Edmonton Minute: Rental Regulations, Arc Machines, and the Zoning Hearing Continues
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- The City Council Public Hearing regarding the zoning bylaw overhaul continues this morning at 9:30 am. Hundreds of people have already shared their opinions with Council, and the hearing concludes today. (See below for more information!)
On Tuesday, at 8:30 am, there will be an Agenda Review Committee meeting, followed by a meeting of City Council at 9:30 am. At the latter meeting, Council will discuss opportunities to enhance transit safety. Administration has proposed (amongst other things) to spend $2.5 million dollars annually to hire 24 “station attendants” to both assist people navigating the system and call in crimes or other hazards to authorities. There are also several Motions Pending, including one from Councillor Janz regarding the regulation of short-term rentals (see below for more info). If the meeting doesn’t wrap up on Tuesday, it will resume on Wednesday at 9:30 am.
- Edmonton has a variety of haunted houses to explore this weekend for those who enjoy Halloween fun. The Deadmonton Haunted House is celebrating its 10th anniversary and relocated to the Edmonton Sun building, and Prairie Gardens, just outside the city, is set to host a family-friendly pumpkin festival. Additionally, the Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse will feature DJ Headless Carrot and provide numerous activities for kids.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- During a multi-day public hearing, many residents voiced their opinions on the City's proposed zoning revamp. If approved, the new zoning bylaw would increase density across the city. Residents’ concerns included increased traffic, problems with parking, negative impacts on property values, and harm to the look and feel of neighbourhoods if infill does not keep enough greenspace. Some argued that more density wouldn’t help with affordability and would largely benefit developers. Others noted that sufficient public feedback hadn’t been gathered. Councilor Karen Principe proposed a six-month delay to address this concern, and to continue looking into heritage preservation, energy efficiency, aging in place, separation distances for supervised consumption sites, and green space. But, Principe’s motion was defeated with only Councillor Jennifer Rice supporting the delay. Today is the last day of the public hearing.
- The Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) expressed support for Councillor Michael Janz's proposed bylaw amendment to regulate short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. The AHLA says that online platforms like Airbnb have been taking long-term condos and apartments off the market, leading to a loss of affordable housing and higher rental rates. They maintain that hotels aren’t afraid of competition, yet they want that competition to come from a homeowner’s principal residence, rather than from people who have invested in additional properties to run as “ghost hotels” that they say are commercial enterprises being subsidized by taxpayers. Why not just let the market decide?
- The City announced that the Edmonton Transit System will replace older fare vending machines with Arc machines across the network. As of November 1st, transit riders will no longer be able to purchase ETS paper tickets or passes from older machines. Instead, they can buy single-use Arc tickets and reloadable Arc cards from the new machines, which accept payment by cash, debit, or credit cards. Fare products previously available at the older machines will still be obtainable at ETS sales outlets and online, and ETS paper ticket validators will remain in transit spaces.
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