Edmonton Minute: Free Transit, Capital Budget, and City Block Sale
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- On Monday, at 9:30 am, there will be a City Council meeting. On the agenda are several Public Reports, including the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Implementation Plan Update, 2022 Anti-racism Grants Program Recommendations, and the proposed 2023-2026 Capital Budget. Some of the high-level items in the budget include $66 million for an eight-year tree planting program, $3.23 billion for the LRT expansion, Yellowhead Trail Freeway Conversion, and Blatchford Redevelopment, and $439 million for “environmental protection.” The details will come out during later debates. As this Council meeting will likely be a lengthy one, a continuation is scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30 am.
On Tuesday there will be three meetings. The Agenda Review Committee meets at 9:00 am, followed by a meeting of the Emergency Advisory Committee at 9:30 am. There will also be a City Council Public Hearing at 1:30 pm to address zoning amendments.
- On Thursday, at 9:00 am, there will be a Special Council Services Committee meeting to discuss a private report. On Friday, at 9:30 am, there will be a Utility Committee meeting to discuss proposed improvements to reporting by Epcor Water Services, a North Saskatchewan River Regional Plan Status Update, and an annual update on the Blatchford Renewable Energy Utility Business Plan.
Last Week In Edmonton:
An entire city block in the Oliver neighbourhood was listed for sale by the Province. The block is located at 9835-112 Street and is officially known as the Former Eric Cormack Site - home to the original Misericordia Hospital. The President of the Oliver Community League said he hopes that the buyer will go above and beyond the usual public consultation because the area is a “cornerstone of the community.” The listing does not state the asking price but the Province is accepting bids until November 25th. The Province says the site is costing taxpayers more than $70,000 a year for maintenance and security and that profits from the sale will go toward affordable housing.
- After some disastrous winters, Edmonton’s snow and ice removal plan got an update. Parks and Road Services will receive a $4.7 million boost to help clear roads faster and new approaches to snow management will apparently help the issues with windrows that were the source of so many complaints last year. The City will cease blading down residential areas to bare pavement and instead maintain a snow pack of about 5 cm which should prevent the windrows and water drainage issues.
- At last week’s Executive Committee meeting, Councillors directed staff to look into completely free transit for kids. Currently, kids under 12 can only ride transit for free when accompanied by a paid ticket holder. Councillors in favour of the idea said that this would lower the cost barriers for low-income families, noting several other cities in Canada where similar policies have been implemented. Councillor Rice was the lone opposition to the proposal, saying that safety concerns need to be resolved first, before Council implements this policy.
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