Edmonton Minute: Budget Begins, Bull Riding, and Overnight Bus Routes
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- There will be a meeting of the Agenda Review Committee at 8:30 am on Tuesday. There are no other meetings scheduled, likely due to the marathon session of budget meetings coming up next week.
New bus routes will be running to help Edmonton’s vulnerable population. The overnight bus routes will run until March 31st to help homeless and vulnerable Edmontonians reach shelters. The north route runs from Northgate Transit Centre to downtown from 10:00 pm to 4:30 am, and the south route starts at Southgate Centre and heads downtown from 11:00 pm to 5:30 am. When there are three consecutive days with temperatures below -20 degrees, a third bus will be added.
- The Professional Bull Riders Canada National Finals take place this weekend. It’s the third time in history this event has taken place in Edmonton. All season long, riders have been competing in events to earn points toward the national standings, in an effort to finish as the highest-ranked cowboy. Up to $175,000 in prize money is available, including $50,000 for the champion. Doors open at 6:00 pm, and the action begins at 7:00 pm on both Friday and Saturday.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- Council had its first look at this year’s budget adjustments. The proposal would see taxes rise just over 7%, the largest increase in a decade. The City has placed much of the blame on higher-than-expected spending on police salary settlements and the new police budget funding formula, but in reality, that’s a scapegoat for having spent too much money on other things. Remember those $100 million bike lanes? Meanwhile, City-owned utility, Epcor, announced an $8 million increase to its annual dividend, so Council has a bit of extra cash to work with. Budget debates will take place next week, and we’ll be sending out detailed information shortly!
- With the onset of cold weather, there were fires at encampments that unfortunately led to the death of two people and left a third with serious burns. Consistent pressure on housing has led to an increase in homelessness these last few years and the City has struggled to keep up with shelter spaces. The City estimates there are about 2,800 people experiencing homelessness in Edmonton, including more than 750 who are unsheltered, meaning they frequently sleep outside. Those who sleep outside often heat their tents with open flames despite the dangers.
- WestJet announced plans to add a few new routes from Edmonton to the United States. Starting May 2nd, 2024, the airline will fly twice weekly between Edmonton and Nashville, and starting June 20th, 2024, between Edmonton and San Francisco five times weekly. Those routes are part of the summer schedule, while a daily flight between Edmonton and Atlanta will operate year-round beginning April 29th, 2024.
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