Coming up at council: June 21-25, 2021

Coming up at council: June 21-25, 2021

· The Pulse

The Government of Alberta has announced that the province-wide indoor mask mandate will be lifted on July 1, though masks may still be required in "limited and specific settings." Premier Jason Kenney has said he hopes that Calgary and Edmonton will follow suit by dropping their own mask requirements.

Edmonton's temporary mandatory face coverings bylaw, which came into effect on Aug. 1, 2020, will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2021 unless city council decides to repeal it sooner. Council will have an opportunity to consider doing so at its meeting on June 22. Calgary city council will consider a recommendation to repeal its bylaw by July 31 at its meeting on June 21.

Mayor Don Iveson has expressed concern at the idea of dropping the mask mandate too soon, citing the advice of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association which has called on both cities to keep face covering bylaws in place until 70% of the city's populations have been fully vaccinated.

"They're imploring us, after 15 months on the front lines, to do everything we can to try to prevent a fourth wave, particularly driven by the variants," Iveson said.

Here's what else is coming up at city council this week:

  • On June 24, city council will hold a sanction hearing following a recommendation from integrity commissioner Jamie Pytel that Coun. Mike Nickel be reprimanded and censured for a series of code of conduct violations. Nickel's lawyer, Jonathan Denis, said in a letter that allegations his client misused email addresses for campaign purposes are "patently false" and characterized complaints about social media posts as politically-motivated. Sanction decisions require a two-thirds majority.
  • Amendments to the Zoning Bylaw would reduce the allowable shared surface parking spaces from three to two on certain sites to support Open Option Parking.
  • Amendments to the Rossdale ARP and the Zoning Bylaw will support the implementation of the River Crossing Business Plan which city council approved in September 2019. The changes include a new policy to retain and repurpose the Rossdale Power Plant for a mix of publicly-oriented uses.
  • A mandatory three stream (waste, recycling, organics) separation program for the multi-unit sector, expected to cost $29.2 million in capital costs and $91 million in operating costs through 2045, could boost the communal diversion rate by 16% to 57%.
  • An independent assessment by Grant Thornton of the drainage utility transfer from the City of Edmonton to EPCOR concluded that "EPCOR has met its commitments and substantially adhered to the guiding principles as defined in the letter of intent for the transfer." The report includes a handful of recommendations for further consideration and monitoring.

Meetings are streamed live on city council's YouTube channel.

Photo: Alberta will drop its province-wide mask mandate on July 1. (Government of Alberta/Flickr)