Council/Committee Round Up - May 2017

Alley Renewal

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.

Energy Transition

Last week, Council discussed the 2016 Energy Transition Advisory Committee Report, the report outlines the city's next steps for dealing with climate change. This year, the City will be launching a number of pilot projects:

Align with the Goals for A Sustainable, Energy Resilient, Low Carbon Edmonton
Options to Improve the Efficiency of City Buildings
Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Development - Project Update

Protecting our environment is about expanding our knowledge, making changes in how we live, and sometimes learning to adapt to changes that have already taken place. If you would like to learn more about the Edmonton's Community Energy Transition Strategy, it can be found here

Green League Program Launch

Tieing into the Energy Transitions areas of focus is the Green Leagues Program. Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at the program launch to celebrate the pilot's success. The Green Leagues program is a joint EFCL and City project that is working to help the Edmonton Community Leagues implement energy efficiency and solar projects. Last year’s pilot program was focused on educating interested league members about the energy efficiency and solar potential of community league halls. In order to accomplish this, workshops about sustainability planning and energy management were held. Additionally, heavily discounted energy audits and solar site assessments were offered in order to educate members of their specific facility’s potential. The idea was that armed with general and building specific information, leagues could approach energy saving and solar power with confidence. And this year, the program has been expanded to provide the capacity to help leagues complete these projects. 

TEC Edmonton

I had the opportunity to speak at the TEC VenturePrize event on May 04. The VenturePrize Program provides training, mentorship, feedback and financial incentives to help people build or enhance a viable businesses. TEC Edmonton provides these Albertan entrepreneurs, with the opportunity compete for significant prize packages valued at over $150,000.00. If you would like to learn more, please read my speaking notes here.

Notices of Motion

At Council this week, I put forward the following two motions:

Community League Projects:

Community Leagues and the spaces they steward act as community hubs throughout Edmonton, and at the heart of those hubs are volunteers. I have heard a great deal about the red-tape laden processes associated with completing community projects and the parkland change process, which has lead many of these volunteers to the point of giving up on community projects. In order to support our Community League volunteers, can Administration please provide a report on the following:

1. ) A detailed outline of the process in which Community Leagues must go through to apply for grant funding and to complete a community project, as well as the City of Edmonton supports (internal and/or external) provided to Community Leagues when they are applying for grant funding and completing a community project.

2.) Options to engage with Community Leagues to work towards developing a more volunteer friendly approach to applying for grant funding and completing a community project aimed making the process more citizen/volunteer friendly.

Syrian Refugees

Early in 2016 the city of Edmonton became the new home to approximately 1200-1500 refugees from Syria. During that time many private citizen and government sponsored refugees began the arduous task of settling in our city, learning a new language, adjusting to new schools, recovering from trauma, worrying about loved ones back home while trying to build a new future here.

As the city of Edmonton played a key role in coordinating and supporting some of these resettlement efforts and because of the extensive community interest can the administration provide a report with on update on the Syrian refugee experiences settling in Edmonton, specifically:

1. ) The number of refugees that arrived in Edmonton from Syria in 2016
2. ) How many were privately sponsored vs. government sponsored
3.) How they are faring generally? Has different sponsorship resulted in different outcomes?
4.) What gaps exists that could improve their success in Edmonton.
5.) Are there specific challenges needing more immediate attention that we should be aware of?