Real Estate Industry / Community Sponsorships and Small Grants 2020-2021

Accessible funding in an uncertain economic environment in the province. The purpose of the Small Grants and Sponsorship fund is to improve the Foundation’s reach across the province and strengthen its connection to industry through the support of industry-related initiatives and community events. This fund allows the Foundation to respond nimbly to the needs of its stakeholders. Small Grants and Sponsorships have proven to be a successful method to reach out to new organisations and have led to larger future grants and more defined partnerships.

Studying the impact of COVID-19 on Alberta real estate markets

This project uses data-driven approaches (e.g., machine learning) to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Alberta’s real estate markets. The University of Alberta will collaborate closely with the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton so that the research aligns with industry stakeholder interests. The main objective is to analyse the impact of COVID-19 on:

  • Market prices
  • Listing durations
  • Valuation of specific property attributes
  • How these impacts vary by neighbourhood or region
  • How these impacts vary by property type

The Edmonton real estate market will act as a pilot project for the development of statistical methods, analytical tools, and workshops. As the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton and other organizations seek to generate value from proprietary transactional data, the results and outcomes of this project will serve as the basis for the analysis of other real estate markets across Alberta.

Toolkit for healthy, resilient homes and communities in times of pandemic recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic and related public health have drawn people’s attention to how critically important their homes, neighbourhoods, and communities are to their health. Public health works proactively to create the conditions for long-term recovery by focusing not only on the disease, but on promoting the health of people. Healthy people are the foundation of a healthy economy.

This project will engage real estate professionals, planners and developers, consumers, and municipalities to identify critical ‘healthy community’ factors in the face of COVID-19 pandemic recovery, related economic uncertainty, and environmental stewardship. The engagement process and resulting easy-to-use online toolkit will help provide supports for Albertan’s healthy home choices. The toolkit will identify factors needed to drive economic growth, sustain community vitality and resiliency, promote environmental stewardship, and improve citizens’ health outcomes.

Improving Transportation Options for Rural Alberta

Rural Transportation: Knowledge Sharing for 2020 and Beyond – Access to transportation is a ubiquitous issue facing rural Albertans. In many cases, if a resident lacks access to a private vehicle, it is nearly impossible to live and work in a small Alberta community. To make matters worse, over the past several years, the few existing transportation services have begun to disappear. In collaboration with partners like Alberta Rural Development Network, Association for Life-wide Living (ALL) of Alberta will revitalize and reconnect Alberta’s rural transportation stakeholders to seek viable solutions to this every growing problem. Transportation options will help ensure that people can continue to live, work and thrive in rural Alberta.

Value of Heritage Districts

The Calgary Heritage Initiative will create educational resources for real estate professionals, residents, and municipal leader on the impacts of heritage policies and bylaws to protect Calgary’s heritage districts. Heritage districts and heritage places of interest can create niche markets for shopping, living and eating in “differentiated” heritage environments that contribute to urban liveability and the attraction of talent.

Market Assessment for Accessible Housing in Calgary

With the current economic and health crisis, Albertans need options related to accessible, suitable housing more than ever. This feasibility study and market assessment will identify gaps in Calgary regarding accessible, affordable housing and establish plans to meet the demands in community, including what type of programs and services need to be developed.

Protecting Albertans’ properties from invasive plants

Updating the Identification Guide for Alberta Invasive Plants – Invasive species threaten Alberta’s environment and economy. They outcompete the native species that provide food and habitat for wildlife; some pose risk to public safety; others are problematic in crop fields, resulting in reduced yields; and other species like Japanese knotweed exhibit such vigorous growth that they can break through concrete building foundations. The Alberta Invasive Species Council will to work with local municipalities and the Alberta Association of Agriculture Fieldmen to update and reprint the widely popular Identification Guide to Invasive Plants in Alberta.
The new version of this guide will include provincial distribution maps, information on prevention initiatives, and will also indicate the species that are problematic in specific habitats (e.g., urban areas, farmland, in grassland ecosystems forests, etc.). There are several invasive plant species that are particularly problematic in urban areas that homeowners and realtors should be aware of. These can be a liability as landowners are responsible for controlling or eradicating prohibited noxious or noxious invasive plant species that persist on their property as per the Weed Control Act.

Impact Assessment of Collaborative Initiatives on Land-use and Watershed Planning

Alberta’s 2003 Water for Life strategy marked a major shift in the management of Alberta’s water resources to better enable shared responsibility and environmental stewardship. The province’s 11 Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) cover the entire province and were created as the main mechanism to foster collaboration at the watershed level. Given that municipal governments play a central role in the management of land and water, they are crucial WPAC partners. In collaboration with four WPACs, this study will evaluate the effectiveness of joint WPAC-municipal initiatives that enable land stewardship and planning, water management, and ecosystem resiliency for sustainable communities in Alberta.

Additional Small Grants and Sponsorships 2019-2020 for COVID-19

In March, as the COVID-19 lockdown began, AREF’s Board recognized that the province’s real estate industry required additional short-term support, and in response, the Board more than doubled the Sponsorship and Small Grants budget by adding an additional $150,000 to ensure the Foundation responded nimbly to the needs of its stakeholders.

AREF has since collaborated with its valued industry partners and stakeholders—including Real Estate Boards, the Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association, and the Building Owners and Managers Association—to discuss how to use sponsorship funding to support them and help strengthen their ability to serve their members.

Updating and Enhancing the Green Communities Guide

Assisting Communities manage development while conserving valuable natural assets – This project will update and re-print a highly successful and impactful educational and awareness resource called the Green Communities Guide (GCG), a resource that has resonated deeply with the municipal and stewardship community. This essential update to the GCG will enable us to offer an enhanced resource to realtors, municipalities, land-use planners and developers to help communities plan and implement strategies to conserve valuable natural assets in the face of development and expanding communities.

Renewable Skills to Support Economic Recovery in Remote and Indigenous Communities

If Alberta’s real estate market is to recover, we need to see overall economic recovery. Iron and Earth is an initiative that focuses on putting people back to work which will ultimately support economic recovery and directly impact movement in the real estate market.

The rapidly shifting energy industry has led to increased job insecurity for many fossil fuel industry workers since the downturn in 2014. The Renewable Skills Initiative is designed to empower fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers to fill these new jobs and build the infrastructure required to meet climate targets through tailored upskilling training programs and career support.

Investigation into Present and Future Cooperative Housing

Co-op housing is an essential piece of the housing continuum in Alberta and Canada. However, as government subsidies continue to dwindle and current co-op assets face increasing maintenance costs, a number of units are threatened. This project will assess the financial needs of current co-ops, research solutions, and put forward recommendations for new co-op housing models such as the Limited Equity Housing Co-Ops (LEHCs), land trusts, and other models.

Green Building Education Development

The Green Building Education Development will provide a high-quality educational opportunity for Real Estate Professionals to learn best practices on green building standards. The intent is to equip Real Estate Professionals with knowledge they can share as the front line of the industry with consumers, building owners and property managers, As the demand for green building standards increases, so will the need for this type of training.

Fragmentation and Conversion of Agricultural Land

Managing tradeoffs in a context of climate change – This project will survey the attitudes of Alberta residents, leaders, and planners towards open space, farmland conversation, and economic development features in urban and peri-urban areas, providing qualitative research to realtors, municipal leaders, planners, and the public to inform decision-making.

Enhancing Rural Properties and Communities Values

This project will directly impact real estate practices by educating Albertan landowners of all sizes on the management of the forested portion of their lands. This includes supporting municipalities, hamlets, and summer villages in understanding opportunities for improved management of rural forested lands.

Rural properties benefit from woodlots and shelterbelts (eco-buffers) by reducing possible forest fire risks, reducing soil erosion and wind impacts on buildings, and enhances overall aesthetics. Proper woodlot management ensures the health of forested lands and increases the value of the land.

Real estate professionals authorized to trade in rural properties can provide clients with access to professional advice on the forested portions of rural land through the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society (AWES). AWES’ referral card can be shared with clients who may require one-on-one onsite consultation to assess the health, maintenance, or re-establishment of their forested areas. Through these consultations, landowners and managers can work with AWES to develop provincially recognized Woodlot Management Plans. Initial consultations are free of charge.

….

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation is mandated to support the education of real estate professionals and the public in respect of the real estate industry as well as advance and improve the real estate industry.

This project fits under the Foundation’s Land Stewardship & Environment area of interest which enables Albertans to understand and respond to changing land-use patterns, growth pressures, air, and water management issues and enhance the ecological quality of their communities.

Creating emergency accommodations for Wood Buffalo Housing

This project will provide 30 multi-family units in one of Alberta’s most progressive communities that through the last few years have been going through extraordinary change. This project will meet immediate needs in this extraordinary time of multiple stressors in the community with industry in flux, COVID-19 and now in the wake of a major wildfire and now a flood. In the long-term, these units will provide bridge accommodations as people look to longer-term real estate options.

Civic Commons Catalyst

Supporting Transformative Revitalization in Alberta’s Urban Development Sector Through Uncertain times – The Civic Commons Catalyst is a timely, creative, shared platform that brings together organizations and institutions to research, convene, evaluate, and develop public and private real estate opportunities in Alberta. The Catalyst is a solutions lab that will address the challenges facing the Alberta and Calgary urban development sector including the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the built environment, impacts of the downturn in the oil and gas sector and the vacancy and underutilization of assets in Calgary’s downtown core.

WellWiki.org Alberta v4.0 & Educating Alberta’s Landowners on Policy Changes

This project will update WellWiki.org data on more than 600,000 Alberta oil and gas wells; add new features to the website including township search function, inactive and abandoned wells, and municipal tax revenues related to oil and gas activity.  It will also make available on WellWiki.org a version of the content developed as part of the Pembina Institute’s Landowners’ Guide to Oil and Gas Development and Primer.

The University will also work with the Pembina Institute on the policy review of oil and gas liabilities by the Government of Alberta. The goal will be to inform landowners on what the proposed policy changes are and how they may potentially impact them. A roundtable will convene various experts in this area including representatives from landowner groups, WellWiki, University of Calgary, government, industry, the Orphan Well Association and the Alberta Energy Regulator. Based on discussion and conclusions from the roundtable, resources will be developed for rural Albertans.

Proposed Cities Institute: Kick-off conference

The Cities Institute looks to be a global leader in facilitating collaboration in urban research, teaching, and partnerships which will ensure that Edmonton, and other cities in Canada, can benefit from the latest advances in technology and city building. The Cities Institute will launch in spring 2021 with a conference what will engage researchers, teachers, government officers, NGOs, and industry members who are involved in city building. The ultimate goal of the Cities Institute’s conference is to foster ‘city builders’ both on and off campus and kick-start projects that will help to make Edmonton and Alberta a more viable, livable, and competitive city and province.

Soil Health: Policy, Science, and Law in Action

The Alberta Land Institute, together with other stakeholders, will engaged in promoting scientific research, government policy, producer practices, and public education and outreach related to soil health.  ALI will convene a stakeholders’ working group, conduct a scan (policy, regulatory, governance, and social action) in Alberta and across Canada, and compile a resource guide for policymakers and members of the public.

Defining Challenges and Opportunities for South Saskatchewan Watershed communities under a rapidly changing climate

This project will prepare urban and rural communities in the South Saskatchewan Watershed for climate change in two ways. The project will provide an extreme weather events analyses necessary to adapt infrastructure and operations systems to cope with increasing weather stresses.  Second, it will provide transition opportunities to renewable energy systems that provide community resiliency, energy security and price stability with a meaningful greenhouse gas management plan.

Welcome to the Lake Program

The Welcome to the Lake Program engages realtors as healthy-lake stewards to help generate awareness about healthy-lake practices that will protect the lake and support a resilient ecosystem and strong community. This program provides training and resources for Alberta realtors selling properties in watersheds in Alberta. The professional development themes include watershed basics for maintaining a healthy lake, low impact development solutions, and lake wise landscaping with in-person training options for realtors selling in the Pigeon Lake watershed and online options for realtors selling properties in other watersheds across the province. To share their knowledge, this program offers realtors with a welcome stewardship package that they can provide to new home owners.

Fort Vermilion & Area Seniors’ & Elders’ Lodge

There is an under-reported demand for supportive living facilities in Fort Vermilion and the surrounding area. The Fort Vermilion & Area Seniors & Elders Lodge Board 1788 is leading a community based initiative to create more supportive living space. By working with subject matter experts in various fields, this group will create a hopefully replicable process for other grassroots movements to follow.

Diversity Certified

e4c and Edmonton Shift Lab will co-develop a training curriculum and toolkit for market landlords and non-market housing providers on the prevention of discrimination in housing.  This training will reflect input and collaboration between landlords, housing providers, and renters.  Diversity Certified will set up housing professionals for success through encouraging positive and reciprocal relationships between landlords and tenants, through reduced tenant turnover and tenant satisfaction, and through growing more cohesive rental communities where residents from diverse backgrounds are welcome.

Condominium Law Education Project

This phase of the Condominium Law Education Project will update resources to reflect recent legislative changes while continuing to deliver credible and plain language materials to Albertans, staying up to date on condominium law developments and condo industry issues. This project currently reaches over 70,000 resource users per year, which include condominium buyers, owners, board members and real estate professionals.

 

ANPHA Regional Housing Collective

ANPHA seeks to provide leadership to advance the affordable housing sector and act as a convener and resource to connect stakeholders from a wide variety of sources who could benefit from information sharing, networking and direct support. This project will establish an opportunity for individuals and organizations within the non-profit housing sector to establish strong regional relationships with one another, and both the provincial and national sector. Uniting the sector together will result in a stronger unified voice that can accomplish collectively what could not be done individually.