The cost of suburban development in Edmonton

The City of Edmonton has completed a study of the long-term fiscal impact of new suburban development.  The results are not good.

Suburban sprawl will cost the City of Edmonton and its taxpayers much more than it provides in revenues.

New neighbourhoods do not pay for themselves, and the financial gap is staggering. Over the next 30 years, just 17 of more than 40 developing and future neighbourhoods will cost the city more than $500 million more than they provide in taxes, user fees and other revenues.

This includes one neighbourhood with a relatively high concentration of commercialindustrial lands, which will provide net revenues over $400 million. If we ignore this one and only look at the planned residential neighbourhoods, the red ink is close to $1 billion.

It gets worse. After the first 30 years, the annual net cost goes up as aging infrastructure needs to be replaced. The net cost rises to over $100 million per year, every year. So the following 30 years will cost us over $3 billion. If you ignored the commercial neighbourhood, over those 30 years the bill would hit almost $4 billion.

I’ve looked, but I can’t seem to find the actually report.  The closest I can come up with is this presentation about the report.  I also can’t seem to view the city’s zoning map because they require some weird SVG viewer.  If anyone else has better luck, let me know.

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