The Week in Review: January 22 - 26

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.

Helping the South West Edmonton Seniors Association (SWESA)

SWESA is a seniors’ activity centre that serves social, cultural and recreational interests of the seniors living in southwest Edmonton. SWESA has grown to support the 20,000 seniors living in southwest Edmonton out of its leased space at Yellowbird East Community League and the Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre since its conception.

The southwest is the only area in Edmonton without a seniors centre and there is an immense need for permanent space so SWESA can serve and support our seniors. In order to address their needs, I brought forward the following motion at council this week:

That Administration work with the Southwest Edmonton Seniors Association to develop options to secure land and/or partnerships for the eventual construction or creation of a Southwest Seniors Activity Centre and community hub and to develop an interim location strategy for SouthWest Edmonton Seniors Association to continue to operate and provide programs and services and report back with information back to Committee.

By providing opportunities for seniors to live more healthy and satisfying lives through programming and social connections, this community hub is vital for improving the quality of life and mental health for seniors in southwest Edmonton.

Promoting Economic Development and Industrial Land Strategy

This week council passed amendments to the ASP for the Edmonton Energy Technology Park EETP. This is an example of a long-term planning document that provides the framework for the development of this area into a world-class eco-industrial park that combines economic opportunity, ecological integrity, and efficient use of land and resources. Development of areas like this among many others in our city are critical to economic growth and strength in Edmonton and in turn, will improve our non-residential tax base. In order to help break dirt in these areas and to bring people and business to them, industrial land needs to be serviced. Upfront costs of doing this through private developers, as has been done in the past, is extremely high and has resulted in a slow pace of development. To get a detailed look into options to speed up development of these industrial areas I made the following motion in council:

That Administration provide a report on the Industrial Action Plan related to existing investment readiness of industrial land and prepare options including a draft high-level framework for a Land Development Financing Consortium that could act as a catalyst for industrial development.

We must diligently plan to attract investment and support economic development to ensure Edmonton is a city open for business.

Exploring the comparisons between LRT and BRT

Ward 9 Councillor Tim Cartmell passed a motion at Council asking that Administration provide a report on the Valley Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension to West Edmonton summarizing comparative capital cost and operating estimates for mass transit between the current LRT line plan and a proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line going on the same proposed route. Further, the motion asks Administration to summarize known experiences of other cities employing BRT and to estimate the differences in increased investment in Transit Oriented Development based on the development of LRT versus BRT.

I stress that the requested information is being sought not to replace our current plans to build LRT but to help council understand the differences between LRT and BRT to inform future decision making. West Edmonton has the ridership and the need for LRT and I will continue to push for LRT in this area. Developer investment in adjacent areas, operational cost and capacity are superior on LRT lines as I elaborated in last week’s blog. The information that was requested will help council understand the cost analysis between LRT and BRT and help with future decision making on where BRT fits into our transit strategy.

Next week there will be 3 committee meetings, if you want to know what is coming to council this week you can click the links to the agendas:

Executive Committee - January 29th 2018

Urban Planning Committee - January 30th 2018

Community and Public Services Committee - January 31st 2018

Seniors at the Southwest Edmonton Seniors Association playing Hand and Foot Canasta as they do every Tuesday from 12:30 to 2:30 at the Yellowbird Community League