Edmonton Minute: Body Cameras, Catalytic Converters, and Encampment Complaints Rising
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 to deal with a few zoning amendments. On Tuesday, also at 9:30 am, there will be a Community and Public Services Committee meeting that will discuss options for a program that assists homeowners who are unable to clear their own snow due to age or physical disability. The Committee will also discuss the Community Park Amenities Program, and consider funding small-scale amenities downtown or even potentially tennis or basketball courts. The City is looking for funding partners to help shoulder the cost of such a program.
The Urban Planning Committee will meet on Wednesday at 9:30 am. The Committee will discuss the outcomes of the “pre-feasibility phase” of adding the North Saskatchewan River Valley to the National Urban Parks Program. This federal program aims to establish a network of national urban parks in urban areas across Canada. Administration is recommending that Council move on to the planning phase. We’ll have more to say about this in the coming weeks. The Committee will also discuss opportunities to increase the number of family-oriented housing in the Centre City.
- The Edmonton Police Service is running a six-month pilot program for body-worn cameras. Thirty-five downtown officers will be wearing the cameras starting today. EPS is hoping to test out the equipment ahead of a Provincial mandate to do so. Cameras won’t record all the time, only when the officer is interacting with the public. Footage will be uploaded to encrypted cloud storage at the end of each shift.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- New data was released showing that complaints about homeless encampments are up over 60% from the same time last year. Downtown, as well as the McCauley and Boyle Street neighbourhoods are among those with the highest number of complaints. The City says encampment teams don’t have the resources to deal with the growing problem, and that extreme weather is compounding the issue. The City has plenty of resources - they just allocate them poorly, as evidenced by the bike lane boondoggle and the time spent on banning single-use items. If you haven't yet signed our petition calling on Council to Stop The Bike Lane Boondoogle, you can do so here, and if you think the plastic ban is total nonsense, sign our petition here.
- Speaking of which, Edmontonians got their first full week of the City’s ridiculous single-use items ban, which went about as well as you’d expect. Charges for bags, as well as utensils, straws, pre-packaged condiments, and napkins only being available by request, has led to all kinds of interesting workarounds. One Edmontonian reported that they’d brought a plastic bucket with them to grab food from the Wendy’s drive-thru. Some claimed the bucket proved the ban is working to dissuade the usage of single-use items, but an employee from the restaurant pointed out that without bags, they're now forced to use a new (single-use) plastic sheet on a tray to hand the food over to each drive-thru customer. While amusing, it’s ridiculous that we even have to be talking about this. If you agree, sign our petition to Stop The Plastic Ban.
- The Edmonton Police Service and the Alberta Motor Association have teamed up with Kal Tire to offer catalytic converter engraving at cost until August 31st. As part of an effort to stop the thefts of catalytic converters, select Kal Tire locations will provide the engraving for $40 per vehicle, as well as give the owner a pair of decals to let would-be thieves know the converter is traceable. More than 3,500 catalytic converters were stolen in 2022. A similar engraving program in Winnipeg was able to cut thefts by 85%.
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