Bus Network Redesign Update

Bus Network Redesign Update

As we come up on November, I wanted to update Ward 5 residents about the upcoming Bus Network Redesign decisions coming before Council. 

The proposed Bus Network Redesign has been the source of much discussion and community-led engagement in Ward 5 over the past several years. I have heard from residents all over the Ward concerned about how the changes could impact their ability to get around Edmonton and what it will mean for their families. 

This upcoming November 19th, the Urban Planning Committee is scheduled to be presented with the latest Bus Network Redesign report and the proposed on-demand transit solution from ETS (typically referred to as the “first kilometre/last kilometre” service). The latter report is a first for Edmonton, but it is one that I hope will offer practical solutions in areas that may lose bus service or areas still without service. It is clear that Ward 5 will be greatly impacted by the changes proposed and I would not be able to vote on the Redesign without an adequate solution in place. 

Rezoning and Neighbourhood Growth

Rezoning and Neighbourhood Growth

The neighbourhood of Edgemont has seen a number of rezoning applications recently and my office has received a lot of correspondence from the community, so I would like to take this opportunity to help shed a little bit of light on the rezoning process and the concept of responsible land use. While I am not going to address the specifics of each notice, I do want to share some of the background and information that goes into my decisions on applications. 

 For a new neighbourhood development such as Edgemont, it's important to understand exactly where in the planning process these projects are at. New neighbourhood development starts what the creation of a Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan (NASP) that establishes a framework for the neighbourhood to address things like land use, density, and transportation. These plans are themselves approved by Council and any amendments must also be approved.

Calcium Chloride Vote Update

Calcium Chloride Vote Update

This past week, the big debate on calcium chloride finally ended with the adoption of Councillor Knack’s motion to suspect the use of calcium chloride on city roads for this winter season. My office has understandably been receiving feedback on my vote against the motion and I would like to address my constituents to offer further explanation for why I voted the way that I did. I appreciate that this is a frustrating issue for all Edmontonians and have certainly heard from a number of constituents in Ward 5 about the effects that they have seen throughout this pilot program.

Firstly, I would like to clarify that I did not vote to keep using calcium chloride, but I did vote against what I considered to be an imperfect motion. It’s true that the motion will see a suspension of calcium chloride on roadways for the 2019/20 winter season, but it will continue to allow its use on bike lanes, multi-use paths, as well as sidewalks. It also does not address the use of sodium chloride, which itself increased year-over-year despite the introduction of calcium chloride; usually you would expect to see the opposite result. An overall lower use of chlorides in general is often a motivator for municipalities to introduce calcium chloride because both forms contribute to corrosion and damage. 

Small Business Regulations

Small Business Regulations

Did you know that about 95% of the businesses in Edmonton are small businesses? Our local business owners contribute greatly to the health and vitality of our city, and it’s important that we support them.

I know Edmonton to be a city of entrepreneurs, where we want to see each other succeed and we like to hear home-grown stories of success. 

For a city whose culture is entrepreneurial, we should not hear so many stories of small businesses trying to get off the ground and facing so many unnecessary hurdles. Starting and operating a small business is difficult enough without having to navigate government processes.

Design Initiative

Design Initiative

One of the items I campaigned on in the 2017 election was to look closely at the way in which the City of Edmonton incorporates principles of urban design into the projects that we build. Edmonton is rapidly maturing into an internationally competitive city and I feel strongly that we need to think beyond function. 

The City has already been successful in incorporating good design into architecture projects in a meaningful way. Last year, Edmonton won a Governor General’s Medal in Architecture for the Borden Park Pavillion, our first in over 25 years. The City is being recognized for good design in places as disparate as utility houses, eco-stations, fire halls and yes, libraries. And the story of how we got there is not a matter for good choices but of procurement (but that will have to be a story for another day).

So when I brought forward the Design Initiative with Councillor McKeen, it was under the premise that design needs to be a formative element of every project we consider because we have an opportunity to chart a better course by developing streets, plazas, boulevards and parks that are not only functional, but are also places where people want to spend time. Our infrastructure projects should reflect our greatest assets and enhance the natural beauty of this city.

Lewis Farms Recreation Centre Funded

Lewis Farms Recreation Centre Funded

The Lewis Farms Recreation Centre was one of the major priorities I campaigned on in 2017, so I’m extremely pleased that last month Council voted to move forward with this project. Although the opening date for the facility is still a few years out, I’m proud to say we are making this vital piece of infrastructure happen for our West End residents.

This project is long overdue; our city’s West End, and in particular Ward 5, has grown a great deal in the past few decades, but our capacity for recreation activities has not kept pace. For years, residents of the West End have had to travel to other areas of the city for many basic recreation activities. This new facility will not only help to remedy this shortage of recreation space, it will also include a library, a daycare, a high school completion centre and several other amenities that will benefit our community.

The City Plan

The City Plan

Our city is quickly reaching a milestone of one million people. However, for us to remain sustainable and competitive, we must continue to be prepared for more growth as we become a city of two million. As more people choose to call Edmonton home, we will see increased needs for housing, green spaces, better transit and more programs.

As we move forward, we need to be ambitious in our outlook and clear in our intention.  This is why members of City Administration are putting together a guiding document, The City Plan. This foundational document will help to ensure we are building a vibrant city now and well into the future.