Edmonton Minute: Dismantling Encampments, Productive Relationships, and a Happy New Year
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- Happy New Year! This year, our resolution is to fight for a City government that champions common sense solutions and fiscal responsibility. Thank you for all the support you showed us in 2023. If you’d like to make a contribution to our continued production of these newsletters, please click here to make a donation. May the year ahead be marked by thoughtful spending, transparent governance, and a commitment to making Edmonton the best city to live, work, play, raise a family, and retire!
Tomorrow, at 8:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Agenda Review Committee. Other official business will resume on January 15th.
- Edmontonians are being urged to utilize the City's website, phone lines, and email services following the closure of the downtown service centre due to water damage. Discovered on Wednesday, the leak damaged the second and third floors of Edmonton Tower at 101 Street and 104 Avenue. The cause of the water leak remains undisclosed, and while the City says they hope to have in-person services back up and running this week, an exact timeline has not been provided.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- The City and Edmonton Police Service began to dismantle the homeless encampments considered "high risk" in downtown Edmonton. The first camp to be dismantled was located at 95 Street and 105 Avenue. Residents received a 48-hour notice to vacate, following a court-ordered injunction. Critics called the operation an attack on the city's most vulnerable and highlighted the need for adequate housing solutions. The City plans to close additional encampments this week.
- Mayor Amarjeet Sohi gave his year-end interview, and he thinks Council is doing “a reasonably good job” in areas within its jurisdiction, such as transit service, safety, police funding, and snow removal. Sohi highlighted achievements in improving core services, enhancing road conditions, increasing police officers, and upgrading bus services while keeping taxes affordable. (Yes, he really thinks taxes are affordable. We disagree!). However, Sohi acknowledged ongoing challenges with social issues like homelessness, drug poisoning, and housing crises, and said the City needs support from provincial and federal governments. The Mayor also addressed tensions with the Edmonton Police Service, but said relationships have improved. He also said his relationship with Premier Danielle Smith is “productive” and that there are open lines of communication.
- The City has introduced ice bikes at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park. The initiative, part of Edmonton’s winter-city strategy, cost $50,000 and features eight ice bikes (with one-, two-, and four-seat configurations) available for free public use on Friday evenings and Saturdays. These specially designed bikes utilize mini-skis in place of front wheels, enabling their use on the ice. The City says that the ice bikes provide an inclusive opportunity for individuals who may face challenges with traditional ice skating, thereby expanding winter recreational options for residents.
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