Edmonton Minute: Bathrooms Closed, Staffer Fired, and Mask Debates Continue
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
City Council is on break this week. The only meeting scheduled is the Agenda Review Committee meeting which will take place from 9:00 am to 9:30 am on Tuesday.
Hundreds of people fleeing war-torn Ukraine will be arriving today in Edmonton on a Polish plane. The arrivals are not refugees, but visitors to Canada who already have relations here, although the children will be able to continue their education in Canadian schools. The flight will load up with cargo, medical aid, and emergency response supplies before returning to Poland.
- Construction in Edmonton continues to negatively impact some restaurants and businesses, particularly along 118th Avenue. Business owners are considering shutting up shop permanently or moving to other locations rather than deal with the perpetual construction. One business owner said he lost 90% of his sales and his two staff have quit. City Council will decide on April 4th whether to establish a program similar to the City of Montreal’s, which provides payments to businesses that can prove a lack of sales due to construction.
Last Week In Edmonton:
The City announced that it was closing almost all public bathrooms in transit stations to prevent drug poisonings. Between the unsafe conditions, garbage being left everywhere, a general increase in crime, and lack of security in the stations, this is just another step to make transit less inviting for everyone. Oddly, outside of transit stations, the City is still working on another pilot project to increase the availability of public bathrooms. Perhaps providing real security in transit stations is the solution, not closing washrooms and then spending money on more bathrooms in other locations?
- An Edmonton City staffer who abused the public bidding process and steered bids to their own business was, in fact, fired. Contracts with their company were also terminated. A City Auditor’s report had simply stated a “non compliance memo” had been issued, drawing criticism from Councillors who demanded more transparency from administration. To the credit of the Mayor, he also pushed administration to detail the fallout of the case publicly, which they seemed reluctant to do, citing privacy concerns. Very few other details were released to the public.
- In another victory for Common Sense Edmonton, City Council voted down a bylaw that would make masking mandatory in City-owned and -operated facilities like City Hall and recreational centres. However, Council also did pass a bylaw by a margin of 9-4 that made masking mandatory on transit. Masks were already mandated on transit by the Province, so the bylaw will simply allow both bylaw and police enforcement, rather than just police enforcement.
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