On the agenda: Coronation funding, pedway construction, climate reviews

· The Pulse

City council returns from its holiday break this week, with community and public services committee on Jan. 16, urban planning committee on Jan. 17, and executive committee on Jan. 18. Here are some of the key agenda items:

  • A proposed funding agreement between the city, the Argyll Velodrome Association, and World Triathlon Series Edmonton would see the two partner organizations contribute $4 million in capital funding to the Coronation Park Sports and Recreation Centre, which is currently under construction. Should the organizations not be able to raise the funds, administration suggests using self-supporting tax-guaranteed debt, the servicing of which would be funded by future lease revenues charged to the two organizations. The report also suggests that the facility's cycling track, weight-lifting and warm-up space, running track, and link to the Peter Hemingway Fitness and Leisure Centre will all be considered for name sale under the Facility Name Sale Policy C477A. Construction on the facility was 25% complete as of December 2022 and is anticipated to be complete in 2026.
  • Administration recommends that executive committee approve a sole-source, non-competitive agreement with Ledcor for the construction of the $26.5 million 103A Avenue pedway from Churchill LRT station to Station Lands. Engaging Ledcor would result in reduced cost and reduced risk as the company has already been contracted by Qualico to build the first phase of the Station Lands development. Qualico sought an amendment to the Downtown CRL to fund the pedway in June 2021, which the Government of Alberta approved in January 2022. An attempt by Coun. Anne Stevenson to cancel the funding failed in a 10-3 vote on Jan. 24, 2022.
  • The city currently uses a suite of environmental reviews for plans and projects, but administration plans to start including an environment and climate review section in select reports starting in the second quarter of 2023. Including environment and climate information within all applicable council reports will require an additional two or three full-time equivalents with environment and climate expertise, administration says. "Options for additional steps that could be taken to further expand or increase environmental reviews are expected to be associated with a requirement for increased resources," the report states.
  • At executive committee on Jan. 18, Stevenson will table a motion asking for a report from administration and Homeward Trust containing lessons learned from implementing Edmonton's Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness for incorporation into the city's affordable housing strategy.
Exterior view of the new Coronation Park Sports and Recreation Centre within Coronation Park with people and dogs in the snow around the trails leading to the building

Exterior view from TELUS World of Science showing the new Coronation Park Sports and Recreation Centre within Coronation Park. (City of Edmonton)

Here are some of the other new agenda items:

  • The city is developing a new measure called the substantial completion standard aimed at supporting the City Plan's goal of encouraging a market shift from primarily greenfield development to infill. But representatives from the home-building and development industries are concerned it could contribute to the affordability crisis in housing.
  • The funding impact of the city's encampment and unsheltered homelessness response is slated for discussion on Jan. 16, but the report has not yet been published.
  • Since an amendment to the Public Places Bylaw related to hate symbols was enacted in August 2021, four incidents have been reported to the city for investigation and no tickets have been written. Administration said the use of hate symbols in graffiti has decreased slightly over the past four years, from 68 complaints in 2019 to 54 in 2022.
  • A review of area redevelopment plans notes that 75 plans were repealed in 2021 with another 46 proposed to be repealed in August 2023, all with the intent of improving alignment with the City Plan. A separate report provides an update on engagement related to the 15 district plans.
  • The Maple Ridge Owners group, which was eligible for up to $8 million in rebates from the city if it met a series of construction targets, is seeking an extension until Oct. 31, 2026, citing continued economic challenges in the Edmonton region. The organization was already granted one extension, from April 2020 until October 2024. To date, the organization has invested $15.3 million in cost-sharable infrastructure and has received $4 million from the city.
  • Administration is seeking approval for the sale of three fully serviced lots at market value in Rampart Industrial at 142 Street NW and 162 Avenue NW. The city is a major landowner in the area, holding more than 100 hectares of land. "Anticipated tax revenue upon transfer is over $150,000 per year and future tax revenues may be upwards of $575,000 per year should construction proceed as proposed," the report states.
  • Administration engaged with the Edmonton Soccer Association to evaluate the availability of and access to soccer facilities.
  • The Edmonton Heritage Council recommends that more than $323,000 in operational grants be allocated to nine heritage organizations in 2023, the majority of which would go to the Alberta Aviation Museum ($168,000) and Société Historique Francophone de L'Alberta ($42,000). The report also contains an overview of 2022 grant recipients.

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