Council is back to meeting but will do so virtually. This shift follows a week when the city cancelled all public meetings in the wake of the Jan. 23 attack on city hall. The building will be closed to the public indefinitely.
Here are key items on the agenda:
- Councillors have the opportunity to move the Oliver neighbourhood's proposed new name, Wîhkwêntôwin ᐄᐧᐦᑫᐧᐣᑑᐃᐧᐣ, closer to being official at an executive committee meeting scheduled for Feb. 7. Wîhkwêntôwin, pronounced we-kwen-to-win, means "circle of friends" in nêhiyawêwin, or Cree. The city introduced a new policy in 2021 that allows communities to request to rename if the namesake's views do not reflect equity and inclusion. If a community wants to rename a neighbourhood or a significant asset, the new name must be approved by the naming committee, which is made up of citizen volunteers. If executive committee approves the Wîhkwêntôwin name on Feb. 7, it will move on to city council for final approval.
- Game Con Canada has chosen the Edmonton Expo Centre as its venue from 2024 to 2026. A city report suggests the event could see up to 34,000 attendees who are passionate about video games and esports. The report, to be examined at the Feb. 7 executive committee meeting, outlines several ways Edmonton could advance the Alberta Esports Strategy, and attract major gaming events and investments, with one being to create a city-wide esports working group. Stakeholders said a more formalized structure to support esports is needed.
- The Edmonton International Airport and the Edmonton Downtown Business Association support creating a direct bus link between the region's international airport and downtown Edmonton, according to a report due at a Feb. 6 urban planning committee meeting. Edmonton's council requested administration to explore cost-sharing options, as it declined to fund the service during its budget deliberations in December 2022. No organizations have formally committed to a cost-sharing model. The report said the proposed service would cost between $2.5 million and $3.5 million, depending on frequency, with an upfront capital cost of between $10 million and $30 million. The city said council would need to approve funding for the route as there is no money for it in the budget. Route 747 currently runs between Century Park Transit Centre and YEG. The proposed new service would supplement the 747 route, the city said. The new route could attract more conference goers and boost the economic potential of the airport and downtown. A route could also support those who live and work near the airport, as the majority of 747 bus passengers are "regular riders" who likely work at YEG or the Premium Outlet Collection Edmonton International Airport, the city said.