, infirm, and disabled within the homes of family and friends.
The success of the North Glenora Community Plan isn’t in the words or the fact that it has been approved by a City Council; the success will be in how well the Community uses the Plan. A tremendous responsibility rests on the residents of North Glenora to ensure that their Community develops into the future the way they wish it to. The Community League can be a voice, but the eyes, the ears and the brains will be the Residents of North Glenora.
Next month we will review the Circulation of Traffic (of all means) in the Community Plan.
The Community Plan
North Glenora has a Community Plan. One of the few Edmonton communities that has a planning document that specifies what may or may not be done within the community boundaries. In August 1998 City Council enthusiastically approved the plan developed by the residents of North Glenora over a three year period in conjunction with the City Planning Department.
“The North Glenora Community Plan, a Vision of the Future” sets out the details of the future of the Community. It is a plan, not only being used in North Glenora, but is being used as an example for other Edmonton Communities of how a Community can take some control of its own destiny. The Plan is a tool, or perhaps more acutely, a map of the future; not developed by some remote planner, but by the residents of North Glenora. In the plan we said we should have significant say in how our community functions, how it is developed and how the City of Edmonton services it. City Council agreed.
The first principle of the plan is:
THE COMMUNITY HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR INITIATING ACTION
Instead of depending on some department or person far removed from North Glenora to spot a problem and fix it, it is up to the residents of North Glenora to identify problems and advise the City. This has already worked well. A block by block inspection of the area by the Planning Committee identified problems which were referred to the City. Most were fixed in very short order. Some of the larger items took a little longer and some items, like the sidewalk on the east side of 135 Street between 109 and 109A Avenue is taking longer because of City budget restrictions. Pavement has been repaired or replaced, dead trees removed and replaced, sidewalks repaired, safety barriers replaced in alleys and additional new trees planted, to name a few of the results. However, the plan goes far beyond guiding principles. They really are descriptions of what already exists in North Glenora, but instead of taking them for granted, they are written out and defined in the plan.
Once in the plan they have some authority and become real considerations. The vision of the future for North Glenora likewise is straight forward.
A VISION OF THE FUTURE
The residents of North Glenora foresee a community that will renew and evolve into the future within the framework of its established strengths and attributes. As the community rejuvenates demographically and physically, it will continue to maintain its strong sense of community and a shared understanding that North Glenora is a special place to live.
North Glenora is undergoing change due to shifting demographics, the rejuvenation of 40 year old residences, and mounting
pressure for redevelopment. To effectivley accomodate change, while maintaining the community’s strengths, it was important at the outset to establish direction for conducting the planning exercise. This overall vision statement and associated guiding principles formed the basis for preparing the Plan to assist in guiding the future of North Glenora.
|GUIDING PRINCIPLE 1:||
|The community welcomes residents of all ages and walks of life to make
North Gelenora their home for work, play and family life.
|GUIDING PRINCIPLE 2:||
|The community continues to nurture the strong spirit of community
involvement, sense of belonging and neighbourliness.
|GUIDING PRINCIPLE 3:||
|The community encourages all residents to take ownership in the
well-being of the community.
|GUIDING PRINCIPLE 4:||
|The community commits to continual improvement of its physical
amenities and enhancement of its social fabric.
|GUIDING PRINCIPLE 5:||
Pride in Property
|The community encourages all residents to enhance their property.|
|GUIDING PRINCIPLE 6:||
Use and Enjoyment of Property
|The community respects the right of residents to the use and enjoyment
of property , while safeguarding the broad interest of the community.
|GUIDING PRINCIPLE 7:||
Quality of Life
|The community strives to preserve our environment and the quality of
life currently enjoyed by residents.
|GUIDING PRINCIPLE 8:||
|The community assumes the responsibility for its overall welfare by
proactively addressing resident concerns, and by looking to the future
based on the strength of its past.
The Community Plan has six major sections:
- Business and Commercial
- Landscape and Open Spaces
- Infrastructure (sidewalks, roads, alleys, water, sewer, etc.)
- Quality of Life
These sections will be highlighted in the North Glenora Community News and Website in subsequent issues.
Ready for Another 50 Great Years
North Glenora is nearing fifty years in age, and is part of what is called Central Edmonton. Its age and its proximity to the city core, make it a prime location for redevelopment. In most communities where redevelopment has taken place, the changes have had disastrous effects on the existing neighbourhood, often putting extreme pressures on the remaining single family residents. North Glenora considered this as a possibility in the early 1990’s and decided to find out how residents felt, and what they foresaw as the future of the community. A planning committee was founded under the chairmanship of Tim Brockelsby, who is a planner by profession. The community’s opinions and input were gathered by meetings, questionnaires, and interviews.
Coincidentally, as this process was beginning, a large developer bought the Aldritt townhouses located on 135 Street and 109 Avenue, and the possibility of redevelopment became a reality. The planning committee was plunged into action in a very real way.
The community of North Glenora came to life in the early fifties, and the community league is now 47 years old having been registered in 1953.
North Glenora is unique. It was one of the first planned communities in the city and is one of the smallest communities in Edmonton with approximately 2000 residents. It has a total of 850 residences:
- 690 single family homes
- 40 registered duplexes
- 79 row or town houses
- 62 apartments
- 1 classified as ‘other’
The community is enclosed by four major arterial traffic corridors and has only six points where vehicles can enter or exit.
Despite its size, North Glenora has been a leader. Perhaps no other community in Edmonton has a record of leadership in community activities as has North Glenora. Its first president, Marcel Lambert, went on to be a Member of Parliament and a Speaker of the House of Commons. Three of the Presidents of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues have come from North Glenora – the only league to provide multiple Presidents. It was the originator of community tended parks, the idea that later became adopt-a-park throughout Edmonton. Four-way stop signs at each corner of the playfield, park and school campus originated here, as did Garbage Fairs, which are now spread across the city and across Canada. The recycling bin areas located in shopping centres and Eco Centres for special needs disposal located at 99 Street and 53 Avenue also originated from a North Glenora resident. North Glenora was also well known for its sports teams and the North Glenora Blues Lacrosse team became famous across Canada.
Citizens of North Glenora have distinguished themselves in nearly every facet of society. Perhaps it is the closeness of the community that has inspired its successes. In any event the community league has always been a focal point and center of the community. In 1992-93 an issue arose concerning the Aldritt townhouses on 135 Street and 109 Avenue. They were thirty years old and already a potential for redevelopment. The Old Coronation apartments at 138 Street and 109A Avenue had already been redeveloped, as had many private dwellings.
Residents became concerned that anyone could buy up a site and redevelop it, as they wished, within the rather wide and sometimes vague existing zoning. Concerns about ‘monster houses’ or large new townhouses or multi-floored apartment blocks were voiced.
The community-league formed the planning committee, under the chairmanship of Tim Brockelsby, moved into action and a process of community planning began. The first success came after the committee negotiated with the owner of the townhouses for a project that would be compatible with the community. Three-story adult residences were agreed upon, but the committee also took action to have the site of the townhouses rezoned to a site specific designation, restricting what could be built and giving the community considerable say in any redevelopment. Unfortunately, the proposed redevelopment of the townhouses did not proceed as market conditions and the economy changed.
The planning committee, however, realized from the community meetings and the input from residents on the townhouse situation, that there was also a lot of concern about the future of North Glenora. From that point in 1993, a very vigorous process began to take control of the destiny of North Glenora into the community. The planning committee began something very unique: a Community Plan began to be formulated
- starting in the community
- sponsored by the community
- developed by volunteers, in cooperation with the City of Edmonton Planning Department, without any outside influence or funding.
Some indirect funding was evident, however, from the City Planning department, which paid for the time and some paper support of a member of the Planning Department to advise the community committee.
Open meetings were held and one of the most successful community planning questionnaires in the city’s history revealed what residents of North Glenora wanted, didn’t want and what was good, bad or missing in their neighbourhood. One thing was very clear – residents of North Glenora wanted a significant voice in the future of their community and were prepared to work for it and take responsibility for that future. A plan was developed, and further consultation with residents continued as the planning committee diligently worked to “get it right”. In August 1993, the plan was presented to City Council where it met with a very positive response. This was the first time a community had presented a plan in advance of anticipated change and before change became a contentious or hot political issue. The plan was approved by City Council, with Ward 4 councilor Jim Taylor going so far as to say it was ” a perfect example of what should be done in other communities”. Another first for North Glenora, the plan is as much about building and sustaining a community as it is about land use and residential planning. The plan has no legal status or status in law, although it has clearly set the tone and the moral obligations for future development. What happens in North Glenora, now is based on a solid plan, which reflects the community’s desires, yet is flexible enough to consider change. Already change is taking place. The vibrancy of a community depends on it staying current and progressive.
The housing stock must be maintained as well as he roads and sidewalks. The neighbourhood must have character and be comfortable, the schools must be viable, and not the least, the community league must be strong.
In North Glenora, the beginning of the next 50 years has started. A few years ago the community hall was expanded, and programs for smaller children were redeveloped. In 1998 a new playground was built, with the new, younger parents who were relatively new to the community taking the lead.
Coronation School was also being revitalized and again new, younger parents who saw North Glenora as a good location to settle took a leading role. Now, a major redevelopment of the community center is taking place with new playgrounds and play areas, pathways and landscaping, multi-use areas for young and old.
Where hockey, lacrosse, basketball and baseball were the sports of the 60s and 70s, soccer, biking, inline skating and skateboarding are the recreational activities of today’s youth. North Glenora is leading the way to ensure our youth can enjoy their leisure in their own community.
New faces are appearing in the community league as the older activists begin to relax and savour their remarkable contributions over nearly 50 years. In the next few issues of the newsletter and updates to the website, we will be showcasing the community plan and explaining the new developments that will keep North Glenora a great place to live in this newly begun 21st century. Hopefully, every resident will feel involved and keep a keen and active sense of proprietorship in their community.
NORTH GLENORA MILLENNIUM PARK
The North Glenora Community League, in partnership with the City of Edmonton and the Canada Millennium Partnership Program, has undertaken a pathways and landscaping project at the local park. Renamed for the millennium, North Glenora Millennium Park includes new trees, shrubbery, security lighting, park benches, and pathways. The pathways provide improved access for wheelchair users and seniors, as well as for inline skaters and cyclists. The goal of this project is to provide a focal point for neighborhood activities in a natural setting.
North Glenora Community League
10828 – 139 Street
Edmonton AB T5M 1P7
Phone: (780) 452-1589
Fax: (780) 488-6182