Edmonton Minute: Park Planning, Overpass Funding, and a Dire Transit Situation

Edmonton Minute: Park Planning, Overpass Funding, and a Dire Transit Situation


Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics


This Week In Edmonton:

  • It looks like Council is on summer vacation as there are no Council or Committee meetings this week. Agenda Review Committee meetings resume on August 8th, but more substantive meetings don’t take place until the week of August 21st.

  • K-Days starts on Friday! In addition to the usual rides and games, the “Monster” -  the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course - will make its Canadian debut. The course is 300 metres long and has 40 obstacles and a five-and-a-half storey slide. If music is more your style, nightly concerts are included with gate admission and feature performers like Three Days Grace, Tegan and Sara, and the James Barker Band. K-Days runs until July 30th and tickets are available online.

  • The Province plans to explore options for connecting downtown with the airport. In a mandate letter from Premier Danielle Smith, the Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors, Devin Dreeshen, was tasked with looking into the downtown-to-airport commuter rail service, as well as improving major highways and roadways in the greater Edmonton area, including Anthony Henday Drive.


Last Week In Edmonton:

  • After a series of violent incidents, Edmonton police said that their resources are strained, and residents should be “extremely cautious” on the transit system and on the Downtown streets. At a press conference, an Edmonton homicide detective warned that “you can literally end up with a knife in your chest”. Normally, police departments reassure their citizens - this is unprecedented. Even players, coaches, and families in town for the Football Canada Cup have decided against taking the LRT, choosing instead to rent school buses to get around. The situation in Edmonton is out of control and Council needs to do something. Immediately. We’ve been calling on the City to "Declare A Transit Safety Emergency" for some time now - if you agree that this needs to become a priority, please sign our petition.

  • The federal government provided a $30.8 million funding boost for the 50 Street overpass project. The $180 million project is intended to widen the road, separate trains from traffic, and reduce congestion by adding an overpass to the existing railway crossing. Ottawa had initially invested $39.8 million in the project in 2018, with a projected opening date of sometime this year. However, as with many projects the City undertakes, completion was delayed and the costs ballooned. The original price tag was set at $87.5 million, but grew to $145.3 million by late 2021, and then increased again to $179.6 million by April 2022. Now, the project is expected to be completed by 2027. The new federal funding replaces the added cash the City agreed to spend last year to cover the costs - let’s hope Council doesn’t see this as a lotto win. It's not a windfall, folks - it's an opportunity to save some money!

  • The Urban Planning Committee recommended moving to the planning phase of turning the River Valley into a National Urban Park. Council still needs to approve the decision, and the planning phase is non-binding. There is only one other National Urban Park in Canada (Rouge National Park in the Greater Toronto Area), meaning there are a lot of unknowns about the program and its structure. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi is on board with the idea of the project, but said that there are certain non-negotiables. He maintained that there would be no transfer of lands to Ottawa and that Edmontonians must retain ownership and control of the area. But that's not how National Parks work...




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