This week at City Council there was a variety of topics ranging from zoning to LRT and even parental leave for current and future councillors. In today's blog we highlight 3 items.
Edmonton needs to stay committed to building LRT. Building permanent, efficient transportation is what great cities do. It creates the dense, vibrant and livable city which I campaigned to help build. In addition to LRT expansion, we can create some complimentary BRT to help improve transit service and reduce congestion. The question is where and why one type of service serves different areas of our city differently.
“Welcome to City Council,” my new colleague Councillor Cartmell said as he grappled, pained look and all, with the decision on the Holyrood Transit Oriented Development (TOD) application. It was a tough and thoughtful decision for everyone. No slam dunks on either side I'd guess.
City Council unanimously approved playground zone speed limits based on good research. 50% of injuries involving children and cars occur in these kinds of spaces on our streets.
Throughout my first term on Council, I have heard from a number of constituents about their concerns and frustrations with the Capital Line LRT, specifically relating to the difficulties experienced crossing the intersections along 111 Street. Yesterday, a report was released that detailed the anticipated performance of the various intersections along the SE portion of the Valley Line LRT and to say this information was pleasing would be false.
Good decisions are rooted in good policy and good policy is built on a foundation of meaningful public engagement. In my first term on council nothing has received more of my attention than my focus on improving public engagement in Ward 10.
As some of you may already know, Edmonton’s bus routes will be going through city-wide changes next week. After many months of research and route studies, the City will be paring back certain bus routes and reallocating “bus hours” from low ridership routes to high ridership ones.
I ran for City Council because I wanted to be a part of a team committed to building a great city. Because of this, I was a big supporter of an ambitious 2015-2018 Capital Budget. However, it is no secret that the City has seen its fair share of construction challenges. In particular, there have been concerns over a perceived lack of oversight and mismanagement of some of our major capital projects, in particular, the Walterdale Bridge, Metro Line, and 102nd Avenue bridge. There are also local examples too; drainage project gone awry in Greenfield lead to repeated attempts to fix a road properly. This is not okay.
We have been hit by a ‘perfect storm’ this year for dandelions. This is due to a combination of stretched City resources trying to cover a rapidly growing city with more developed land, ample sunshine, and generous rain, which is doubly potent as it helps dandelion growth and hinders mowing. As a result, dandelions have grown at a rate of ½ inch per day versus the standard of ⅛ inch per day.
Historic and Huge
Yesterday Council unanimously approved the Century Park redevelopment plans that would see the now largely unused site and parking lot transformed into a vibrant, dense, urban village. The President of Ermineskin Community League called the plan "historic and huge". After years of hard work on the Century Park file I am proud of the community league, the plan and the opportunities it will provide our city and residents.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a passionate backer of the Petrolia strip mall in Greenfield. In 2012, before I earned my spot on council, I started the Fix Petrolia Mall Committee with some neighbours. I remain just as committed today as I was then to ensuring the mall’s growth into a vibrant community hub. While development hasn’t always been as quick as I would have hoped, we have come a long way since 2012 and that is cause for celebration.
I was so sick I couldn’t go to school the next day. How could Steve Smith have done that? How did Fuhr not see it in time to lift his pad? I laid home in my bed. I was 14 years old. I was devastated. I played the goal over and over in my head. It was a terrible day for me and for the city I so badly wanted to live in.
I grew up in Drayton Valley, a smallish oilfield town, with my eyes and my future aimed squarely at Edmonton. My first glimpse of love for the city was as a fan of their football team. I still remember the great CBC montages of the five Eskimo Grey Cups spanning the late 70’s and early 80’s, with Waddell Smith, the great wide receiver, running away from the defense waving behind him as Kenny Loggins’ emotionally charged song Key Largo played over the images of dominance.
In 2009, Edmonton became, and still is today, the only city in Canada that has a program geared towards developing a long-term, cost-effective approach to fixing neighbourhood roads, sidewalks, and lights. At today’s Council meeting, we further solidified this commitment by approving a policy that protects the dedicated funds in the Neighbourhood Renewal Reserve, ensuring that this program can continue to build on its success.
Garden suites can help to increase the vitality of mature neighbourhoods by preserving original and heritage homes and attracting new people. It is a sensitive way to add another layer to the fabric of existing neighbourhoods. But there's more to garden suites than just adding residential density and using existing land more wisely in a growing city. There are many positive benefits to this form of housing, such as; supporting flexible living options, providing affordable options for renters and helping homeowners offset mortgage costs. For those who wish to live near extended family, garden suites can be custom built for elderly with accessibility in mind while ensuring everyone has their own space. These smaller living spaces support social, economic and environmental diversity in mature neighbourhoods, with minimal impact on the existing streetscape or house.
At Council this week, Council voted in favour of spending $20 million over the next 25 years on the Alley Renewal Program. This aggressive approach will allow for a faster pace when repaving alleys that have earned a failing grade of "F." Property owners would see an increase by 0.1 percent over four years, which for the average homeowner amounts to adding about $4 more to the tax bill each year. To learn more, the report can be found here.