Coming up at council: May 30-June 3, 2022

Coming up at council: May 30-June 3, 2022

· The Pulse

Community and public services committee is scheduled to meet on May 30, urban planning committee on May 31, and executive committee on June 1. Here are some of the key items on the agenda:

  • 102 Avenue downtown alongside the Valley Line Southeast LRT has "potential as a car-free mobility space" but administration cautions there are many constraints, such as the introduction of dead ends, limited access to nearby parkades, and potential traffic delays elsewhere during peak times. Urban planning committee will consider options including short-term temporary closures and a one-year pilot closure. Coun. Anne Stevenson said the idea could attract people to downtown businesses and envisions a "pedestrian-centric heart" that includes 104 Street, Rice Howard Way, and Churchill Square.
  • Sharp declines in photo radar revenue over the past few years will result in the Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve (TSAER) ending 2022 with a $9.1 million deficit. Revenue projections for 2023-2026 suggest the reserve will be unable to fund both Vision Zero traffic projects and the current level of funding transferred to the Edmonton Police Service. Administration suggests either reducing programs and services to match available funding or finding alternative funding sources to make up the difference.
  • The proposed Sidewalk Maintenance Strategy framework would supplement neighbourhood renewal and other existing maintenance programs to define a high priority sidewalk network that "prioritizes the most vital accessibility corridors." The program would unfold over three phases throughout the rest of the year. Administration estimates 78.3 kilometres of sidewalks might qualify for the program with an estimated cost of $20 million to repair.
  • The Edmonton Arts Council reports in an update on the Connections & Exchanges arts and heritage plan that 2021 was "a significant year for public art in Edmonton." Thanks to the addition of 14 new works last year there are now 283 pieces in the public art collection, with another 30 projects in progress.

Here are some of the other notable agenda items:

  • In an update on the River Valley Modernization Project — which seeks to update policy, planning, and regulatory guidance for the river valley to reflect today's "increasingly complex planning context" — administration said it will bring forward a service package as part of the 2023-2026 budget to develop a detailed river valley trail strategy. Most stakeholder engagement during the second phase of the project was related to the potential loss of informal trails, especially from the mountain biking community.
  • In 2021, the City Assessor granted more than $225,000 in municipal tax relief in accordance with the Retroactive Municipal Tax Relief policy. Administration recommends amending the policy to add clarity and increase some caps on relief amounts, but does not recommend any additional tax relief for residential property owners.
  • Starting in September 2022, the city will implement a "continuum of enhanced after school drop-in opportunities" for youth aged 8 to 17, which will include new and expanded no-cost programming and the launch of a new discounted youth school year membership pass for the 3pm-to-6pm time frame to complement the existing yearly summer months youth pass.
  • Fireworks regulations in Edmonton are among the most accommodating in Canada to non-professional use and access. Of the eight largest municipalities in Alberta, Edmonton is the only one that allows the non-professional display of fireworks. Administration recommends tightening regulations by limiting permits to those holding valid Fireworks Operator Certificates and licences as per the Federal Explosive Regulations.
  • Executive committee will consider a $12.5 million sole source agreement with Cummins Canada ULC to purchase more than 300 diesel bus engines over the 2023-2026 budget cycle. Administration said these are previously planned purchases and that approval "does not deviate from the journey towards electrification and energy transition."
  • Since 2014, nearly 280 hectares of city-maintained parkland has been naturalized or has begun the process of being naturalized. Protecting natural and agricultural land may have benefits for biodiversity and climate mitigation, but the tools available to the city for that purpose are limited.
  • Administration says "nearly 120 starting point actions" were initiated during the first year of implementation of Edmonton's Indigenous Framework, including the establishment of a senior executive advisor for Indigenous relations within the Office of the City Manager.

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

Photo credit: Traffic barriers outside the Valley Line Southeast LRT's 102 Street station at 102 Avenue. Mack Male/Flickr