Edmonton Minute: Encampment Strategy, Police Commission, and Bike Lane Frustration

Edmonton Minute: Encampment Strategy, Police Commission, and Bike Lane Frustration

 

Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics

 

This Week In Edmonton:

  • There will be a City Council meeting this morning at 9:30 am. Council will hear an update on plans to support Edmontonians experiencing homelessness. Also on the agenda is an update to the Debt Management Fiscal Policy that would see the City’s debt limit be based on the maximum proposed debt servicing limit of 26% of City revenues.

  • On Tuesday, at 9:00 am, there will be an Agenda Review Committee meeting, followed by a City Council Public Hearing at 1:30 pm to discuss several zoning bylaws. Should Monday's Council meeting not conclude on time, it will continue at 9:30 am on Wednesday. A Non-Regular City Council meeting will also take place on Wednesday at 1:30 pm to deal with candidate interviews and appointments for the Edmonton Police Commission.

  • On Friday, at 9:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Audit Committee. On the agenda are several reports, including a City Financial Condition Update report and a City Governance of Fort Edmonton Park audit. Finally, there will be a Special City Council meeting on Friday at 1:30 pm, held entirely in-camera, to discuss the upcoming budget.

 

Last Week In Edmonton:

  • The Community and Public Services Committee heard a report on homeless encampmentsThe City is reevaluating its approach to encampments as Edmontonians are not happy with the current strategy. Calls to 311 regarding complaints about encampments have increased from 2,171 in 2018 to almost 7,000 this year so far, and the number of people experiencing homelessness has doubled since the start of the pandemic.

  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi took aim at the Edmonton Police Commission, saying it’s not providing the oversight and scrutiny that residents expect. He called for a review of the Commission, and said he’d like to see it revisited as part of the Alberta government’s Police Act review. Policing is the City’s largest expense, and Mayor Sohi expressed concern that volunteers from the community are responsible for that kind of spending. He is hoping the Commission will do a line-by-line analysis of the policing budget. We’re all for a little more scrutiny when it comes to spending, though we aren’t convinced Council could do a better job.

  • Residents who live along the Victoria Promenade on the north side of the river valley have expressed their frustration with a bike lane pilot project. They claim public consultation was lacking and that the bike lane has taken away street parking. Since many of the homes in the area do not have visitor parking spots, the lack of street parking is making it inconvenient for homecare, food delivery services, and emergency vehicles. A decision has not been made regarding the permanence of the bike lane, but there will be another public engagement session next week and an online survey is open until October 23rd.

 

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