Week in Review - Free Sand For All

Community Sandbox Program

In 2015, when the City was looking for efficiencies to reduce costs, the Community Sandbox program was identified as a potential reduction. As a result, Council eliminated the program as part of the 2016-2018 Operating Budget--saving the City $300,000 annually. However, I feel the safety benefits to Edmontonians outweighs the financial savings. For this reason, I made the following Notice of Motion at Wednesday's Council meeting:

That Administration, in consultation with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues and other potential partners, prepare a report that details a strategy to reinstate a new and improved Community Sandbox Program for next winter.

This motion will be discussed at the next Council meeting scheduled on February 7, 2017. If Council approves the motion, a new improved program will be in place for the 2017-2018 winter season. Unfortunately, the program cannot be reinstated for the remained of winter.

In the meantime, FREE sand can be picked up at the following locations:

  • Lendrum Community League - 11335 57 Avenue
  • Greenfield Community League - 3803 114 Street
  • Duggan Community League - 3728 106 Street
  • Lansdowne Community League - 12323 51 Avenue
  • Grandview Community League - 12603 63 Avenue
  • City of Edmonton: Southeast Yard - 5409 59 Avenue
  • City of Edmonton: Southwest Yard - 14710 Ellerslie Road (on the roadway beside the eco station)

If  Community Leagues are interested in maintaining their own sandbox, a request can be put forth through this form: Community League Sandbox Sign-Up

EPCOR Drainage Proposal

At Monday’s Public Hearing meeting, Council continued deliberating the EPCOR Proposal, following the results of the independent assessment conducted by Grant Thornton (6.5 - EPCOR Proposal - Results of Independent Assessment).

Back in June 2016, Administration proposed a transfer of the Drainage systems from the City’s management to EPCOR. While the proposal has many potential benefits, Council felt there was still room for improvement. For this reason, Administration was directed to retain a third-party to provide an independent assessment of key the financial and non-financial aspects of the proposal. The assessment determined the proposal has strong merit. In fact, the proposal appears to have the potential for the greatest positive impacts on the City, taxpayers, and ratepayers.

As identified in the assessment, I agree that the proposal has significant efficiencies and financial benefits. I evaluated this proposal through the following lens: maintaining governance oversight between the City, EPCOR and the public, ensuring valued service is provided to citizens, partners, and stakeholders, placing priority on faster flood mitigation, and ensuring that this proposal provides equal value to the City and EPCOR. On April 11, EPCOR will return to City Council with a draft letter of intent addressing Councils outlying concerns. Based on those lenses, I see sound evidence to support the transfer. At the same time, Council will continue to regulate drainage through Utility Committee, ensuring transparency as all Committee meetings are held in public. 

Municipal Government Act Update

The MGA was recently modernized and discussions will continue as the Province pursues additional changes to the MGA, through a new Bill in spring 2017.  The MGA, while stale and uninteresting to most, is critical to municipalities and how we operate. So, if you are interested in seeing what has changed and what is still being discussed, please read the Municipal Government Act Review Update.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office by calling (780) 469-8132, or by emailing me at michael.walters@edmonton.ca for further information or clarification.