Edmonton Minute: Charter Changes, Housing Issues, and a Very Merry Christmas
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- It’s Christmas Day - Merry Christmas to you all! Thank you for your support this year - we hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with friends and family. We rarely ask for financial support in these newsletters, but if you’d like to contribute to help us keep producing these newsletters next year, you can click here to make a donation. We appreciate it, and we'll see you in 2024!
Changes are coming to Edmonton’s City Charter. The Alberta government plans to modify the Charters for Calgary and Edmonton to address housing affordability by reducing costs for developers and ensuring a consistent minimum standard for building construction across the province.
- There are plenty of events going on for New Year's Eve. At Churchill Square there will be skating, live music, cultural performances, food trucks, and firepits to keep people warm. There will also be two fireworks shows - the first set will go off at 9:00 pm. and the second will be at midnight. If you're planning on hitting the town, Edmonton Transit Service will be free from 6:00 pm onwards.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- An agreement has been reached regarding the clearing of eight high-risk homeless encampments. The deal, reached late Monday, allows the police to proceed with closure only if they meet ten conditions. A court-issued injunction temporarily halted a large-scale cleanup after lawyers for the Coalition of Justice and Human Rights intervened. A judge ruled that ten conditions had to be met for clearing the encampment, including ensuring sufficient shelter space, issuing notice to residents, and making considerations for cold weather.
- Some residents expressed unease as trailers intended for temporary shelters for homeless individuals appeared without prior notice in their neighbourhood. Councillor Aaron Paquette said he didn’t know anything about it until he saw the trailers go up in his own neighbourhood. City staff confirmed that temporary shelters are part of a Province-led initiative to provide 1,700 more shelter beds, and that there will be 10 sites in Edmonton for the trailers. Paquette has reached out to transit security, peace officers, and the Edmonton Police Service as the shelter in his area is being operated by the Elizabeth Fry Society and houses vulnerable women. Paquette said he wants to ensure the area is safe for them and everyone.
- This year, Edmonton's Food Bank and the Salvation Army experienced increased demand, particularly from first-time clients, as economic challenges, rising food prices, and a 16% increase in rental rates impacted Albertans. The food bank served a record 34,000 people monthly. Despite economic hardships, both organizations acknowledged the generosity of Albertans in 2023, emphasizing that even small donations can make a significant impact in providing meals for those in need.
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