Edmonton Minute: Bike Lanes, Zoo Funding, and More Budget Deliberations
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- City Council will wrap up budget discussions this week. There are meetings today, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9:30 am. There have been many amendments to the initial budget, with even more spending proposed (see below for more information!).
Construction continues on the ICE District “fan park.” The multi-use outdoor space, located directly east of Rogers Place between 102 Street and 101 Street, will feature three outdoor rinks and can accommodate festivals, sports, and live entertainment. The Edmonton Oilers Charity Foundation will be investing in sports and community programming for youth, supported by funding from 50/50 draws at Oilers’ games.
- The City of Edmonton is inviting residents to name a snow plow. Five names will be chosen and displayed on five snowplows in the new year. Almost 2,000 ideas have already been submitted. Until December 18th, you can submit your ideas online.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- Despite the City recently having to vote to allow itself to take on more debt, Mayor Amarjeet Sohi proposed 12 (!) increases to budget items last week. Among them were infrastructure improvements in Chinatown ($10.1 million), affordable housing ($22.9 million), green retrofits of city buildings ($53 million), and emissions-neutral city fleets and equipment ($11.2 million). The largest of the proposals, however, comes in at $100 million for expansion of the bike lane network. Yes, you read that right, $100 million for bike lanes! If you think this is as insane as we do, you can sign our petition to Stop The Bike Lane Boondoggle.'
- Councillor Ashley Salvador said it's time to demolish the Coliseum, the former home of the Edmonton Oilers. Multiple propositions to repurpose the arena - everything from apartments to community rinks - haven’t resulted in anything tangible. The cost to taxpayers to maintain the empty facility comes in at $1 million every year. Demolition would cost roughly $35 million.
- During budget deliberations, Council voted 7-6 to reduce funding for the Edmonton Valley Zoo expansion by half. The expansion, approved by Council last fall, requires $50 million. Some of the funding was earmarked for upgrading animal enclosures that don’t meet the requirements set out by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo could be forced to rehome some animal species if they are unable to upgrade facilities.
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