Coming up at council: Aug. 22-26, 2022

Coming up at council: Aug. 22-26, 2022

· The Pulse

It's a committee week at City Hall. Community and public services committee will meet on Monday, urban planning committee will meet on Tuesday, executive committee will meet on Wednesday, and utility committee will meet on Friday.

Key items on the agenda include:

  • Administration says Edmonton is on track to meet the City Plan's infill target of 35% by the time the population reaches 1.25 million, but further shifting growth toward more compact development with a diverse mix of uses would require "deliberate choices and dedicated funding." The Growth Management Framework will report progress on the implementation of the City Plan and could draw attention to the revenues and expenses associated with new development.
  • The Edmonton Ski Club lodge, owned by the City of Edmonton, was fully closed earlier this year due to structural issues. Funding of up to $800,000 over three years is required to demolish the existing lodge and install temporary structures. A new permanent facility is estimated to cost $15 million, about $3.5 million of which the Ski Club will seek from the 2023-2026 budget.
  • Administration says that Scona Pool has required about $1.15 million in maintenance and repairs since 2015 and estimates the cost to extend the facility's life by five to 10 years at more than $6 million. It recommends "permanent cessation of all operations and closure of the facility," which it said could be done as part of the Rollie Miles Recreation Centre project.
  • Off-leash areas are currently established or updated through capital projects, or by developers in new neighbourhoods, but a new community parks framework could help ensure a "more strategic, data-driven approach" to community park development, including off-leash areas. As of 2018, 79% of Edmonton's neighbourhoods were within a 20-minute walk of an off-leash area, and administration hopes to boost that to 83% by the end of 2022. It does not recommend integrating community-initiated off-leash dog parks into existing city processes, however, due to "funding issues, (in)equity challenges, and community tensions due to diverse perspectives."

Here are some of the other notable agenda items:

  • A report examining the responsibilities each order of government has with respect to the Community Safety and Well-Being Strategy says that there are "intersecting jurisdictional responsibilities from all orders of government" and that while constitutionally there are some clear lines, those are "less clear when it comes to spending." Administration notes that a Senate Inquiry was launched last year to call attention to the importance of redefining the federal-municipal relationship, which Senator Paula Simons discussed on Speaking Municipally.
  • Administration has agreed upon a naming and sponsorship agreement with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities for the Clareview Community Recreation Centre, which would be renamed "Jumpstart Community Recreation Centre" effective March 31, 2023. The organization would also work with the city to introduce new initiatives, programming, and activities within the facility that increase access for marginalized and vulnerable groups.
  • Administration has begun a review of all public spaces bylaws and plans to develop a new, comprehensive bylaw to consolidate the Public Places Bylaw, Parkland Bylaw, Conduct of Transit Passenger Bylaw, and appropriate provisions from other bylaws. "Substantial community and employee engagement" is promised as the new bylaw is developed, but no timetable has been provided.
  • The Curbside Management Strategy will provide seven actions to help treat curbside space as a strategic public asset and redefine how curbside space is managed while "emphasizing accessibility, consideration of the surrounding neighbourhood, and diversifying transportation options."
  • The city is currently engaged with five mutual aid organizations, including Bear Clan Beaver Hills House, Harm Reduction Support (HARES) Outreach, Nék̓em, Prairie Sage Protectors, and Water Warriors YEG. Administration says it "recognizes the important contributions of mutual aid groups in the social support network" and will explore additional opportunities to support them.
  • EPCOR Water Services Inc. said in a new progress report that its financial results for 2021 were impacted by "an unusually hot and dry summer" that resulted in "the highest total water consumption in over 20 years" and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shifted consumption from commercial to residential due to the large number of people working from home.
  • Waste Services is seeking early approval of $10.83 million from the 2023-2026 budget for new waste vehicles and equipment as supply chain issues have resulted in significant backlogs to acquire new assets.
  • Administration recommends approval of two screeners and two mixers at an estimated cost of $5.8 million for the High Solids Anaerobic Digestion Facility at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre. The screeners and mixers are required to remove non-organic material (garbage) from the compost.
  • Administration is seeking approval of a $5-million reallocation to the pipeline agreement with Pembina Pipeline Corporation to accommodate the Valley Line West LRT project. The previously approved estimate was $2.5 million, and the city says further design development, increased scope, and escalation in material and labour costs have resulted in the larger amount.

Additionally, several agenda items have been postponed from the week of Aug. 8.

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

Photo: Administration recommends the permanent closure of Scona Pool. (Supplied/City of Edmonton)