Many people say it isn’t easy to do business in Edmonton these days. Many of these people are right.
Yesterday Councillors heard an update on our Energy Transition Strategy. Our original strategy, approved in 2015, no longer does the job. The proposed new approach is to keep us within a carbon budget consistent with a global 1.5-degree celsius warming limit. This warming limit was a key part of the Edmonton Declaration, approved in 2018 and endorsed by more than 4,500 cities around the world. However, with this great buy-in comes a sobering update on our own carbon emissions at home. It’s time to update our strategy - fast!
While in the throes of the 2019-2022 Operating Budget debate I knew something was amiss. We were staring at a 3.3% budget increase. Most of the new priorities identified by Council were not included within that and we had close to 130 public speakers; half telling us to spend more and the other half telling us to spend less. Memorable presentations from DATS users told us how insufficient current funding levels were for this critical service and dozens of business owners told us that the cumulative government tax burden was crushing them.
Are we a cruise ship when we should be a battleship? That is the question all public sectors administrations should be asking themselves. Regulatory sluggishness, or red tape as it is often called, is not just a problem for the business community. It is a problem for business, community groups, affordable housing providers, and anyone interested in progress.
Next week at City Council, I’ll be making a motion to explore what 5G implementation would mean for Edmonton. For many, that will mean very little, but the effect it could have on Edmonton’s growth, climate resiliency, and innovation is astronomical - it allows us to be ahead of the pace of change rather than simply chasing behind- here’s why.
The last couple of weeks in Edmonton have been engaging, challenging and rewarding. I feel energized coming off the last month - here’s the rundown.
Edmonton’s future is exciting and it’s time we start shouting it from the rooftops - it’s the future that always matters the most. Our pasts and presents contain lessons, important traditions and give us strength for certain, but our future is what gets us out of bed every morning. Our future should be our purpose.
Yesterday, the Mayor announced the City’s “Ask About Edmonton” campaign. The new advocacy campaign focuses on encouraging Edmontonians to ask candidates tough questions on big issues such as housing and climate change during the upcoming election.
With the throne speech coming up on Monday, we all need to be clear about the things that matter most. Yesterday, at Homeward Trust’s ROOPH Awards I spoke about the need to speak up and ask about affordable housing in our city and province, and asked the Provincial government to really step up with funding. With thousands still left in poverty, and no announcement from any of the Parties about new housing funding as of yet - we need a campaign like Ask About Edmonton and we need to be clear about the city’s needs.
Today, Executive Committee approved funding for The Public, an innovative food incubation hub that will enrich the downtown core by providing space for local kitchens, an opportunity for entrepreneurship, and resources for burgeoning food businesses.
With more changes coming to the Century Park station Park & Ride, I wanted to outline some of what’s happening and the options put forth as the stalls shift from City management to ProCura Real Estate Services; ParkProCura.
A redesign of our entire bus network is no easy task, and there’s no way around tough decisions and tensions that lay within those decisions. Our transit system has needed a redesign for a while now in order to provide more frequent and cost-efficient service. As we look at the map of Edmonton’s future it’s important to keep a few things in mind. We need to think about the individual Edmontonian, the city as a whole, and based on our current urban form we have to keep an open mind to all possibilities.
Budget season is officially over now, and many tough decisions have been made by Council during this process. As we finish up our budget discussions, I wanted to send out a quick update on the progress Council has made so far and how I’ve approached decision-making.
“The next decade will be a time in which the fiscal woes of federal and state governments will leave local and regional governments on their own, struggling to balance the need for innovation against the necessity of making tough choices… it will also be a decade in which local government will lead the way in developing creative solutions to extraordinary problems. There are a number of reasons to be optimistic about this coming decade of local government”
- Bob O’Neill, The Coming Decade of Local Government, Governing Magazine
The City of Edmonton has big dreams. We recently, with the help of thousands of citizens, created Vision 2050 which focuses on 4 big goals. Those goals are Regional Prosperity, Urban Places, A Healthy City, and Climate Resilience. And we are about to debate our next four-year Capital and Operating budgets, the outcomes of which should be in alignment with that vision and our goals. But today I want to talk about City-owned land and how we could use that land differently to aid in future budgets.
This was a big week for Edmonton, with a lot of changes and transformative initiatives being set out for our city and region.