River Crossing Indigenous Engagement: Building Meaningful Relationships Through Heritage Planning
Presented by Susie Houle & James Haney as part of the symposium Reconciliation and Resurgence: Heritage PRactice in Post-TRC Edmonton
This collaborative presentation explores how the City of Edmonton has built and maintained meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities through the redevelopment planning of the historic Rossdale neighbourhood.
After decades of failed attempts to plan and redevelop the area, the City embarked on a new planning process in 2015. Recognizing that Indigenous peoples had long used what is now known as Rossdale, the redevelopment planning was preceded by the preparation of the River Crossing Heritage Interpretive Plan. This work was intended to inform future planning, so that redevelopment would be sensitive to the many-layered history of the place and create a space that celebrates the complex Indigenous and settler heritage of the area.
Following the adoption of the Heritage Interpretive Plan, the City prepared the River Crossing Business Plan to establish a redevelopment concept celebrating the area’s heritage and continued significance for Indigenous and settler populations in Edmonton. This work identified future land uses, public placemaking, economic development, and development monitoring outcomes that include Indigenous perspectives. Moreover, the plan identified future work that will be co-created with Indigenous communities.
Through the creation of the Heritage Interpretive Plan and the Business Plan, the City of Edmonton sought to engage First Nations and Métis communities in new and meaningful ways. Spanning four years of work, this presentation will describe the process and outcomes of the City’s work with over twenty Indigenous communities and related organizations, and lessons learned.