Edmonton Minute: Bear Spray, Capital Projects, and Police Commission Tensions

Edmonton Minute: Bear Spray, Capital Projects, and Police Commission Tensions


Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics


This Week In Edmonton:

  • The Community and Public Services Committee meets today at 9:30 am. The implementation of “Connections & Exchanges: A 10-Year Plan to Transform Arts & Heritage In Edmonton” is at its halfway point, and the Edmonton Arts Council will present the progress made so far. The Committee will also hear an update on the City’s Corporate Homelessness Plan before discussing a bylaw aimed at regulating the sale of Oleoresin Capsicum spray, commonly known as bear spray. Administration is proposing a new business license category for retailers selling bear spray, as well as the imposition of new conditions that include recording transactions involving bear spray sales and maintaining those records for 24 months. Among the information the City wants to collect are the serial number of the bear spray, if applicable, brand name, quantity sold, date and time of sale, employee’s name or an employee ID number facilitating the sale, buyer's name, buyer’s photo identification type as provided for verification, and either the buyer’s identification number or date of birth. To round the bylaw out, Administration recommends providing buyers with City-approved messaging on the proper use of bear spray and its consequences. Telling people not to point it at a human will definitely stop those intent on doing so…

  • On Tuesday, at 8:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Agenda Review Committee, followed by a meeting of the Urban Planning Committee at 9:30 am. At the latter meeting, the Committee will look at the frequency of construction-related complaints, as well as assess the terms of reference for Neighbourhood Structure Plans to incorporate City priorities and goals, such as climate resilience and financial sustainability.

  • There will be a meeting of the Executive Committee on Wednesday at 9:30 am. The Committee will discuss a draft policy for compensating business owners for financial loss during major construction projects, as well as a living wage policy for City of Edmonton Employees.



Last Week In Edmonton:

  • Council voted to spend an additional $262.6 million on capital projects. A significant portion, $170.7 million, comes from the federal government to increase housing supply. Other funds come from savings or reallocated money, as well as the City taking on more debt, leading to additional tax increases of 0.25% in each of the next two years. Edmonton's new municipal spending includes $37.8 million to replace 40 diesel buses, $20 million to repair Dawson Bridge, $15 million to upgrade Jasper Avenue, $11.5 million to repair the Highlands fire station, $10 million for police IT, $6 million for police body-worn cameras, and $4.8 million to renew the Clark Stadium turf. The budget also allocates $4.6 million for more LRT replacement vehicles but does not account for the additional $242 million approved by Council in private to cover the higher-than-budgeted costs for the Capital Line LRT south extension. (More on that below!)

  • Council approved spending at least $240 million more than expected to extend the Capital Line LRT southward - in secret, and without public debate. The extension from Century Park to Ellerslie Road will now cost $1.34 billion, largely due to inflationary pressures. The project includes new stations at Twin Brooks and Heritage Valley, and the City has already spent about $70 million preparing for construction. Council had previously scaled back project elements to stay within budget, but inflation and market volatility have led to another budget shortfall.

  • Tensions continued between the Edmonton Police Commission and City Council. The Commission refused to share an audit plan with Council, citing operational boundaries and the focus on internal risks, detailing their rationale in a letter. Then, they declined meetings with Council and no-showed a request to attend a public Council meeting. In response, Council took the unprecedented step of defeating a motion to accept the Commission's letter for information. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi expressed frustration over the lack of clarity on how police funds are used, and the Commission is now seeking mediation to mend the strained relationship amid disputes over transparency.





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  • Common Sense Edmonton
    published this page in News 2024-06-16 21:23:18 -0600