Edmonton Minute: European Trip, Tree Bylaw, and School Resource Officers
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- This morning, at 9:30 am, there will be a Community and Public Services Committee meeting. The Committee will discuss potential bylaw amendments for indoor shisha consumption. A report will be presented that indicates that the majority of stakeholders were not supportive of the City playing a direct role in the operations of drug checking services, but other ways the City can deal with drug poisoning will be discussed. The Committee will also hear a report about snow and ice removal. Guess what? The City has already decided that your snow clearing service will be worse this year than last!
On Tuesday, at 8:30 am, there will be an Agenda Review Committee meeting, followed by an Urban Planning Committee at 9:30 am. At the latter meeting, the Committee will discuss construction site safety. A report indicates that approximately 94% of construction projects were completed without complaints and, where complaints do occur, they are largely regarding noise or garbage rather than safety. The Committee will also review a final update on the Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative before a draft of the new zoning documents is presented at an October 16th public hearing.
- The Executive Committee will meet on Friday at 9:30 am. The Committee will discuss the 2022 audited reports and financial statements for Edmonton’s 13 Business Improvement Area associations, as well as the Downtown District Energy Initiative.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- Mayor Amarjeet Sohi went on a 10-day trip to Europe in order to promote the city’s technology and innovation sectors. Sohi and his Chief of Staff were in England to attend London EdTech Week and AI Summit. He also gave a speech in Berlin on Edmonton’s anti-racism and reconciliation efforts at the Cities on the Frontlines Conference by Strong Cities Network, before heading to Frankfurt to try and drum up investment. The total cost of the trip is estimated to be $12,000, with funds coming from the Mayor’s travel budget, but full costs are expected to be disclosed upon his return. This is Sohi’s third overseas trip in a little over a year.
- The School Resource Officer (SRO) program was initially suspended in 2020 due to concerns about having police officers in schools, but a recent report showed that half of all student respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their SRO made them feel safer at school, and 34.6% neither agreed nor disagreed. Only 16.1% of students disagreed. People from a variety of backgrounds criticized the cancellation of the program. However, the Edmonton Public School Board says they need to talk to more people before they reinstate it. Guess they need to get the “right” opinions before they can justify making the decision they’ve already decided is the correct one.
- Council voted 6-6, in a tie that killed the motion, not to proceed with creating a draft bylaw for protecting trees on private property during development. Some Councillors worried that not protecting trees makes it look like the City is obsessed with density at any cost. But, Councillor Anne Stevenson, who opposed the motion, noted that the City is already on track with its tree planting goals and that adding this bylaw would have created more needless red tape.
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