Edmonton Minute: Water Ban, Arson Response, and a Successful Youth Program
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- This week’s meetings will take place virtually as a result of investigations into last week’s shooting at City Hall and the subsequent cleanup. The Mayor and some Councillors will be returning, with City staff being given the option to return to their desks if they feel comfortable doing so. City Hall remains closed to the public indefinitely with repairs and a security review needed before reopening.
This morning, the Community and Public Services Committee will meet at 9:30 am. The Committee will discuss resources and service levels for turf and horticulture programs. On Tuesday, there will be an Agenda Review Committee meeting at 8:30 am, followed by a meeting of the Urban Planning Committee. At the latter meeting, the Committee will discuss how to potentially commingle paratransit and on-demand transit services, as well as look into a plan for closed, car-free, and shared streets in Downtown.
- On Wednesday, at 9:30 am, there will be an Executive Committee meeting. On the agenda is a discussion about writing off 102 total property tax accounts, which collectively amount to $198,365. Mostly, the accounts belong to businesses that stopped operating and have no remaining assets. There is also the matter of Explore Edmonton’s tax debt in the amount of $1,193,776.65 - the Committee will explore tax forgiveness options for the organization. Finally, the Committee will consider changing the name of the neighbourhood of Oliver to Wîhkwêntôwin, Cree for "a circle of friends” and look into developing a plan for Edmonton to host Esports events.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- EPCOR issued a mandatory non-essential water ban for residents and businesses due to a pump equipment failure at the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant. The ban, which was in effect from Monday until Friday, urged people to limit water use to prevent further stress on the water supply. Businesses utilizing large volumes of non-essential water, such as laundromats, rinks, and car washes, were required to remain closed until the ban was lifted. EPCOR has been called before Council’s Utility Committee, and a representative will attend the meeting on March 4th.
- After a series of arsons related to an extortion scheme that resulted in over two dozen homes being burned in the Edmonton area, Mayor Sohi expressed disappointment with the federal government’s response. With 27 ongoing investigations by Edmonton police, the extortion scheme has not only caused property damage but also involved threats against families. The Mayor said the federal government is not taking the issue seriously enough, and noted that it impacts the ability to promote business in Edmonton.
- The City of Edmonton said its after-school youth pass and youth after-school program, launched in September 2022, has been a success, seeing a 20% increase in youth attendance at recreation centers. The after-school program, offered in partnership with 11 non-profit agencies, provides free access to programs at seven rec centers and four arenas on weekdays from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm, and the after-school youth pass, available for $20 a month or $2 per day, provides access to fitness centers, pools, and gyms for kids aged 8 to 17 on weekdays from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The initiative aims to engage youth in positive activities, foster community building, and keep them away from negative influences.
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