Rossdale stacks view#B550CBRepurposing the Rossdale power plant should reflect the deep significance of the river to the area. It is because of the connection between the river and the land at this particular curve in the valley that the area was a traditional meeting place and spiritual centre for First Nations peoples, and then the location of the first Fort Edmonton. The Rossdale power plant can continue to serve as a connection: between the river and city, the past and the present, and Edmontonians with each other, both physically at the site and through our shared identity as a River City.

Besides the historical significance of the site, the Rossdale power plant’s original use as an energy-generating station makes for a perfectly symbolic revitalization project: this is our opportunity to spark something new for our city. It is our opportunity to create a space that is dynamic, sustainable, creative and demonstrates respect for our own history and for the natural environment. It is our opportunity to show innovation in public transportation. And because of the site’s proximity to Whyte Avenue, the University, the Legislature, the River Valley, and Downtown, revitalization of this site means revitalization of Edmonton as a whole.

Some say the power plant’s size is an obstacle. Or that a lack of parking space just doesn’t fit with our city’s culture. Or that the area’s history as a First Nations burial ground makes it too contentious for anyone to do anything with. Instead, we see these things as one big opportunity, for they force creative thinking and prevent us from settling for humdrum status quo. Precisely because of the building’s size, limited vehicle access, and location amid layers of history, this is Edmonton’s moment to make something new and edgy while preserving the character and spirit the building and area already possess. This is Edmonton’s moment to make something very, very good.

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