Coming up at council: Sept. 6-9, 2022

Coming up at council: Sept. 6-9, 2022

· The Pulse

Council has just two meetings scheduled for this short week following the Labour Day holiday. Executive committee will meet on Wednesday, and community and public services committee will meet on Friday.

Key items on the agenda include:

  • Moving ahead with Phase 1 of the Edmonton Metropolitan Transit Service Commission plan, slated to begin in April 2023, would require an investment of at least $7.2 million from the City of Edmonton, which works out to 65,130 service hours annually or 48% of the regional network if all existing local service was kept as is. Alternatively, existing ETS service hours could be reallocated to the plan. Opening day service would consist of 11 regional service routes with inherited fare structures. Additional costs, such as for debt repayment and operational overhead, won't be known until October 2022.
  • Administration recommends granting $17.6 million through the Affordable Housing Investment Program to fund four proposed developments that would result in 258 new units of affordable housing. Three are located in Griesbach, and one is located in Glenwood. If approved, future grants through the program would be on hold until the city's 2023-2026 budget is approved.
  • Administration and the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues have been discussing how to make the allocation of the three existing grants for community leagues more equitable. The new Community Parks Framework, which begins next year, is intended to ensure equitable access to community park amenities and could impact how community league infrastructure is built in the future.

Here are some of the other new agenda items:

  • Drug checking, which is the chemical analysis of substances for impurities that may cause unexpected harm, could be another approach to help deal with accidental drug poisonings in the city, but any service should serve a larger demographic than solely the unhoused. According to data from Alberta Health, almost half of accidental opioid poisoning deaths in Edmonton in 2021 occurred in privately owned residences.
  • Proposed amendments to the Fire Rescue Services Bylaw would align regulations for fireworks with other major municipalities across Canada, administration says.

Several other items have been laid over from previous meetings and will be dealt with this week, including:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Looking to catch up on recent city council decisions? Speaking Municipally returned with two episodes last month. Episode 187 tackled the gondola decision, police funding, and the sanction hearing for Coun. Michael Janz, while Episode 188 looked at the Scona Pool closure decision, vehicle noise, and the future of curbside space in the city.

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

Photo: Several routes would operate between Edmonton and St. Albert under the new regional plan, but Strathcona County won't be participating. (Mack Male/Flickr)