Edmonton Minute: Audit Failure, Meatball Mascot, and a Public Spaces Bylaw
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- This morning, at 9:30 am, there will be a City Council Public Hearing focused on several land use amendments. On Tuesday, at 8:30 am there will be an Agenda Review Committee Meeting. Ironically, no agenda is available for this meeting yet. Also, on Tuesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a City Council meeting. On the agenda are a few amendments to the Vehicle for Hire Bylaw, including the potential for mandatory training requirements for all vehicle-for-hire drivers. Council will receive a report on Urban Trees, outlining options to achieve a goal of 2 million new urban trees and the potential for a private tree bylaw, as well as a report from the Executive Committee regarding the Capital Line South Extension.
The City is offering seven-day free trial memberships at a variety of recreation centres in May. Group fitness classes, hot tubs, swimming pools, and saunas are among the activities available. For information and a list of participating rec centres, visit the City’s website.
- The City is creating a new Public Spaces Bylaw that will consolidate the current Public Places Bylaw, the Parkland Bylaw, and the Conduct Of Transit Passengers Bylaw. The new bylaw aims to outline what is acceptable behaviour in areas of the city that are accessible to the general public, like transit stations, parks, malls, and university campuses. The City is seeking feedback from residents on what should be included in the bylaw. The survey is open until May 21st. Have your say on the City’s website!
Last Week In Edmonton:
- A new report from the City Auditor showed a lack of effective oversight with regard to how $800 million in grants and subsidies was distributed and evaluated over the last five years. Most departments were found lacking in their tracking of results or holding funding recipients accountable. Not only are individual departments not responsibly tracking the money, but the Financial and Corporate Services department is not following up the other departments or making the City Manager aware of issues. The City has agreed to create a reporting framework for tracking whether funding achieves its objectives and will make future grant funding decisions based on results. What a novel idea! Maybe they could even try this for everything else the government funds too?
- The City launched a “Meet Me Downtown” campaign aimed at getting more people to visit, eat, and shop downtown. There's also a $5 million "vibrancy fund" that businesses and organizations can apply for funding from if they have a project that promotes the city’s downtown, as well as a $1.5 million grant to support events, activities, and festivals occurring downtown this year. Marvin the Meatball is the new face of the campaign - he’s an emoji mascot that has residents scratching their heads and wondering just what he’s got to do with downtown. The City’s communications team says he was intended to be accessible, kid-friendly, and get people excited about coming downtown. Hopefully, the City has a plan to meet the Auditor’s requirements and measure the effectiveness of the weird little meatball…
- Mayor Amarjeet Sohi gave his annual State of the City address. Sohi touched on Council’s work to cut $60 million from the City’s budget (our suggestion: fewer meatballs!), collaborate with municipalities on hydrogen production, boost local innovation, and improve safety and cleanliness downtown. The Mayor also implored residents to “ask about Edmonton” when interacting with those campaigning for seats in the Legislature.
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