On the agenda: Blatchford energy, 2022 audits, and municipal resolutions

· The Pulse

This week, the emergency advisory committee will hold a special meeting on May 8 to discuss the fire situation around the city. The audit committee will meet later that morning, and the performance evaluation committee for the city manager and city auditor will meet in the afternoon. The utility committee will meet on May 9, council services committee will meet in the morning on May 10, and a non-regular city council meeting will take place in the afternoon on May 10.

Here are some of the key items on the agenda:

  • Blatchford Renewable Energy has secured $23.7 million in funding from National Resources Canada, which requires matching funding from the Blatchford Utility of $55.5 million or 70% of the total project costs. The grant will enable the expansion of Energy Centre One, the growth of the distributing piping network, and the planning, design, and construction of the Sewer Heat Exchange Energy Centre. Administration proposes funding the city's portion with debt, the majority of which would not be borrowed until 2027.
  • In its 2022 annual report, the Office of the City Auditor said it completed nine performance audits, obtained 88% overall auditee satisfaction, incorporated data into 64% of its audits, and exceeded its target for employee engagement. Administration implemented 24 recommendations in 2022, with 25 outstanding, including two that are overdue — an assessment of the condition of historic resources and full implementation of the disaster recovery program. Administration says the former was to be complete by April 28 and the latter will be done by June 30.
  • City council will consider endorsing three administration-initiated resolutions for submission at the 2023 Alberta Municipalities annual convention, which will take place in Edmonton from Sept. 27 to 29. The resolutions include requests for changes to scale up the Clean Energy Improvement Program, provincial support to address affordable housing, and provincial support for the recovery of downtown and business districts. A fourth resolution initiated by Drayton Valley, on support for peace officers, will also be considered with Edmonton as a potential seconder.
The round and mirrored Energy Centre One building in Blatchford surrounded by green grass

Energy Centre One at Blatchford, seen here shortly after it opened in 2019, could see an expansion thanks in part to a federal grant. (Transforming Edmonton)

Here are some of the other new agenda items:

  • The city auditor has completed a Cyber Security Program audit, but administration recommends keeping the details and nine audit recommendations private as the information could be used to compromise critical systems. Using the National Institute of Standards and Technology's cyber security framework, the audit found that 20 of 23 control categories met some or most expectations.
  • From 2018 to 2022, the city provided $712 million in subsidies and $99 million in grants. An audit of grants and subsidies found that while the city's governing documents align with best practices, most business areas do not consistently comply with them. Three recommendations, all of which administration accepts, are expected to be implemented by the first quarter of 2024.
  • A response to an inquiry from Coun. Jennifer Rice clarifies the role of councillors on the city's nine advisory committees. The report also includes a list of councillor appointments to civic agencies.
  • EPCOR says it plans to submit new wastewater treatment and drainage services rates and terms and conditions by June 2024 to city council, with implementation slated for April 1, 2025. It would publish eight discussion papers over the next year, and conduct a series of public engagement activities, including a public hearing tentatively scheduled for October 2024.

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