Edmonton Minute: City Deficit, Crime Crackdown, and Boyle Street Closure
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- This morning, there will be a meeting of the Community and Public Services Committee at 9:30 am. The Committee will consider two reports, the License Agreement with Edmonton Minor Hockey Season 2023-2024, and the Early Learning and Care Committee Recommendations. On Tuesday, at 8:30 am, there will be an Agenda Review Committee meeting, followed by a meeting of the Urban Planning Committee at 9:30 am. At the latter meeting, the Committee will consider what to do with roughly 275 surface parking lots in Centre City and The Quarters, most operating illegally.
On Wednesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Executive Committee. The Committee will consider designating several properties as Municipal Historic Resources, including St. Francis of Assisi Church and the Revillon Building. The Committee will also consider when to open the Metro Line to Blatchford extension, and hear an update on the Rapid Housing Initiative - Round 3 Projects.
- The Audit Committee will meet on Friday at 9:30 am. The Committee will discuss several reports, including a Capital Asset Management Audit, an IT Asset Management Audit, and the Valley Line LRT P3 and Delivery Audit. Shockingly, despite endless delays, the latter report says the City anticipates the entire project “will come in under the original capital construction budget.”
Last Week In Edmonton:
- Council held a marathon in-camera session for almost 12 hours to discuss a projected year-end deficit of $73.8 million. The deficit amounts to 2.6% of the overall tax-supported budget, meaning the City will need to dip into its reserves. The City blamed external factors, citing salary settlements, decline in transit revenue, and lower ATCO franchise fees as reasons for the deficit. Tax increases were also mused about - according to the City, they simply can’t cut enough from the budget to both balance the books and offer services to Edmontonians. In the end, the City said its planning to curb and watch “discretionary spending on items including consulting, contracting, and travel”. How is this something they’re not already doing?!
- Boyle Street Community Services announced it would be ceasing operations at its current location at the end of September, when their lease expires. Boyle Street will look to continue delivering services with community partners and other organizations, and said that it didn’t come as a surprise that their lease would not be renewed. The property Boyle Street currently rents for $1 a month is owned by the Oilers Entertainment Group. Confidentiality considerations prevented either side from disclosing much more information, but Boyle Street said that to characterize the move as an eviction would be inaccurate. Boyle Street had planned to be in their own facility at 101 Street and 107A Avenue, but issues with permits have delayed that move.
- After the Province announced new targeted prosecution units and stricter bail protocols, Edmonton’s Chief of Police, Dale McFee, said that City police will be cracking down on crime. “Enough is enough”, said McFee, who noted that there is plenty of room in prisons for repeat offenders. Edmontonians have had to tolerate too much violence and bad behaviour, he said, leading to the loss of enjoyment of their own property, and even the loss of their livelihoods.
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