Edmonton Minute: Police Funding, Heritage River, and Park Planning Phase
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- This morning, at 9:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Community and Public Services Committee. The Committee will discuss extending the City’s childminding agreement with the YMCA. A successful pilot project saw the City partner with the YMCA to provide childcare at recreation facilities, which the City says helped to bolster attendance numbers at those facilities. Administration is recommending a five-year agreement - a $5.5 million expense. The Committee will also discuss two items of unfinished business from July meetings - the Current Status of City-Enabled and City-Provided Indigenous Business Supports, and the Community Safety and Well-Being Strategy Implementation Update.
On Tuesday, at 8:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Agenda Review Committee, followed by a meeting of the Urban Planning Committee at 9:30 am. At the latter meeting, the Committee will discuss several transit-related matters, including a report on transit service in new communities, and a report outlining a plan to establish a pilot program for bus service to help youth access recreation centres after school hours. The Committee will also decide whether or not to have the Mayor write a letter to both the Province's Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, and the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, supporting the designation of the North Saskatchewan River as a Heritage River under the Canadian Heritage Rivers System.
- On Wednesday, at 9:30 am, there will be an Executive Committee meeting. Turns out that the City collected too much money under its special tax for Alley Lighting Maintenance - $355,914 too much. But, they’re not going to give it directly back. The Committee is going to recommend that Council apply the money to the 2024 Alley Lighting Maintenance Special Taxes.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- Council decided to proceed with moving on to the planning phase of creating a National Urban Park in Edmonton’s River Valley. Our spokesperson requested to speak at the Council meeting, on behalf of more than 2,000 Edmontonians who have already signed our petition to Keep Ottawa Out Of Our River Valley. Our request was denied - Mayor Sohi thought that enough consultation had been done already. We would disagree entirely! Councillors Erin Rutherford, Aaron Paquette, Keren Tang, Ashley Salvador, Andrew Knack, Anne Stevenson, Michael Janz, Sarah Hamilton, Jo-Anne Wright, and Mayor Amarjeet Sohi voted to proceed with the planning phase, and Councillors Jennifer Rice, Tim Cartmell, and Karen Principe were opposed. The planning phase is thankfully non-binding, meaning we need to continue our push to have this plan stopped! So, if you haven't signed our petition yet, go do so now, and if you have, please forward it to your family and friends.
- After a lengthy debate, Council approved a new police funding formula for the next three years. The formula will be adjusted according to inflation and population growth, and is capped at 30% of the total of what other departments spend. Under the new formula, police are given more discretion when it comes to spending than other departments and do not have to disclose expenditures line by line. The formula doesn't allow for increases due to urban growth from annexation or capital projects that might increase policing demand, but it does allow police to return to Council and seek more funding if events - like a visit from the Pope - arise. Policing currently makes up the City’s largest expenditure, at 15% of the budget, followed by transit at 13%. Councillors Aaron Paquette, Jennifer Rice, Keren Tang, Andrew Knack, Tim Cartmell, Sarah Hamilton, Jo-Anne Wright, Karen Principe, and Mayor Amarjeet Sohi voted for the new formula. Councillors Michael Janz, Ashley Salvador, Anne Stevenson, and Erin Rutherford were opposed.
- The Canada School of Barbering gave kids 100 free haircuts and 200 backpacks full of school supplies as part of their Cuts For Kids program. The School, in partnership with Human Concern International, has been running the program for the last three years. The founder of the school said it was a blessing to be able to give back. Great work, folks!
Common Sense Edmonton doesn't accept any government funding and never will. We think you should be free to choose, for yourself, which organizations to support. If you're in a position to contribute financially, you can make a donation here.
If you're not in a position to donate, we understand, but if you appreciate our work, you can help by spreading our message. Please email this post to your friends, share it on Facebook or Twitter, and help make sure every Edmontonian knows what's really going on at City Hall.