Edmonton Minute: Day Shelters, Zoning Renewal, and Finding Budget Efficiencies
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- On account of the holiday, there will only be one meeting at City Hall this week. The Agenda Review Committee will meet at 8:30 am on Tuesday.
The City is seeking feedback on its zoning bylaws until May 31st. This is the final public engagement before the new draft bylaws and rezoning map are presented to Council in October. Click here to read all about the proposal and give the City your thoughts. There will also be a virtual public info session on Wednesday from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm - registration for the session closes on Tuesday at noon. Click here to register.
- There are 19 pop-up, off-leash dog parks opening from mid-May to mid-November. The parks will be equipped with doggie doo-doo bag dispensers, garbage cans, and signage that outlines the rules. The City will be collecting feedback about the parks for pups via an online survey or paper questionnaires available at the park. Responses will help determine where permanent, fenced dog parks will be placed.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- Poor air quality as a result of the wildfires triggered an extreme weather response in Edmonton. The response is activated when there are three consecutive days of an Air Quality Health Index score of seven or higher. City facilities opened to anyone needing a break from the smoke and N95 masks were given to social agency partners for the general public as required. The city also began installing water bottle-filling stations to improve access to clean, safe drinking water.
- Edmonton’s City Manager, having been tasked by Council with finding $60 million in savings for the 2023-2026 budget, announced that he managed to find $15 million in efficiencies by simply recalculating some line items in the budget. Planned savings in enforcement around homeless encampments ($3.7 million) and fuels and utilities ($1.8 million) were noted, as well as higher-than-expected revenues. Allegedly, this money will not be reallocated elsewhere but only time will tell. Is massively overestimating how much everything will cost and then slightly revising down your cost estimates really "saving" money?
- After two social services agencies announced a need to scale back operations as a result of a lack of funding, the City announced a little over $4 million to keep day shelter spaces open. Council unanimously agreed to give Bissell Centre $2.29 million and Boyle Street Service Society $1.79 million. The shelter spaces are used for people to shower, eat, do laundry, and connect with social workers and nurses. Council also passed a motion to lobby the Province for more funding for day shelter support and bridge housing spaces.
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