By Paul Cashman
Edmonton's new city council members are on record supporting the downtown vibrancy strategy, increasing resources for homegrown economic diversification initiatives, and maintaining current spending levels on pandemic aid for businesses.
In responses to Taproot's pre-election survey of key municipal issues, mayor-elect Amarjeet Sohi and 11 of the 12 successful councillor candidates provided insights into where the new leadership at City Hall stands on business-related concerns. Karen Principe did not answer the Taproot survey.
Sohi and councillors Aaron Paquette, Anne Stevenson, Michael Janz, and Tim Cartmell supported the downtown strategy and favoured fully funding the plan. Another five council members — Keren Tang, Ashley Salvador, Andrew Knack, Sarah Hamilton, and Jo-Anne Wright – also backed the plan at the current level of investment. New councillors Erin Rutherford and Jennifer Rice supported investment in downtown, but not the plan approved by council in June.
Only two winning candidates – Cartmell and Hamilton – said the city's current approach to encouraging economic diversification is heading in the right direction. Nine council members said the city should put more resources behind nurturing homegrown businesses.
There seems little support for increased city spending to help local businesses recover from the pandemic, an option chosen by only Paquette and Stevenson.
Edmonton companies should also not expect the new council to ease their tax burden by shifting more of the load onto the residential sector. Only Cartmell and Hamilton want residential property owners to pay higher taxes while nine other council members who answered the question supported the current split between residential and business taxes.