Edmonton Minute: Zoning Hearing, Bus Shelters, and LRT Testing Complete
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- There is a City Council Public Hearing this morning beginning at 9:30 am to deal with a revamp of the City’s zoning regulations. It looks to be a big one, so there will be additional sessions on October 17th and 18th, and a contingency date set for December 18th if necessary. For those interested, the new bylaw and its associated rationale span over 700 pages, making for substantial reading material. The City says the primary objective is to replace the current complex zoning regulations with a more “modern and adaptable” framework. Currently, there are 46 distinct zoning categories, and the new bylaw aims to streamline them into 24 categories. The new bylaw would also permit the construction of housing up to three stories in height throughout the city, including duplexes, row houses, and small apartments. More information is also available on a City website dedicated to the bylaw renewal project, and you can explore the impact it might have on your area using this zoning map.
There will be a short meeting of the Agenda Review Committee on Tuesday at 8:30 am. At the meeting, the Committee will finalize the agendas for the upcoming meetings of the Community and Public Services Committee, the Urban Planning Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Utility Committee.
- Edmonton Transit Service is looking to improve the design of bus shelters in order to curb vandalism. The latest numbers show that 1,600 glass panels in bus shelters were smashed in 2022, costing the City about $456,000. ETS is teaming up with the University of Alberta to find out what other designs for bus shelters may be workable. It’s not the first time the City has had to splash out cash for smashed bus shelter glass - in 2019 the City spent $201,574 to replace 592 bus shelter panels, and in 2017, they spent $156,000.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- Mayor Amarjeet Sohi proposed allocating over $5 million to enhance the City’s snow and ice clearing budget over the next three years, aiming to improve the safety of sidewalks and paths leading to transit stops. Recently, Council approved an $11 million increase over four years to the snow-removal and clearing budget - much less than the suggested $42 million increase. A report showed that, with that current allocation, clearing of bus stops, paths, and public facilities could rise from 13 to 22 days. Sohi’s motion would bring the service levels back down to a 13-day wait, and will be debated by Council on October 24th.
- Julie Kusiek was acclaimed as the Chair of the Edmonton Public School Board after the resignation of former chair Trisha Estabrooks. Kusiek has been Ward F trustee since 2021 and previously led her Community League Board. The Chair position was vacated in early October after Estabrooks announced she would seek the federal NDP nomination in the riding of Edmonton Centre. Our friends at the Alberta Parents’ Union have expressed concern that Estabrooks' focus on a federal nomination may essentially mean that both Ward H and Ward D are left without their elected representatives. Nathan Ip, of Ward H, already resigned to become an MLA, and his position has not been filled with a by-election. If Estabrooks had resigned from her trustee role, instead of just as Chair, the Education Act would have required a by-election to fill both vacancies.
- TransEd, the company responsible for Edmonton's long-delayed Valley Line LRT, announced the successful completion of recent train testing. Testing resumed in early September after cable replacements. The Valley Line, originally scheduled for a December 2020 opening, has faced multiple delays, including supply chain issues and cracks in 30 concrete piers. TransEd now anticipates opening the line in the fall.
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