On the agenda: Zoning, transit safety, and construction accountability

· The Pulse

This week, city council will continue a public hearing on the proposed zoning bylaw renewal on Oct. 23. Council will also have a private non-regular meeting on Oct. 23 to discuss updates on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and pre-budget submissions, and it will meet on Oct. 24 with a continuation scheduled for Oct. 25 if required.

Here are some of the key items on the agenda:

  • Council will continue a marathon public hearing on the proposed zoning bylaw renewal on Oct. 23, marking the sixth day of feedback and debate. Since Oct. 16, council has heard from more than 200 speakers in support of or opposed to the bylaw and started asking questions to administration on Oct. 19. Coun. Karen Principe introduced a motion on Oct. 20 to refer the bylaw back to administration for six months for more engagement, particularly about energy efficiency, heritage preservation, aging in place, adequate green space, and separation of supervised consumption sites. The motion was defeated 10-2 with Principe and Coun. Jennifer Rice voting in favour.
  • Three options to help with ongoing transit safety challenges will be considered: permanent enhanced cleaning of transit spaces; attendants to assist riders at stations; and supporting events, art, and busking in transit spaces. The programs would require about $2.3 million, $2.5 million, and $300,000, respectively, in ongoing annual funding. Administration will also present its latest bi-monthly update on the transit safety plan.
  • Ward Anirniq Coun. Erin Rutherford will introduce a motion calling for a review of the construction of Castledowns Pointe, including plans and documents, and for administration to share any lessons learned on construction accountability. In September, the city told residents to evacuate the building after structural engineers discovered the building was at risk of collapsing. Rutherford is also seeking a report on the roles and responsibilities in the construction process and how they've changed in the past 20 years.
Councillors Sarah Hamilton, Erin Rutherford, and Ashley Salvador sitting in council chambers

After Castledowns Pointe residents were evacuated in September, Coun. Erin Rutherford spoke about the need for public trust in city processes and construction. "In order to have public trust, we have to have accountability," Rutherford said. (Mack Male/Flickr)

Several committee recommendations will be considered:

Here are some of the other new agenda items:

  • City council will hold its annual organizational meeting to determine the committee and meeting calendar for 2024 and the terms for deputy and acting mayor. Council will also amend or repeal outdated bylaws, a process that happens twice a year. The Council Committees Bylaw will be amended to implement previously approved governance changes for committees of council including the Energy Transition Climate Resilience Committee and the Accessibility Advisory Committee.
  • Council will consider bylaws to make two adjacent buildings on 103 Street NW just north of 102 Avenue NW municipal historic resources: The Boardwalk and the Revillon Building. The buildings house offices on upper floors and LGBTQ+ nightclub Evolution as well as restaurants Bodega, Sabor, Maria, and the Old Spaghetti Factory at street level.
  • Borrowing bylaws for three projects will be considered:
    • $7.67 million for the Downtown District Energy Initiative, ready for first reading only;
    • $5.10 million for the Blatchford District Energy Sharing System;
    • $2.67 million for the distribution piping centre for the Blatchford Renewable Energy Utility.

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