Headlines: Sept. 13, 2022

· The Pulse
  • City council voted 10-3 to support the Edmonton Metropolitan Transit Service Commission phase one service plan that will see 11 routes across the region launch in the spring. Coun. Aaron Paquette, who voted against the plan as proposed, argued that improving local transit should be a priority over regional transit. The plan is expected to cost the city about $7.2 million, but a more specific budget will be considered later this fall. Councillors Michael Janz and Jo-Anne Wright also voted against the plan.
  • Several residents of the government-funded affordable housing provider Civida, which was rebranded from Capital City Housing in 2021, have spoken up about unresponsiveness on behalf of the organization. An occupant of a townhouse complex in Mill Woods contacted MLA Christina Gray after Civida, which manages more than 4,500 subsidized units in the Edmonton region, ignored requests to address a black mould problem for years, while another occupant in northeast Edmonton has resorted to working with Voices of Albertans with Disabilities to push through an accessibility request.
  • The city is considering updates to its fireworks bylaws to allow only certified professionals to use them in public, which Fire Chief Joe Zatylny said would fix issues with the current permit system. Members of the public who spoke before council expressed assorted views, including concern that professional certification would burden community and cultural organizers with expenses and paperwork. Coun. Jo-Anne Wright said she was interested the Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition's suggestion that Edmonton, like Banff, should only allow silent fireworks to avoid causing stress to wildlife.
  • Numbers from the city's open data portal suggest city councillors have formed informal voting alliances since the start of their term in October. After removing the 78% of votes that were unanimous, Postmedia's analysis of available data shows that seven members — Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and councillors Aaron Paquette, Keren Tang, Tim Cartmell, Jo-Anne Wright, Andrew Knack, and Sarah Hamilton — have voted together at least 75% of the time and won more than 83% of votes. Sohi, Paquette, Tang, and Knack were aligned in 82% of votes. Coun. Jennifer Rice had the lowest agreement rate with the rest of council, and she and Coun. Karen Principe have been most likely to vote against the majority.
  • Former mayor Stephen Mandel reflected on Queen Elizabeth II's last visit to Edmonton in 2005 to mark Alberta's centennial, calling it a high point of his time as mayor. "I've had a chance to meet some other leaders that are well known, but she was by far the biggest thrill," he said.