Coming up at council: Nov. 21-25, 2022

Coming up at council: Nov. 21-25, 2022

· The Pulse

This is the final week of committee meetings for 2022, after which council will focus solely on the 2023-2026 budget, beginning with the public hearing scheduled for Nov. 28 and 29. Community and public services committee meets on Monday, urban planning committee meets on Tuesday, executive committee meets on Wednesday, and utility committee meets on Friday.

Key agenda items include the following:

  • The Edmonton Edge Fund would initially provide $5 million in grants to support local companies — especially early-stage companies in need of capital — that will make investments that drive economic growth and create jobs in Edmonton. Administration proposes that it start and manage the fund while working with partners like Edmonton Unlimited and Edmonton Global to refine and evolve it. An unfunded service package will be brought forward to the 2023-2026 budget discussions.
  • Unmitigated climate change impacts in Edmonton could cause direct costs of about $1 billion per year by the 2050s, according to a research study. While funding requests for climate adaptation will be brought forward for consideration during the upcoming budget deliberations, administration cautions that "nearly all" unconstrained funding will be needed to meet renewal needs, leaving limited funds for new initiatives. Administration estimates investment equivalent to a 3.5% tax increase per year would be required for 2023-2026, not including funding required by EPCOR for flood mitigation.
  • Enhancing the enforcement of excessive vehicle noise would require more than $1.5 million per year for peace officers, dispatchers, vehicles, and other expenses, beginning in the third quarter of 2023. Current fines are $162, but council could increase that to $500.
  • Beginning next year, about 30 new pop-up dog parks on parkland will launch in response to requests for community-led processes and streamlined approaches for establishing off-leash areas. With the pop-up locations open, 85% of neighbourhoods would be within a 15-minute walk of an off-leash area.

Here are some of the other new agenda items:

  • The city's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA action plan will require $1 million in 2023 and $1.3 million per year from 2024 to 2026 to implement, all of which is already included in the proposed 2023-2026 operating budget. Short-term actions include staff training and education, and support for programs and events such as Indigenous Peoples History Month and the Sisters in Spirit Vigil.
  • A site in Blatchford has been identified for the proposed refugee and newcomer housing project led by Multicultural Health Brokers and the Right at Home Housing Society. Thus far, the city has contributed $50,000 to the project, though it may seek approval for a below-market sale of land after an updated business case has been completed.
  • The proposed relaunch of the Africa Centre facility does not have adequate resources to advance, according to a new report. Administration recommends a new business case and public engagement plan as part of a "full refresh of the project." No funding source has been identified to support that work, and no unfunded service package has been brought forward to the 2023-2026 budget discussions.
  • The city is collecting input on the latest draft of the renewed Zoning Bylaw until Dec. 18. A second draft will then be prepared, with engagement in the second quarter of 2023 and a final draft ready for urban planning committee in June 2023.
  • An initial equity analysis of the transit network identifies neighbourhoods with the highest prevalence of seniors, low-income, and Indigenous riders. While increasing service frequency would improve access for all Edmontonians, the analysis suggests that "many senior, low-income, and Indigenous Edmontonians, particularly those in the downtown and inner-city, are relatively well-served with off-peak, high frequency transit."
  • Administration has put forward a number of options to fund the construction of the 137 Avenue and Anthony Henday Drive interchange, one of many left for future construction when the freeway opened. Options include a cost share with industry, approaching St. Albert to share in the costs, and using incremental tax revenue to fund the construction.
  • Edmonton Unlimited will present its annual update to executive committee. The organization's current funding agreement with the city provides $5 million per year until 2025.
  • Administration recommends approval of $1.238 million for the 2022 subsidy for Homeward Trust. The city has provided an annual subsidy of about $1.2 million to the organization since 2000.
  • The proposed 2023-2026 waste services utility and Blatchford renewable energy utility budgets will be presented to council's utility committee.

Meetings are streamed live on YouTube on the Chamber channel and River Valley Room channel.

Photo: About 30 new pop-up off-leash areas will open throughout the city in 2023. (City of Edmonton)