Edmonton Minute: Overtime Audit, Zoning Bylaws, and Snow Removal Slowdown
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- This morning, at 9:30 am, there will be a Public Hearing regarding a number of zoning amendments. Notable items include the preservation of the Magrath Mansion as a designated Municipal Historic Resource, and allowing a high-density residential building on Boyle Street. On Tuesday, at 8:30 am, there will be an Agenda Review Committee meeting, followed by an Audit Committee meeting at 9:30 am. At the latter meeting, the Employee Absences and Overtime Audit will be discussed. Notably, overtime expenses have increased by $17 million since 2018, and interviewed supervisors were unaware of the tools and data available to them to help them effectively manage overtime.
Also on Tuesday, there will be a Special City Auditor Recruitment Committee meeting at 1:30 pm. City Auditor Hoa Quach stepped down to spend more time with family, and the search for a replacement is ongoing. Finally, on Thursday, at 3:00 pm, there will be a Special Audit Selection Committee meeting. This meeting will largely be held in-camera as Council approves public members for the Committee.
- It’s Canada Day on Saturday and there will be a fireworks show at 11:00 pm. According to the City, the best viewing areas are Queen Elizabeth Park, River Valley Road trail, and Ezio Faraone Park by the west entrance to the High Level Bridge. If you’d rather watch from home, the show will be livestreamed on CBC Edmonton. In addition to fireworks, there will also be a concert and other family events at the Ice District from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- The City held a public hearing regarding a proposed new zoning bylaw that would allow for increased density all over the city. The existing bylaw is overly complicated and hasn’t been updated substantially since the 1960s. The proposed new bylaw would cut the number of land use zones from 46 to 24 and make development more simple. Seventy-six people signed up to speak to the bylaw, and overall, members of the public were critical while developers were in favour. Criticism was levied at the City for lack of consultation, and a poll indicated only 35% of Edmontonians have heard about the plan, even in passing. Residents can currently provide feedback until July 30th online. How do you think the City should be informing people about these sorts of things? What would get your attention?
- An update on snow removal was shared with the Community and Public Services Committee, and apparently, the City already knows that your snow clearing service will be worse next year. Due to a reduction in funding, the goal for clearing arterial roads, business districts, and bus routes will be 5 days instead of 4, for residential roads, alleys, and school zones the goal is 10 instead of 8, and for City sidewalks, parking lots, wheelchair ramps, bridges and stairs, the clearing goal is 6 days instead of 4. Bus stops and benches, pathways, and other public areas will see an increase from 13 days to 22! Obviously, accessibility is a serious concern here. Councillor Paquette said: “You can’t invent dollars where there aren’t any.” Well, we know where to find some money. Our guess is that most people don’t want to ride a bike in the winter, but they do want to walk on roadways that aren’t a safety hazard. So, how about we take some of that $100 million earmarked for bike lanes and clear some snow? If you agree, please sign our petition calling on Council to cancel the bike lane boondoggle.
- An Alberta Transportation spokesperson said there is still no timeline to fix the overpass bridge at Whitemud Drive and Anthony Henday Drive. An excavator remains lodged underneath the bridge after a semi-tractor trailer hauling the equipment collided with the bridge. A shoring tower will have to be constructed to support the bridge while the excavator is removed. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it does sound like taxpayer wallets may take a hit, and some of our money may be dislodged…
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