Edmonton Minute: LRT Opening, Zoning Approved, and Proposed Tax Increases
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- The Can’t Stop Alberta Tour is coming to Edmonton on Wednesday. The Common Sense Edmonton team will be joining the Alberta Institute for a fun evening at the Transit Smokehouse. We’ll be discussing some important, topical issues in provincial and municipal politics. You can RSVP by clicking here. Hope to see you there!
There are several meetings at City Hall this week. Today, at 9:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Community and Public Services Committee. The Committee will receive a report regarding attracting major events to the City - the report indicates that in order to “continue to attract international and key national events, increased funding at the municipal level is required in order to leverage funding from other orders of government and the corporate sector”. Also up for discussion are ways to reduce drug poisonings in the city, including the creation of a steering committee and developing a local substance use strategy. The Urban Planning Committee will meet at 9:30 am on Tuesday. The Committee will discuss the Downtown Community Revitalization Levy, Office Tower Conversions, Arterial Road Assessments, and finally a review of real time traffic monitoring.
- On Wednesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Executive Committee. On the agenda is a discussion about a Dedicated Climate Fund. According to a Council Report, in order “to advance Energy Transition Strategy initiatives under the City’s control that will contribute towards becoming a net-zero emissions community by 2050, funding of $8.27 billion is required between 2024 and 2050 (the next 27 years).” A total tax increase of 6.7% over 10 years would be required to achieve this. The Utility Committee will meet on Friday at 9:30 am. The Committee will receive several reports, including one regarding the Waste Services Fall 2023 Supplemental Capital Budget Adjustment.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- After a marathon public hearing which featured hundreds of speakers both for and against the proposal, Edmonton’s rezoning bylaw was passed by City Council. Only Councillors Jennifer Rice and Karen Principe were opposed. The bylaw will come into effect January 1st, 2024. The number of zones in the city will be cut from 46 to 24, and new mixed-use zones will be added so that busy areas like Whyte Avenue can have a combination of residential, business, and commercial uses on the same lot. One major change will be the ability to build three-storey apartment buildings, townhouses, rowhouses, or duplexes with up to eight units in any residential area city-wide.
- The City released its draft 2024 budget, and Council is planning the highest tax increase since 2014. The draft budget showed that the previously planned tax increase of almost 5% will not be enough to cover all of Council’s spending, necessitating an additional increase of more than 2%. Police salary settlements and an overall increase to the Edmonton Police Service budget are contributing to the rise in spending, as well as an $89 million increase to the proposed capital budget for projects in dire need of repairs, plus some affordable housing. The total tax hit to Edmontonians, if the budget is approved as proposed, is 7.09%. Council will debate the draft in late November before it becomes final.
- The opening date for the Valley Line LRT was finally announced. The beleaguered southeast transit line is scheduled to open on Saturday, November 4th - almost three years behind schedule. The list of delays encountered en route to the conclusion of the $1.8 billion project includes finding a concrete slab beneath a platform in the North Saskatchewan River, cracks in concrete piers, collisions with vehicles, and faulty signalling cables. Looks like it’s finally going to happen! Maybe. Probably? We’ll see…
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