The global recession could be a good dose of much-needed medicine for Edmonton — a city that was once hit hard by Alberta’s recent boom as it struggled to keep up with growth pressures, suggests Mayor Stephen Mandel during a one-on-one interview with Metro.
“(Edmonton was) so overpriced that it was ridiculous,” said Mandel about Alberta’s boom that ended when oil prices sank last fall.
“What we need to do now is to retrench and plan for what we are going to do in the future.”
Mandel said Alberta’s capital city now has a chance to play catch-up by getting more bang for taxpayers’ dollars thanks to slumping prices on building materials like steel and concrete.
“This is a real benefit for Edmonton,” said Mandel.
The recession is also a perfect time to make plans for major infrastructure projects like the city’s planned extensions to the LRT or new facilities that could be in place by 2015 if the city is successful in its bid to bring the University Games to Edmonton, Mandel said.
The city could also get a new dose in much-needed infrastructure if it’s successful in bringing the World Expo to Edmonton by 2017, said the mayor.
“(We) need to put in place a kind of infrastructure planning so we don’t face the huge growth, the huge pressure on our economic growth that has happened here over the last three or four years,” said Mandel.
“We rivalled the growth in China within the last few years an we will continue to do that when things settle down a bit (with the markets).
“Our economy in Edmonton will way surpass any other place in the country.”
As the recession hammered local economies in cities across the country, Mandel said it hasn’t affected Edmonton that badly.