Edmonton Minute: Arc Launch, Homelessness Funding, and Upcoming Budget Hearings
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
This evening, we're hosting a Pints & Politics event at Brewsters Unity Square (11620 104th Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 2T7). We've organized some casual drinks so that like-minded Edmontonians can get together and chat about what's going on in politics. There is no formal agenda or program, so feel free to come and go anytime between 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm. The event will take place in the private room upstairs (which is only accessible by staircase, sorry!). Attendance is free, but RSVPs are required, so that we know how many people to expect. Please click here to RSVP.
Today and tomorrow, at 9:30 am each day, there will be Non-Statutory Public Hearings regarding the 2023-2026 Capital Budget, Operating Budget, and Carbon Budget. Residents wanting to speak at the hearing can fill out the City’s form. Should you not wish to speak, but still have thoughts to share, you can write to your Councillor and tell them how you feel about increased property taxes.
- On Wednesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a City Council meeting to discuss the aforementioned budgets. There are several continuations scheduled between Wednesday and December 16th as the budget will require numerous days of debate. Council will hear presentations from a number of organizations such as the Telus World of Science, the Police Commission, and the Federation of Community Leagues, detailing their funding asks.
Last Week In Edmonton:
The City and Province butted heads about homelessness funding - again. The Executive Committee voted to spend $7.5 million on creating 209 additional shelter spaces at the Bedfort Inn and Suites site, although just 59 of these are private rooms, and 150 are just mats. Astonishingly, this works out to roughly $6,000 per space per month - about triple what it costs the province to operate shelters. $6,000 a month, for a mat! Maybe the problem isn't a lack of funding?
- The Urban Planning Committee reviewed the first draft of a major zoning bylaw rewrite. The new residential rules, if approved by Council, will allow more density and height in new infill housing. The plan consolidates zones and provides the flexibility to add three-storey apartments, row houses, supportive housing, lodging houses, fourplexes, and even home-based businesses and child-care spaces. Maps, more information, and a public feedback mechanism are available online.
- The Arc e-fare system for transit was finally launched after a year-long pilot. The Arc system cost approximately $53 million - $28 million of which came from the provincial GreenTrip Grant. All Edmonton Transit System buses and LRT platforms can accept the card, as well as buses in neighbouring municipalities like Beaumont, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, and Strathcona County, with more to come soon. Cards cost $6, in addition to the fare, but Edmonton transit staff are handing them out for free until November 29th at major LRT stations. Fares are capped at $10.25 a day or $100 a month - people can ride for free after hitting the cap.
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