Coming up at council: April 12-16, 2021

By Mack Male

Here are some of the notable agenda items coming before city council for the week of April 12-16:

  • The Edmonton Place Brand Strategy 2021-2023 outlines eight strategies to educate people about "the many benefits of living, working, learning, and building or expanding a business in Edmonton." The report identifies Edmonton Global, Explore Edmonton, Innovate Edmonton, the Edmonton International Airport, and Edmonton's post-secondary institutions, among others, as key partners and stakeholders in the effort.
  • The revised Community Energy Transition Strategy will be discussed by executive committee, along with an action plan and the climate resilience policy. The new plan would be "the first time Edmonton has targets aligned with the Paris Agreement."
  • Improving the water quality of the lake at Hawrelak Park for activities "by the lake" and "on the lake" (but not "in the water") is projected to cost $2 million in capital costs and $100,000 per year for maintenance.

A few of the agenda items relate to transit:

  • As ridership on the Valley Line Southeast LRT is now projected to be significantly higher than originally planned when the line opens later this year, administration recommends increased service levels that would see seven of 13 trains operating with two cars, and five-minute frequencies during peak periods. The increased service is expected to cost $904,000 in 2021 and $3.1 million annually after that.
  • Administration recommends adding a single trip rate of $3.00 for Smart Fare users in 2021 and 2022. Single trip costs are capped which benefits frequent transit users and means that customers "no longer have to prepay a lump sum to receive the transit discounts associated with a monthly pass."
  • The city is looking to purchase 20 electric buses to replace diesel buses reaching end-of-life at a cost of $27 million, and administration proposes taking advantage of the Canada Infrastructure Bank's Zero Emission Bus Program to help finance the purchase. Electric buses cost roughly $722,000 more than diesel buses at about $1.35 million each.

Other agenda items coming up include:

  • A new report on the city's tax assessment ratio suggests that achieving a 70/30 residential/non-residential assessment ratio within 20 years "presents significant challenges due to the high value of industrial and other non-residential growth needed to shift the ratio." Administration estimates it would require a 3% year-over-year increase in industrial assessment over the next 20 years.
  • Administration is seeking approval for a $21.6 million agreement with EPCOR for expenses related to various flood mitigation projects in Edmonton. The funding would come from the Alberta Community Resilience Program grant.
  • The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council will lead the development and implementation of a new citywide, coordinated senior sector model to "ensure a collective movement towards a common vision and goals for all seniors to age well in the community."
  • Administration continues to work with the Edmonton Public School Board to identify possible cost-sharing options for the operation of pools adjacent to schools, but "there are no revenue streams available to publicly-funded school boards specific to partnering on operating costs of municipal recreation facilities."
  • "It has been clear from the reactions of audit committee, city council, the administration, and the public to many of our reports, that the Office of the City Auditor has made a difference to improving accountability, acting as a catalyst for change, and for delivering insight into improved use of taxpayers’ money and resources," wrote outgoing city auditor David Wiun in the Office of the City Auditor's 2020 annual report. Administration accepted all 28 recommendations made by the city auditor in 2020.
  • The City of Edmonton's 2020 consolidated financial statements are ready for approval, having been audited by KPMG.
  • Annual reports and work plans from the Edmonton Transit Service Advisory Board, Accessibility Advisory Committee, Women's Advocacy Voice of Edmonton Committee, Edmonton Historical Board, City of Edmonton Youth Council, and Anti-Racism Advisory Committee are now available.

Agendas for this week include:

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