Edmonton Minute: Budget Debate, Emergency Room, and Electric Bus Issues

Edmonton Minute: Budget Debate, Emergency Room, and Electric Bus Issues


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


This Week In Edmonton:

  • The budget debate continues. There will be meetings of City Council on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, beginning at 9:30 am each day, to address the Fall 2023 budget adjustments. The City has proposed a 7.09% tax increase this year, but it’s not too late to call on your Councillor to find some savings! Send them an email and let them know how a tax increase will impact your family.

  • There will be a meeting of the Agenda Review Committee on Tuesday at 8:30 am. There is also an Audit Committee meeting on Thursday at 9:30 am. The Audit Committee will discuss the Civic Agencies Governance Audit, the City's response to 311 requests, and the Fraud and Misconduct Hotline Program Activity Report.

  • The Edmonton Christmas Market is back for another year. The market, at Fort Edmonton Park, features lots of activities, like horse-pulled sleigh rides and trolley rides, visits with Santa, live performances, and of course, favourite foods from Woodshed burgers, Kin-D Thai, Cinnamon Princess Cinnamon Buns, and more. There also will be a number of vendors selling unique Christmas gifts in the Market Hall. Pre-sale tickets are available online and are $16.95 per adult ($19.95 at the door), with discounts for kids.


Last Week In Edmonton:

  • It was revealed that most of the City’s fleet of 60 electric buses are not fit to be on the roads. The buses cost around $1 million each - much more than regular buses - but were supposed to be about 30% less expensive to service and maintain. But, three years after purchase, there are some serious problems. The range of the electric buses is shorter than promised by the California manufacturer, a problem exacerbated by Edmonton's cold winters. The City has had to spend more than $200,000 on battery blankets to keep them warm. There are also issues with the software that controls the vehicles, and more than half of the fleet needs replacement parts. But wait, there’s more! The manufacturer of the buses filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while owing the City USD $8 million. Shocking… but not really.

  • The new emergency room at the Misericordia Community Hospital has opened. The $85 million project can provide care to three times as many patients as its original capacity. With 64 care spaces, it aims to handle 60,000 visits annually. The expanded space includes a focus on mental health, with well-lit areas for families to gather. Despite the excitement surrounding the new facility, doctors say larger-scale issues like staffing shortages are still a concern.

  • The Province announced an expansion of the Alberta Sheriffs' Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit - there will be four more investigators hired in Edmonton. The SCAN unit collaborates with law enforcement agencies like the Calgary Police Service and RCMP to address illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, at problem properties. The team in Edmonton has investigated nearly 2,088 properties since 2019, 18 of which resulted in community safety orders being issued against property owners. The expansion, funded by the provincial government's 2023 budget, reflects the commitment to doubling the size of the SCAN unit and addressing community safety concerns through targeted investigations.




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