On the agenda: Winter shelters, affordable housing, and construction compensation

· The Pulse

This week, a public hearing takes place on Oct. 3, city council meets on Oct. 4 with a continuation scheduled for Oct. 5, and a special city council meeting takes place on Oct. 6.

Here are some of the key items on the agenda:

  • Administration will provide a verbal report on supporting vulnerable Edmontonians this winter. As of July, Edmonton had just 627 permanent shelter spaces, less than half the number needed. The province said on July 18 — when shelters in the city were experiencing record attendance — it would provide $5 million to create 450 temporary shelters this winter, and last week it said in a statement that Edmonton would have 1,727 shelter spaces. Homeward Trust says more than 3,000 people in Edmonton are experiencing homelessness.
  • Executive committee has recommended approval of a series of budget changes to facilitate the creation of about 74 affordable housing units. Despite submitting "very strong and compelling" projects to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation totalling about $80 million, just two were approved, for a total of about $15.4 million. Another $4.9 million will come from Alberta's Affordable Housing Partnership Program. "I am disappointed. I'm pretty sure we all are disappointed but we will continue our advocacy to the feds," Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said.
  • Coun. Andrew Knack is expected to request the creation of a policy to compensate businesses negatively impacted financially during major construction projects. The policy would provide financial assistance directly to business owners, not landlords. A previous draft policy proposed reducing property taxes during the construction project up to some sort of cap, with the forgiven taxes to be repaid after the project is complete should revenue increase beyond pre-construction values.
A dug-out road in front of businesses separated by a fence

Businesses affected by major construction projects like the Valley Line LRT West along Stony Plain Road could receive financial compensation if a new policy is approved. (Mack Male/Flickr)

Here are some of the other new agenda items:

  • Bylaw 20580 would create a new assessment and tax subclass for derelict residential property within mature neighbourhoods. The 274 properties identified as potentially derelict were levied nearly $700,000 in municipal taxes in 2023. If the new subclass had been in place this year, the combined municipal taxes would have been more than $1.6 million.
  • Bylaws 20612, 20613, and Charter Bylaw 20614 would amend the Riverview ASP and Riverview Neighbourhood #3 NSP to rezone land for low and medium residential density, a school park, and institutional uses. The neighbourhood will be named River's Edge.
  • Several borrowing bylaws will be considered, including:
    • $35.33 million for Downtown CRL projects, including Warehouse Park, and a corresponding decrease of $37.43 million to transfer funding between profiles;
    • $6.73 million for planning and design of CRL projects;
    • -$32,139 for work related to the Edmonton Waste Management Centre, which has been completed;
    • -$2.07 million for The Quarters CRL;
    • Repealing revised Bylaw 19369, which is no longer needed after the planned Organics Processing Facility was cancelled.
  • Bylaw 20603 and Charter Bylaw 20604 would rezone land in Queen Alexandra to prepare for the future Rollie Miles Recreation Centre.

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