Blatchford development: Only 32 homes built so far

When the Blatchford development on the old City Centre Airport lands was approved by the city in 2014, there was a lot of excitement around the project. Eight years later, it has yet to fully get off the ground.

There were supposed to be 2,750 homes on the site by now; instead there are only 32.

Ward pihêsiwin Coun. Tim Cartmell wants to know what’s going on with the $177 million city-run project.

“We’re building a $320- million LRT extension through Blatchford, the district energy system has had a $25- million investment. And right now it has accumulated about a $3- million operating deficits, so that's a lot of money invested, it's time to get some money out,” he said Tuesday.

Cartmell plans to take his concerns to city council on Wednesday in hopes of getting the project re-evaluated.

“The private sector is always going to be much more innovative than, you know, a risk adverse city council, so if we turn over some of the responsibility of development to private partners, will we see more innovation, meeting our goals but at a much faster pace.”

Blatchford was supposed to be a carbon- neutral community with net-zero homes for 30,000 people, but some worry the cost of going green may hurt the development.

“I think that who wants to live there are people who have a strong, conscious commitment to making those changes, and those of course come at a cost right now,” said Ellie Sasseville of the Kingsway Business Development Area.

“Going out to the private sector may possibly be beneficial in moving things along. I’m not sure that it would maintain the goals of the original project.”

Her group hopes to see homes built in the area soon, in hopes of attracting families.

“We want to see the people living there. And whatever that takes, and whatever moves that along a little bit quicker is something we could probably get behind at this point.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Alison MacKinnon.