Edmonton Minute: COVID Updates, Refund Edmontonians, and Ongoing Transit Security Concerns
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
The Alberta government may or may not move to Step 3 of their reopening plan today. The Province has been under the "300 hospitalizations" threshold required for Step 3 for some time (actually since before we moved to Step 2), but a recent uptick in cases might see the government delay their decision again. Our guess is that we're in for another partial move, to something like Step 2.5, rather than Step 3. If you haven't signed our petition to Reopen Edmonton, you can do so here.
- City Council is very busy this week, starting with an Executive Committee meeting at 9:30 am today to discuss a 19-item agenda, including a report on a potential business fee waiver for 2021. On Tuesday there will be an Agenda Review Committee meeting at 9:00 am, followed by a 9:30 am meeting of the Urban Planning Committee to discuss Developer Sponsored Social Housing as well as a pathway to return to normal public transit operations. On Wednesday at 9:30 am the Community and Public Services Committee will meet to discuss Transit Fines, Peace Officer Statistics for 2020, and the Castle Downs YMCA Funding Agreement.
- On Thursday at 9:30 am the Urban Planning Committee is having a non-regular meeting to discuss appointments to the boards they oversee, followed by a non-regular Executive Committee meeting at 1:30 pm for the same purpose. Finally, on Friday at 9:30 am we have a potential continuation of the Monday Executive Committee meeting, followed at 1:30 pm by a potential continuation of the Community and Public Services Committee meeting from Wednesday, should either of them not be completed on the first day.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- City Staff were very pleased to announce that the City finished with a $40 million surplus in their 2020 operating budget. Unfortunately, straight after finishing congratulating themselves on such a great job finding budget savings, City Staff immediately began finding ways to spend money in 2021. We're not really sure how you can count it as "savings" if you immediately spend it on something else. If a family "saved" $500 by eating out less, but then spent that $500 on a vacation, they haven't really saved anything, have they? Instead of spending all their "savings", we think the City should give the money back to Edmontonians via a tax rebate. If you agree, you should sign our petition to Refund Edmontonians, here.
- Dozens of citizens turned out for a public hearing on a planned crematorium in a small industrial park bordering some houses in the Prince Rupert neighbourhood that we told you about last week. After some debate about the potential impact to residents of the facility, and the impact or lack thereof of existing facilities elsewhere in the City, Council voted unanimously against the rezoning application.
- Finally, the City has doubled security measures at 15 transit stations due to increased safety concerns from residents. The City speculates that because ridership is only at 45% of what it normally would be, there are fewer people keeping eyes out at these locations and this is negatively affecting the transit stations. Interestingly, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi also announced a doubling of transit police presence of the Calgary C-Train system this week.
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