Coming up at council: Aug. 8-12, 2022

Coming up at council: Aug. 8-12, 2022

· The Pulse

City council has returned from the summer break, with three committee meetings scheduled this week. Community and public services committee will meet on Monday, urban planning committee will meet on Tuesday, and executive committee will meet on Wednesday.

  • Prairie Sky Gondola says that it would pay $30 million to 40 million in rent to the city over a 30-year term if its proposed gondola were successfully built. Construction costs are projected to be between $132 million and $155 million, with annual operating costs of $12 million to 13 million, all of which will be paid for by the private sector, according to the company. Administration estimates the gondola could add up to $116.4 million to Edmonton's GDP and support between 850 and 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs during construction.
  • Complaints about vehicle noise have been increasing since the start of the pandemic, from 150 total complaints in 2019 to 1,028 in 2021. Fine amounts currently range from $162 to $250, but administration says "enforcement capacity is limited" and that additional peace officers would be required to increase enforcement.
  • The C5 North East Community Hub was able to leverage $300,000 in annual funding from the city to access additional funding, including $775,000 in 2021 alone. It said 987 immigrants, refugees, Indigenous, and other newcomers to Edmonton benefitted from the hub in 2021. The C5 Hub is requesting that city council increase support for the organization to $500,000 per year for the 2023-2026 budget.

Here are some of the other notable agenda items:

  • Designated driver services, which transport a customer's privately owned vehicle from one place to another, are licensed under the "General Business" category of the Business Licence Bylaw. Administration recommends amending the bylaw to require operations to obtain police information checks for drivers. Edmonton had six licensed services in Q1 2020, but now has just one.
  • Administration says raised crossings, an example of infrastructure to support "pedestrian through zones," will be included in the Safe Crossings program — which prioritizes locations for safety upgrades — beginning in 2023.
  • The Africa Centre, which receives annual operational funding of $469,500 from the city, has significantly expanded its programs and services over the past three years, with its annual budget growing to $4.1 million. Last year, the Africa Centre disbursed $2 million in "capacity building support" through its partnership with the Government of Canada.
  • Actions to help address food waste and insecurity include joining The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, preparing educational resources for source separation, and continuing to make an education program about waste management available to Grade 4 classes. With direction from council, a strategy that "meaningfully funds" local organizations such as community food centres may also be considered.
  • Administration says a potential ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides on both public and private property would take up to 15 months to develop at a projected cost of $471,950, though that figure excludes implementation and enforcement costs. An unfunded service package may be included for considering during the 2023-2026 budget deliberations.
  • The city is not currently considering creating an urban farm program, but administration has identified 47 potential sites for urban farming with a total gross area of 85.14 hectares.
  • Administration recommends that council approve an amendment to the city's lease agreement with the Edmonton Soccer Association to include the Edmonton Soccer Centre South addition, anticipated to be complete and operational in September. The association has requested that its $9.5 million contribution be spread over 25 years, rather than 20 years as originally agreed.
  • In response to an inquiry from Coun. Erin Rutherford, administration says there are 12 City of Edmonton-funded micro-grants under $2,000 that are currently available, most of which are intended for community-building activities such as the Neighbourhood Revitalization micro-grant and the Community Clean Up micro-grant.

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

Photo: City Hall (Mack Male/Flickr)