The traffic calming trial measures in Pleasantview are coming out soon. We’ve heard overwhelmingly from from the residents of this community that these measures have not worked. In fact, in a Banister survey, 93% of residents felt the measures made the community less safe. More importantly, the early traffic count data was striking. Our hope was the original high volume of traffic on 106 street would be diverted away from the community rather than dispersed through it. But local roads like 105 Street, which carried less than 1000 cars per day originally, were now approaching 3000 cars. This is not what we hoped for and many people are happy the trial has been ended.
Edmonton’s river valley, ravine network, and the homes adjacent to them are part of Edmonton’s splendidness. Over the past year or so, there have been some of important questions raised by constituents regarding infill and densification on lots adjacent to ravine banks. Yesterday, Executive Committee received a report on the subdivision of lots located on the ravine. I committed to examining this issue, and today’s report marks a step forward in that exploration.
The Uber regulation struggle has finally reached a tentative conclusion, and I for one cannot be happier to move on to other topics. Not because this debate was unimportant, but it has taken up it’s fair share of our time and the public discourse over the past year.
Edmontonians are committed to competency. It is in our nature and in our history. Our city is filled with builders, inventors, craftspeople, entrepreneurs, and hard working folks committed to excellence and to mastery- whether they’ve been here for generations or only just arrived. But for the City, 2015 was defined in many ways by the opposite - by failed projects.
2015 has been an incredible year, and I’m proud of what this Council has been able to accomplish. We passed our first multi-year Operating Budget, the Energy Transition Strategy is gaining steam, and our relationships with our regional partners are stronger than ever.
At a Special Executive Committee meeting yesterday, Councillors were presented with reports on the Mature Neighbourhood Overlay Review, the Subdivision Process, and the top of bank zoning questions that Executive Committee posed to Administration in early October.
I’m delighted to remind everyone that the Ward 10 Holiday Open House & Fundraiser for Catholic Social Services in support of the Syrian Refugee Effort is taking place on December 8 at the Parkallen Restaurant.
Update: Council passed the budget last week, settling at a rate of 3.4% for 2016 and 2017, and 4.8% for 2018. This is 2.6 per cent to keep up with growth (15,000 new people moved here last year), plus 0.8 to pay our portion of the Valley Line LRT. For a typical home valued at $401,000, this amounts to a total municipal tax bill of $2,299 for 2016, an increase of $76 dollars from last year. This is an average of $6.32 more each month.
Welcoming New Edmontonians - Please Join me for Ward 10 Holiday Open House and Fundraiser for Catholic Social Services in support of Syrian Refugees
The events of the world and the situation in Syria have been weighing heavily on my mind the last few weeks. We're also moving into a season when many of us celebrate with families and friends and enjoy in the bounty that we have here in Canada.
We’re at it again: Vehicle-for-hire, most commonly thought of as Uber versus taxis, has returned to City Council in the form of new proposed bylaw amendments. As usual, nobody on either side of the Uber/Taxi debate is happy with the proposal. Such is life in the vehicle-for-hire world, apparently.
Last week, I wrote about the proposed 4.9% property tax increase. Long story short, I don’t support a 4.9% increase. In tough economic times when many Edmontonians are struggling with job losses, Council has to respond by cutting down on ‘want’ projects and ensuring our ‘needs’ are being met effectively. Mayor Iveson has lead the charge this past week on restraint both by suggesting "we stick to our jurisdiction" and by making some hard choices. I support his position.
I campaigned on a city building agenda. I want to invest strategically in maintaining and enhancing the $40 billion dollars of assets owned by the city. I want to fix crumbling neighbourhoods as quickly as possible. I want to invest in a modern progressive city that continues to attract the brightest people from around the world, not just because they can find a job here, but because this is a great city with great neighbourhoods in which to raise a family.
But I also campaigned on sound financial management.
Winter in Edmonton is always coming and it’s never too early to get prepared. On a personal note my snowshoes are by the front door ready for that first beautiful snowfall. Bring it on! From a city perspective we need to get prepared for snow.
City Council is about to debate our first ever three-year operating budget starting next month. As we consider this budget and future budgets, it is time to elevate the conversation on Council and among citizens about the importance of non-residential taxes. We have an opportunity to build our industrial tax base, innovate our economy, and reduce tax increases for residents while still keeping up with core service demands and our ambitious city building agenda.
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