On the agenda: Homelessness, pepper spray, and rezoning applications

· The Pulse

This week starts off with a public hearing on Feb. 6, followed by a community and public services committee meeting on Feb. 7 and an urban planning committee meeting on Feb. 8. Here are some of the key items on the agenda:

  • Dr. Chris Sikora, chief medical officer of health for Edmonton, will speak with council on Feb. 7 about the effects of homelessness on the healthcare ecosystem.
  • The Edmonton Police Service says its data shows occurrences involving the use of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray — commonly known as pepper spray or bear spray — have been trending upward since 2015, and that about 62% of all reported incidents took place within 100 metres of a bus stop. EPS is requesting amendments to the Public Places Bylaw and the Business Licence Bylaw to regulate the safe handling, transportation, and sale of OC spray products in Edmonton.
  • A rezoning application for 10015 113 Street NW in Oliver would allow for the development of a medium-rise residential building with a maximum of 95 dwellings and a maximum height of 23 metres (about six storeys). The proposed project is significantly smaller than the current zoning for the site, which would allow a high-rise building with a maximum height of 60 metres (about 15 storeys).
Rendering of the proposed development in Oliver

A render of the proposed medium-rise development in Oliver. (Supplied)

Here are some of the other new agenda items:

  • Administration approved 200 gardens during the first season of the Residential Boulevard Gardening program, which launched on July 28, 2022. Updates are underway to improve the communication and clarity of the rules, and fees for the upcoming season will be waived while the program is reviewed.
  • Administration recommends the approval of $1.174 million in funding to five organizations as part of the Anti-Racism Community Safety Fund. The funding was allocated in November 2021, and administration said 55 applications requesting a total of $10.6 million were received. The Anti-Racism Advisory Committee helped review the applications, shortlisting 14 requesting a total of $2.87 million.
  • An analysis of the potential use of restorative justice practices to address harassment-based offences under the Public Places Bylaw suggests there are more challenges and disadvantages than advantages, and found that feedback collected through community engagement was "mixed and inconclusive."
  • After consulting with EPCOR, administration does not recommend using existing stormwater management facilities for snow storage due to regulatory, environmental, and health and safety concerns. The city currently has four operational snow storage sites, with a fifth awaiting upgrades before resuming operation.
  • Proposed amendments to the Riverview area structure plan (ASP) would reduce the number of neighbourhoods approved from five to four, with the River's Edge and White Birch neighbourhoods incorporating the previously designated land. Administration says the application meets both the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board's Growth Plan density targets and the goals and policies of the City Plan, and recommends approval.
  • At public hearing, council will also consider rezoning applications for low-intensity commercial activity in Charlesworth, a mix of small-scale housing in West Jasper Place, and business industrial and limited commercial uses in Bonaventure Industrial.

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