On the agenda: Climate action, homelessness, and office tower conversions

· The Pulse

This week, council committees are set to discuss climate action, projects to help homeless and vulnerable Edmontonians, and whether to incentivize office tower conversions, among other topics.

Community and public services committee will meet on Oct. 30, urban planning committee will meet on Oct. 31, executive committee will meet on Nov. 1, and utility committee will meet on Nov. 3.

Here are some of the key items on the agenda:

A pointy-topped, 23-storey tower made of glass and steel in downtown Edmonton.

Peak Tower, an office-to-residential conversion in the former Enbridge Tower, is set to open in December. (Stephanie Swensrude)

Here are some of the other new agenda items:

  • Administration studied options for incentives for building housing downtown and found a per-square-foot grant could be effective but expensive, costing the city between $11.6 million and $23.1 million each year to incentivize 275 units annually. Staff does not recommend using the downtown community revitalization levy to fund a potential incentive program, as its capacity is restrained. The city wants to see 359 new units built each year for the next 20 years.
  • Utility committee will consider removing the charitable exemption in the single-use items bylaw. The city says charitable organizations sometimes rely on single-use items and wrote the bylaw with that in mind, but incoming federal regulations will prohibit charitable organizations from using them as of Dec. 20.
  • A pilot project involving a community property safety team has resulted in a 31% decrease in structural fires downtown and in the Alberta Avenue area, the city said in a report going to community and public services committee. Funding for the pilot will run out in December, and a service package to continue the service will be introduced at the fall supplemental operating budget adjustment.
  • The city has an annual budget of $500,000 to support and attract events that could bolster Edmonton's economy and reputation, which administration says is not sufficient to fund an updated Event Growth and Attraction Strategy. Upon council direction, administration will introduce a service package for more event attraction funding at the supplemental operating budget adjustment.
  • The intersection at 167 Avenue and 66 Street NW, Parsons Road, and 215 Street NW are three arterial roads that administration is suggesting could use an upgrade. The city studies roads in developing areas of the city to determine if they're serving the area as intended.
  • Five affordable housing developments have been selected for the $16.7 million Affordable Housing Investment Program, pending council approval.
  • Community and public services committee will discuss actions the City of Edmonton can take to respond to the drug poisoning crisis.

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