On the agenda: Infill fire assessments, EPCOR, waste surplus

This week, council is scheduled to discuss improved timelines for fire assessments on infill developments, EPCOR's performance measures, and a surplus in the waste services department.

There is a utility committee meeting scheduled for May 6 and a council services committee meeting scheduled for May 7. There is a non-regular city council meeting scheduled for May 8 at 9:30am and a special city council meeting scheduled for May 8 at 1:30pm. There is a city manager recruitment committee meeting scheduled for May 10.

Here are key items on the agenda:

  • Administration has significantly cut the time infill developers must wait for fire protection assessments. In 2021, the average assessment took more than 95 days, but in 2023 a majority of the assessments took just two weeks, according to a report scheduled to be presented at a utility committee meeting on May 6. Administration developed the Infill Fire Protection Assessment Program in 2019 following concerns that infill has different infrastructure requirements than greenfield development. Through the program, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services analyzes how much water flows out of a fire hydrant near the development to determine if it's enough to service the development. If not, EFRS coordinates with the developer on changes to the development application or supports infrastructure upgrades. In the future, the city is going to automate the process using geospatial technology, removing the need for an assessment — though EFRS will still review applications during the development permit stage. Administration said automation will make it easier to see which future developments will need upgraded infrastructure.
  • Councillors will discuss who among them will attend conferences and events, and their budget for this, at the first council services committee meeting on May 7. This discussion was scheduled for late January but was cancelled after the attack at city hall. Ten out of 12 councillors have submitted travel requests to attend events such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference in Calgary, board meetings for Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association, and the Calgary Stampede. Trip requests currently add up to nearly $96,000; the budget councillors share for these purposes is $73,000 for the year. As of press time, there was no digital city report on this discussion to share.
  • The city's waste services department has a higher-than-expected surplus from operational efficiencies and capital project delays, according to a report set to be reviewed at a utility committee meeting on May 6. Administration recommends funding approved projects with this extra cash instead of using debt, thereby saving the city about $1.1 million in interest costs annually for the next four years. The committee can recommend that council approves this move at a future meeting.
Edmonton firefighters spray water on a fire.

City administration has made changes to how it assesses the fire safety of infill developments. (City of Edmonton)

Here are some other items on the agenda:

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