Edmonton Minute: Pedestrian Corridor, Transit Safety, and Residential Tax Presentation
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- On Tuesday, at 8:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Agenda Review Committee, followed by a City Council Public Hearing at 9:30 am. The Public Hearing addresses several minor zoning amendments. Of note is a Bylaw intended to close the traffic lane within 102 Avenue, between 103 and 99 Street, for a period of one year to pilot a pedestrian-friendly corridor. Council wants to utilize Downtown Vibrancy funding for “activation”. Administration does not support the bylaw, for a number of reasons, including surrounding land uses not being conducive to creating a vibrant pedestrian corridor, pedestrian crossing control challenges at intersections, and lack of interest in events and activations.
On Wednesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a City Council meeting. On the agenda are discussions about reporting requirements and uses for the Edmonton Screen Media Fund, as well as proposal recommendations for the Anti-Racism Community Safety Fund. On the list of Motions Pending is an item entitled “Multi-Year Dedicated Climate Levy” - there are no details or attachments about this item. Another item without details is a private report entitled “Exploration of Major Event Bid”. If the meeting does not wrap up on Wednesday, additional time is set aside on Friday at 9:30 am.
- The City Manager and City Auditor Performance Evaluation Committee will meet on Thursday at noon. A verbal “Consultant’s Update” is on the agenda, but the details are private.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- The City put an end to Boyle Street Community Services outreach workers handing out pipes and syringes in transit stations. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said more negatives than positives were coming out of the program, noting that there was nowhere for people receiving the supplies to use them. The program was creating negative and potentially unsafe interactions between transit workers, passengers, and those trying to consume drugs in transit spaces.
- Council decided not to move forward with a “mansion tax” after City staff advised it could create legal challenges. But, Councillors did discuss taxes and heard a presentation on lowering taxes for owners of rental apartment buildings or other multi-family homes. Edmonton has different policies for different types of residential properties - one category, “other residential” carries a tax rate 15% higher than a single-family home and is defined by having four or more separate dwellings on a single land title. Council is considering eliminating this category - which would reduce rental property owners’ taxes by almost 12% while raising taxes on other homeowners by about 1.6%.
- At a meeting of the Police Commission, plans were outlined to move beat officers out of areas already covered by the Healthy Streets Operations Centre and into other parts of the city that have a high number of emergency calls. Twelve beat officers currently working Downtown will now be split between Oliver, Cromdale, and the area of Jasper Avenue from 105 Street to 116 Street. This is intended to reduce officer overlap and create a visible presence in areas that need it most. EPS will be tracking any changes to calls, reporting back every six months, and looking for feedback from the community.
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