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Katz Group granted extension to agreement allowing gravel parking lots north of Rogers Place

The organization that owns the Edmonton Oilers and controls Rogers Place can keep operating the gravel parking lots just north of the downtown arena for another five years while it waits to begin the second phase of Ice District construction.

The agreement between the Katz Group and the city that allows the lots to operate as paid parking expired last year, but Edmonton city council voted Tuesday to extend the pact until 2029.

While most councillors believe gravel parking lots are an unsuitable use of downtown land, spokespeople for the Katz Group say the decision to redevelop the land will be based on market conditions and not on its ability to charge for parking.

A community spokesperson told city council neighbours are fed up with traffic during events and social disorder.

Without the extension to the agreement, the lots would sit empty and possibly be fenced off.

“The choice that I feel is in front of us is a surface parking lot or a vacant lot, and a vacant lot that will not be redeveloped any faster by virtue of being empty, Ward O-Day’min councillor Anne Stevenson said.

The lots are slated for a 2,500-unit urban village — for which plans were unveiled two years ago — as part of the second phase of Ice District development that focuses on residential development.

As part of the extension of the agreement to keep the parking lots in place, the Katz Group agreed to create pedestrian paths in them, and add bushes along the perimeter and 13 trees. 

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