On the agenda: Transit safety, community revitalization levies, and the Edmonton Research Park
By Mack Male
This week, community and public services committee will meet on March 20, urban planning committee meets on March 21, and executive committee will meet on March 22. Recruitment for various boards and committees continues with a non-regular meeting of community and public services committee on March 24.
Here are some of the key items on the agenda:
- Administration is seeking approval to extend the agreement for the Community Outreach Transit Team, a partnership between the city and Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, for another three years to Aug. 31, 2026, at a cost of up to $2.1 million. The funding was already approved by city council during the 2023-2026 budget deliberations.
- A report from the Edmonton Transit Service Advisory Board about youth and their perception of safety on transit found that young people and their parents or guardians who were surveyed "do not feel that ETS is doing a good job of keeping them safe." Recommendations include clarifying who to contact when feeling unsafe, reducing the need for connections on routes that go to schools, making a series of improvements to Transit Watch, and prioritizing and providing toolkits, templates, and awareness campaigns for younger riders. In response, administration says several new initiatives to support the safety of young riders will be implemented this year, including expanded mobile access to Transit Watch.
- The latest projections for Edmonton's three community revitalization levy (CRL) areas over the full 20-year terms are a $42-million surplus for the Downtown CRL, a $24.3-million deficit for the Quarters CRL, and an $11.8-million deficit for the Belvedere CRL. In a separate report, administration recommends against amending the Downtown CRL to fund public washrooms or affordable housing projects, though it does suggest that public washrooms could be built as part of existing park projects.
- Administration says it will convene a multi-stakeholder advisory group and will take further action if directed to do so by council to further plans for the Edmonton Research Park. Leaders of some organizations based there are cautiously optimistic about the city's plans after extensive consultations and the proposal to seek ongoing input.