It’s been another busy week here at City Hall, so I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the items and events from the past week that were of particular interest.
Albertans are strong, resourceful people who stand together in times of crisis, and that strength is needed now as Fort McMurray and the surrounding area is facing devastating fires and mass evacuations. Many Edmontonians have been reaching out to the City asking how they can help those affected by the fires.
As you travel through Ward 10, you might notice a difference in how the neighbourhoods are laid out. Some homes in neighbourhoods that were built after 1980 have front garages. But most were built before that, these homes back onto many of Edmonton’s more worn out alleys.
While last week’s provincial budget passed without much fuss, this week our Council had to come face to face with some of the impacts of the provincial budget, specifically how it directly affected Edmonton’s municipal property tax rate.
Each year, Edmonton Transit adjusts around 10,000 service hours to ensure that all of their routes are generally compliant with the City’s transit service standards. Those standards require a certain amount of ridership in order for a route to be viable.
The No-Frills in Petrolia Mall has been a boon to the communities around it. It’s been very heartening for me to see the way that the communities around Petrolia have banded together to reinvigorate that space, and the addition of the No-Frills location has given the space new promise and life that it hadn’t had in years.
Each time I engage Edmontonians in conversations about active transportation, one thing becomes clear - that we need to shift the conversation away from car vs. bike to one about healthy people and healthy communities. No matter where people stand on the issue, pro-bike lane or anti, commuter-focused or community-focused, everybody can get on board with the growing research and ancient understanding that cycling improves people’s health, whether you are a recreational or commuter cyclist. As much as we want to encourage more people to cycle more frequently, we need to build cycling infrastructure that is safe, that is separated from traffic wherever possible, and that inspires people of all ages to saddle up and ride.
I want to know more about you. Of course, I always want to know about your thoughts on our progress and different projects in the community, but this time, it’s personal. I want you to participate in Edmonton’s 2016 census.
Collaborating to plan and operate our transit systems in sync has been something that the City of Edmonton and it’s partners have been talking about it for years, both at a local and regional level.
Update, March 21 11:30am: The feedback from the meeting on Saturday clearly leaned in favour of the route on 43rd Avenue as opposed to either option on 40th Avenue when it comes to building appropriate cycling infrastructure for the area. The $2 million cost for the route on 43rd Ave is much more reasonable - there is no way I can justify spending $12-17 million dollars on a route on 40th Avenue. The reason that option was presented however is there were a good number of people in the area who asked to see physically separated lanes on 40th as a choice. But after learning of the price it is clearly not even in the conversation, even for those same people. The outcomes of the public engagement, both from Saturday's event and the many other's we've held will be presented to Council at a meeting in late April/early May.
Update March 17, 3:30pm: Council voted in favour of Administration pursuing more information on the potential utility models and the opportunities to include other renewable sources in the Blatchford vision. This will delay the start of infrastructure construction on the project for one year.
When Council made the decision to use the City Centre Airport lands to develop a residential neighbourhood, we made a promise. That promise was to build a 100% carbon neutral, renewable energy dependent community that would be a point of pride for Edmontonians. We committed to doing something that was bold and cutting edge, that would make this city demonstrably better.
Our weather is changing. The effect that climate change is having on the frequency of extreme weather events is being felt not just by people, but in the balance sheets of our public and private sector institutions. The Parliamentary Budget Office just produced a report detailing the financial risk and likely cost for to the federal government for disaster relief in the coming years. Basically, the feds are planning for 1-2 Calgary-esque floods per year in Canada.
The future of park and ride in our City is a sensitive debate. Many people rely on those park and ride facilities to help them transition from suburban areas, where transit is not fully developed, to the core, where LRT and bus routes are more plentiful.
While it may still look pretty quiet at the Petrolia Mall site, things are cooking.
Each year, the City of Edmonton puts together an inventory of its infrastructure. This report gives Council an idea of the replacement value and present condition of all the different types of infrastructure that the City owns.