Coming up at council: March 22-26, 2021

By Mack Male

Here are some of the notable agenda items coming before city council for the week of March 22-26:

  • Administration recommends an exemption to the 2021 Edmonton Economic Recovery Construction Grant Incentive Program to allow a grant to be paid for the 42-storey residential tower portion of a mixed-use project in Ice District. With a development permit issued in 2018 and construction of the podium underway, the project does not qualify for the program which excludes projects that started construction prior to 2021. If a grant is awarded, construction on the tower would have to start in 2021.
  • An automatic waiver on business license fees in 2021 is one way the City of Edmonton could support businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, administration says. Fee waivers ranging from 25% to 50% were considered and administration suggests the loss of revenue could be funded by the appropriated COVID-19 Financial Stabilization Reserve.
  • Waste RE-solutions Edmonton, created in 2013 with a mandate to "deliver profitable waste management services to municipal governments in other countries," has concluded all business and will become a dormant corporation. An estimated $378,000 will be returned to the City of Edmonton.

A number of transportation-related agenda items are coming up:

  • A report on transit fare fines suggests that reducing transit-related fines "could encourage fare evasion" and would "not resolve some of the root causes of fare evasion." Early payment options and a fine escalation schedule are two ways to make transit fines more equitable.
  • Administration recommends that the U-Pass program remain paused for the spring and summer terms in 2021 and that temporary measures to support affected students, such as the expansion of the age eligibility for youth fares, be extended.
  • Due to higher than anticipated Vehicle for Hire revenue in 2020, administration recommends a 50% waiver on dispatch and vehicle license fees in 2021 "to support industry economic recovery efforts."
  • Since Open Option Parking came into effect on July 2, 2020, there has been "no discernable shared parking impacts in neighbourhoods." Administration proposes continued monitoring.

Other agenda items coming up include:

  • During the activation of the city's extreme weather response from Feb. 4 to 17, a total of 1,337 bus trips were provided to bring individuals to emergency shelters. The report says the removal of the encampment outside of the Hope Mission on Feb. 13 was "completed in the interest of safety for the affected individuals."
  • Peace officers responded to more than 67,000 complaints and files in 2020. Administration says an increase in non-compliance and pandemic-related incidents resulted in a 14% increase in the use of force (576 incidents total).
  • Administration has identified six bylaws that most commonly affect marginalized individuals and is committing to a series of actions to address "enforcement instruments that cause harm."
  • Bylaw 19144 would establish a Clean Energy Improvement Program in Edmonton which "leverages an innovative financing mechanism to provide owners of residential and non-residential properties access to low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects." A two-year pilot program will have a total budget of $12.27 million.
  • A review of the Developer Sponsored Affordable Housing Program has found that the policy "has not resulted in a significant number of affordable housing units nor has it fully achieved its objectives." Administration suggests repealing the policy at a future date.
  • From July 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021, the City of Edmonton entered into 28 agreements resulting from a non-competitive procurement process with a total value of $19,384,312. Five of them were related to the COVID-19 pandemic response.
  • Bylaw 19580 would amend the Fire Rescue Services bylaw to introduce vendor permits for those selling fireworks. Edmonton is the only large city in Alberta that allows for the sale of fireworks.

Agendas for this week include:

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