Edmonton Minute: Noise Bylaw, Core Priorities, and Residential Tax Discrepancies
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- There will be a Community and Public Services Committee meeting today at 9:30 am. The Committee will discuss renewing the Edmonton Elks licensing agreement for Commonwealth Stadium, as well as last summer’s pilot program which allowed alcohol to be consumed in some City parks. On Tuesday, there is an Urban Planning Committee meeting at 9:30 am - the agenda looks pretty lean.
On Wednesday, at 9:30 am, there will be an Executive Committee meeting. The Committee is being asked to approve an increase in the value of the pipeline agreement with Trans Mountain Pipelines for pipeline protection work to accommodate the Valley Line West LRT project. The costs have increased from $1.5 million to $2.1 million because of “site conditions, additional material and contractor design”, although the increase will be paid for through reallocation of previously approved funding, not through new funding. The Committee will also discuss affordable housing and the replacement of the MacKinnon Ravine Pedestrian Bridge.
- Finally, on Friday, there are two committee meetings scheduled. The Council Services Committee will meet at 9:30 am to discuss the Common Travel Plan, which governs funding for Councillors travelling on City business. At 1:30 pm, there will be a meeting of the Code of Conduct Sub-Committee. On the agenda is a report regarding potential changes to the Council Code of Conduct bylaw.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- Council voted to eliminate the tax discrepancy between apartments and other forms of residential housing. As a result, apartment owners will receive an 11.7% tax break over five years. Other homeowners will pick up the slack with an increase of roughly 1.6% over those five years. City Administration argued that the premium charged to rental buildings was creating a disincentive to build rental housing. Some Councillors wanted to delay the vote until a comparison with other municipalities could be assessed. Ultimately, Council was split 7-6. Councillors Keren Tang, Ashley Salvador, Andrew Knack, Anne Stevenson, Tim Cartmell, Sarah Hamilton, and Jo-Anne Wright voted for the change while Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and Councillors Jennifer Rice, Michael Janz, Erin Rutherford, Aaron Paquette, and Karen Principe were opposed.
- In a unanimous decision, City Council voted to increase fines for excessive vehicle noise from $250 to $1,000, with fines of $2,000 for repeat offenders. Councillor Michael Janz led the charge on this issue, originally calling for fines as high as $10,000. It should be noted that, by comparison, the fine for hitting a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk is $810. The new penalties are effective immediately.
- Council has finally decided to evaluate its core priorities! As a result of needing to find efficiencies in the budget over the next four years, Council will be allocating funding to priority areas such as housing, climate change, public transit, and core services. What those core services are will be defined based on three main categories: whether it is required by legislation, if it is practically necessary, and if it is a Council priority. The City Manager reminded Councillors that just because something isn’t deemed a core priority, it doesn’t mean it’s not important. But, if something isn’t legally required, practically necessary, or a priority, why on earth should we be paying for it?
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