On the agenda: Citadel, e-scooters, entertainment district

· The Pulse

This week, city council will discuss a proposed new lease with the Citadel Theatre, who will operate our e-scooters and e-bikes, and the proposed downtown entertainment district.

There is a community and public services committee meeting scheduled on April 29 and a non-regular city council meeting scheduled on April 30. There is an urban planning committee meeting scheduled on May 2 and an executive committee meeting scheduled on May 3.

Here are key items on the agenda:

  • The maintenance and renewal of the Citadel Theatre may be transferred to the City of Edmonton in September when the two parties renew their lease, according to a report scheduled to be presented at an executive committee meeting on May 3. The Citadel built and operates the theatre located at 9828 101A Avenue NW, and has leased the land from the city since 1974. The original 50-year lease said the theatre would be transferred to the city at the end of the term. Administration has drafted a new lease that would see the City of Edmonton take on maintenance and renewal of the theatre, which would cost about $1.36 million annually, plus up to $375,000 to support current maintenance work. The Citadel would provide at least $100,000 per year toward capital renewal. Administration estimates the theatre needs $56.2 million for renewal over the initial term of the proposed 10-year lease. The Citadel would cover its own janitorial, insurance, security, utilities, and property tax costs under the proposed lease. The Citadel's interim executive director Alan Nursall told Taproot the arrangement is a win-win. "The city needs a vibrant art district, and this is a small opportunity for the city to keep investing in that space," he said.
  • Administration said it will announce which companies will be permitted to offer e-scooters and e-bikes for Edmonton riders by the end of May. The company or companies the city chooses will be engaged until 2027, an urban planning committee report said. The city said it will install visible parking locations and no-parking zones, and that suppliers can fine users for improper parking. The city is also introducing new compliance fees for suppliers that it said will help deal with improper parking. In 2023, shared e-scooters and e-bikes were available in early April, in early June in 2022, and in late March in 2021. Scooters are already on streets in Spruce Grove and St. Albert.
  • Administration recommends establishing a downtown entertainment district on Rice Howard Way this summer. This would allow patrons to purchase food and alcohol from the street's restaurants and bring it into the street, which would be closed to vehicles. The program would run from June to August. The original plan was to close the street to vehicle access on Fridays and Saturdays. But after receiving public feedback, the city said the program would only run on Saturdays because stakeholders were concerned about noise, maintaining parking, and vehicle access. The street would be closed from 7am on Saturdays to 10am on Sundays. The bylaw to establish a downtown entertainment district is set to be reviewed by council's community and public services committee on April 29. The committee could then recommend council votes on the bylaw at a future city council meeting.
E-scooters in downtown Edmonton.

City administration said it will announce what operators will provide e-scooters and e-bikes by the end of May. (Mack Male/Flickr)

Here are some other items on the agenda:

  • City council is scheduled to vote on bylaws that will set the property tax rates and community revitalization levy rates at a non-regular city council meeting on April 30. Council approved an 8.9% property tax increase on April 23.
  • In 2023, the City of Edmonton awarded about $98 million in non-competitive contracts, each with individual values of more than $250,000, according to a report that is scheduled to be presented at council's executive committee meeting on May 3. The majority of City of Edmonton contracts with values of more than $250,000 are sourced through a competitive process. But if there is only one supplier able to meet administration's needs, if there is an emergency, or if no bids are received, the city is allowed to negotiate directly with one or a small number of suppliers. Local suppliers won about three-quarters of competitive contracts, the city said, but local suppliers won only about half of the non-competitive contracts.
  • Administration has selected a local business as a potential sponsor that could have naming rights of the Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre. The new name is set to be discussed in private at a community and public services committee meeting on April 29. The name requires council approval.
  • An environmental impact assessment has found construction of the Edmonton Ski Club's new ski lodge is not expected to harm environmental resources, vegetation, or wildlife. As the lodge will be located within the North Saskatchewan River Valley Area Development Plan, the project was required to undergo an environmental assessment and site location study.
  • The performance of the City of Edmonton's investments ranged from 5% to 11.1% in 2023, according to a report that will be presented at an executive committee meeting on May 3. Investments have outperformed their benchmarks and maintained an upward trend over the last 10 years.

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