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International competition underway for airport

Ah, how depressing to find out that when you thought you were beingbrilliant, you were only covering ground others have already trodden.

Ah, how depressing to find out that when you thought you were being brilliant, you were only covering ground others have already trodden.

That was the case for me when the city announced it would be launching an international competition for the redevelopment of the Municipal Airport. I suggested in this column that we do exactly that. As it turns out, I was late coming to this idea.

Once I saw the announcement, I did a little digging on the city’s websites. My investigation showed that in September 2009, the city released a document called an Update on the Phased Closure City Centre Airport and Development of Lands. How I missed the release of this document I do not know. But miss it I did.

Toward the end of that document is a discussion of creating an international design competition for an ecologically advanced, transit-oriented, medium- to high-density mixed-use development. It also contained a focus on a number of things that I had suggested in my column.

These included such things as environmental sustainability, open space systems and integration of rapid transit. I have to applaud the city for this kind of thinking. The fact that the city’s thinking mirrors my own may have something to do with that. However, I hope that it is illustrative of the truism that great minds think alike rather than fools seldom differ.

On another note entirely, we’re all waiting to hear whether or not Stephen Mandel will run for mayor for a third time. There’s an advantage to him in delaying his intentions. Beating an incumbent mayor is very difficult, and not many people would choose to run against him.

Those that might won’t announce until he has made his plans clear. As a result, it keeps them from being able to raise money and recruit supporters and volunteers. If Mandel announces late, he will pretty much have a clear field, save for the usual assortment of loonies that will run for anything no matter how little chance they have of winning.

We could help the mayor out in this regard. If you like him and want him to run again, send him an email encouraging him to do so. Of course, if you are in the opposite camp, you could send a different message. Either way, it might help him make up his mind sooner rather than later.

– Terence Harding is a corporate communicator. He’s a keen observer of all things Edmonton; edmontonletters@metronews.ca.

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