On Thursday, I had the opportunity to spend my morning bike riding through Southwest Edmonton with over 100 incredibly active seniors who are members of the Rocky Mountain Seniors Ski Club. This group, who also ski in the winter months, embodies the spirit of what 8-80 Cities truly means. As a group, each week they ride the equivalent distance from Edmonton to Newfoundland. Groups like the Rocky Mountain Seniors Ski Club help make Edmonton a more active and healthy place. If we build our city with groups like this in mind, and tap into their thoughts and ideas, we will be able to build a city for people of all ages and abilities.
In other news, we had a busy schedule at Council this week with the Council Meeting and Public Hearing providing much to mull over and take action on going forward.
Here are a few of the highlights:
FEDERAL STIMULUS UPDATE
Council has decided to update our ask regarding what to fund as part of the stimulus package. We’ve decided that in addition to allocating money for planned LRT projects (Valley line, Metro line extension, et al.) that we will set money aside for future transit related projects as a whole so that we can maximize Edmonton’s projected $145 million dollars from the Public Infrastructure Fund.
MUNICIPAL GUIDELINES ACT (MGA) UPDATE
The Magna Carta of City operations has received a variety of amendments, some key ones include: creating conservation reserves to compliment environmental reserves, increasing the scope of off-site levies for revenue, mandated growth management boards for cities (such as the CRB), and the authority to allow inclusionary housing to be imposed as a condition of development permit, to name a few.
EPCOR DRAINAGE PROPOSAL
On Tuesday EPCOR proposed a transfer of Drainage systems from the City’s management to their company. The proposal has many positive potential effects, such as increased efficiency, increased profits, all while maintaining the same amount of jobs. However, there is still room for improvement going forward. Two key needs of mine are that response times are to be greatly increased for concerns and that concerns are to be dealt with with greater rigour. Instances akin to the “Steinhauer Stench” must be dealt with quicker, as Steinhauer residents will attest to.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (CDC)
Council is has moved to establish the CDC, initiated through EndPovertyEdmonton. The CDC’s mission statement is to “create and expand economic opportunity for low to moderate income people.” The CDC initiatives for rebuilding neighbourhoods and helping those with low to moderate income include affordable housing development, revitalizing commercial land, creating new businesses, retaining and supporting existing businesses, training and developing the workforce, and community engagement, all targeted for the vulnerable in Edmonton.
EMERALD TOWER IN OLIVER
The proposed 45-storey Emerald Tower on Jasper Ave and 114th Street was one of the primary items on the agenda at the Public Hearing on Monday. The proposed building, put forth by Regency Developments, would instantly become one of the tallest in Edmonton, providing further densification for the City. Council decided to defer voting on its approval until June 27th as many critical components need to be improved. Council would like to see the Emerald Tower development altered to provide more benefit to the community and City building goals as a whole. Oliver Community and the City would like to see more units allocated for affordable housing as well as smaller retail bays to encourage more local street front businesses to improve the pedestrian realm. Ultimately we took a breath for two weeks to seek a slightly better project that will feature in Edmonton’s skyline for decades to come.