Edmonton Minute: Strike Averted, Hydrogen Halt, and Transit Incidents Decline

Edmonton Minute: Strike Averted, Hydrogen Halt, and Transit Incidents Decline


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


This Week In Edmonton:

  • City Hall remains closed to the public, so this week’s meetings will again take place virtually. This morning, at 9:30 am, the Community and Public Services Committee will meet. On the agenda is a discussion about how to improve support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, address hate incidents, and foster inclusive public spaces. The estimated ongoing budget for these initiatives ranges from $170,000 to $410,000, with additional one-time expenses of up to $75,000 to cover consultant fees, report creation, volunteer honorariums, and related expenses. The Committee will also hear a report on medical services provided by the Edmonton Fire Rescue Service​​ (EFRS). The report notes 69% of total EFRS calls are medical responses. Data from Alberta Health Services shows that about 30% of the medical incidents EFRS handles are not life-threatening or time-critical, while about 15% are related to overdoses and drug use.

  • Tuesday will begin with a meeting of the Agenda Review Committee at 8:30 am, followed by a meeting of the Urban Planning Committee at 9:30 am. At the latter meeting, the Committee will receive a number of reports. A report on the Bus Fleet Replacement notes that the Edmonton Transit Service has historically replaced an average of 48 conventional buses annually over the past 17 years. The current fleet replacement plan outlines the need to replace 322 buses from 2023 to 2026, costing $257.6 million. However, due to financial constraints, only 22 buses are funded for replacement during this period, leaving a gap of $240 million and a total of 300 buses without funding for renewal. Another report suggests that enhanced lighting on bike routes would support safety and encourage bicycle use. An estimated budget of between $20 million and $65 million is required for these recommended upgrades. Is this on top of the $100 million to build them in the first place?!?!

  • On Wednesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Executive Committee. On the agenda is a loan request from the Fort Edmonton Management Company for $1.5 million to cover the repayment of Canada Emergency Wage Subsidies received in 2020, 2021, and 2022, as they were deemed ineligible for these subsidies by the Canada Revenue Agency. The Committee will also look to designate the Coates Residence as a Municipal Historic Resource, and discuss a report outlining options for a property taxes freeze for new residential construction or office conversions in downtown Edmonton. On Friday, at 9:30 am, the Special City Auditor Recruitment Committee will meet to discuss the recruitment of a full-time City Auditor. Later in the day, at 1:30 pm, the Audit Committee will meet.


Last Week In Edmonton:

  • Civic Service Union 52, which represents thousands of City workers, has reached a tentative agreement with the City. The union had originally issued a strike notice and was planning to walk off the job last week, but the proposed deal is aimed at preventing the work stoppage. The deal includes a $1,000 lump sum payment for 2021 and incremental wage increases for the following years. Additionally, the deal addresses non-monetary issues such as accommodating different faith holidays and providing representation for fitness instructors and Commonwealth Stadium employees. Union members still need to vote on the agreement.

  • The City has decided to halt the construction of a hydrogen fuelling station in the south end due to a lack of demand. This decision follows a budget adjustment in fall 2023 where funding for 40 hydrogen fuel-cell buses was reduced to 20 diesel buses, eliminating the need for the fuelling station. While the project is paused, the City said that hydrogen technology remains part of its future sustainability plans, and they intend to revisit the project when there is a more consistent demand for hydrogen fuel. Edmonton participated in a pilot program for hydrogen-electric buses in 2022, testing one bus in cold climates with positive initial results - that bus is still in service. Unlike the electric buses…

  • A recent report noted that incidents of nuisance, disorder, and vandalism are declining on Edmonton transit as ridership increases. Efforts to improve safety perceptions continue through projects like enhanced cleaning, door replacements, and adding security cameras. Ridership was up by 27% in 2023 compared to 2022, but only 63% of people reported feeling safe for the duration of their trip. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi expressed optimism about the progress made, but acknowledged the need for further improvements to enhance safety perceptions among transit users.




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  • Common Sense Edmonton
    published this page in News 2024-03-17 21:50:38 -0600