Coming up at City Council: November 24-28, 2014

Agendas for upcoming City Council meetings are generally released on Thursday afternoons. I like to take a look to see what Council will be discussing, and I figured I should share that here. Below you’ll find links to the meetings taking place next week, as well as links to and thoughts on some agenda items that caught my eye.

City Council Swearing In 2013-2017

In case you hadn’t heard, it’s budget time!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Council starts the week with a non-statutory public hearing on the proposed 2015 operating, capital, and utilities budgets. The public hearing is scheduled from 9:30am to 9:30pm, and if you’d like to speak, you can register here.

If you haven’t already done so, check out this microsite that the City put together as a primer on the budget. When you’re ready for more detail, you’ll find everything you could possibly want to know about the City’s budget process here. If you’d like to go through some Q&A, check out the AMA that CFO Lorna Rosen did on Reddit last week. And when you’re ready, try to come up with your own budget using the CBC’s interactive tool.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

There is one non-budget-related meeting taking place this week, and that’s the Audit Committee meeting on Tuesday. The Audit Committee is responsible for “providing oversight and consideration of audit matters brought forward by the City Auditor and the External Auditor.” Among other things, the Committee will consider:

The City Streets Audit Report determines if the City is adequately protecting roads as a capital asset (it is) and assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of the Pothole Repair Program (it is consistent with previous years). Here’s a look at how many potholes have been filled over the last 10 years:

potholes

The current average condition of all roads is considered “good”, which is 6.06 on a scale of 1 to 10. Here’s a look at how that number has changed over the years:

pqi

To date in 2014, the Office of the City Auditor has provided 17 reports to Council and the Audit Committee.

Once the Audit Committee meeting has adjourned, a selection committee meeting will be held to select/reappoint the public member of the Audit Committee.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On Wednesday, the 2015 budget meetings begin. Council is scheduled to discuss the 2015 budget on both Wednesday and Thursday, and also December 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 10. If they need more time, they’ll discuss it on December 11 and 12 too.

2015 Drainage Services Utility Operating & Capital Budget

The proposed 2015 operating budget for Drainage Services has revenues of $167 million and expenditures of $127 million. The proposed 2015-2018 capital budget for Drainage Services totals $727 million.

Bylaw 16980 provides for both Sanitary Drainage & Stormwater rate increases of $0.50 per month each for the typical residential customer, to take effect on January 1, 2015.

2015 Waste Management Utility Operating & Capital Budget

The proposed 2015 operating budget for Waste Management Services has revenues of $169 million and expenditures of $172 million. The proposed 2015-2018 capital budget for Waste Management Services totals $121 million.

Bylaw 16982 sets out the proposed increases in the residential monthly waste service fee, and also changes to six facility user rates at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre, all of which would take effect on January 1, 2015. The change in monthly waste service fees is $3.35 per single-family home and $2.18 per multi-family unit.

Proposed 2015-2018 Capital Budget

The proposed capital budget includes expenditures of $5.962 billion for tax-supported operations, which includes new tax-supported debt of $321.5 million, new self-supporting tax guaranteed debt of $121.4 million (to be recovered by the Downtown and Quarters CRLs), and a tax increase of 1.5% per year for the period 2015-2018 for the Neighbourhood Renewal Program.

Of the $5.962 billion, $2.830 billion was previously approved and $2.699 billion is new funding. These are big numbers and you’re probably wondering about how much debt Edmonton can carry, so check out this post from last year. Here’s a look at where the money comes from:

sources

Roughly 45% of the funding will go towards infrastructure renewal projects, which are an “investment in existing infrastructure to restore it to its former condition and extend its service life.” The remaining 55% will be spent on growth projects, which are investments in “new assets as well as…projects that add to or enhance components of existing infrastructure assets.”

Some of the major growth projects include: Valley Line LRT ($1.618 billion), Rogers Place and related infrastructure projects ($403.1 million), Blatchford ($561.4 million), and The Quarters ($47.1 million).

Here’s a look at the recommended 2015-2018 allocation by service area:

renewal vs growth

There is obviously a lot more detail in the attached reports, so if you want to dive in, now’s the time!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The budget meetings continue on Thursday, with Council slated to hear presentations from civic agencies on the proposed capital budget. Starting at 9:30am, they will hear from:

  • Edmonton Police Commission
  • Edmonton Public Library
  • Edmonton Economic Development Corporation
  • Francis Winspear Centre for Music
  • Fort Edmonton Management Company
  • TELUS World of Science

Proposed 2015 Operating Budget

Following those presentations, Council will look at the proposed 2015 operating budget, they’ll have presentations from each of the major departments, like Community Services and Sustainable Development.

The budget discussions will continue over the next three weeks.

That’s it! You can keep track of City Council on Twitter using the #yegcc hashtag, and you can listen to or watch any Council meeting live online.

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 26

After missing the 25th DemoCamp (I was there in spirit) I was very much looking forward to last night’s DemoCamp Edmonton 26. I enjoy seeing what other local developers have been up to, and I almost always walk away feeling inspired. It’s also a great way to meet some new folks in the startup scene over beer.

Cam Linke
As always, the event was hosted by Cam Linke

The demos were (in order of appearance):

For this recap, I decided to record some thoughts on each of the demos, which you can listen to on MixCloud:

You can also download the MP3 here.

My favorite demo of the evening was StormBoard. Maybe a little unfair considering how well-established the app is and how seasoned Reg is at presenting, but I thought it was great. Compelling, well-designed, and feature-rich. Give it a try if you haven’t already!

Team Stormboard

Keep an eye on the Startup Edmonton Meetup group for more upcoming tech events. They have also added a listing of all the meetups taking place at Startup to the website.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 27!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #131

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • Follow @ShawFireLog on Twitter for updates!
  • Earlier today, the annual Christmas Bureau campaign launch took place, with many members of the media participating in the gingerbread decorating contest. Edmonton’s Child Magazine won “Best of Print”, 95.7 CRUZ FM won “Best of Radio”, This Bird’s Day won “Best of Social Media”, Shaw TV won “Best of TV”, and Global Edmonton won “Shameless Self-Promotion”. Here’s a video about the launch:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for 11/16/2014

Sharon and I had a wonderful weekend in Jasper at Christmas in November! We were very lucky to be able to attend on behalf of Gastropost. Lots of photos and writing to be done. Thanks Brittney for having us!

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Before the Big Build
Before the Big Build, by Jeff Wallace

Upcoming Events

Cold day in Edmonton
Cold Day in Edmonton

Coming up at City Council: November 17-21, 2014

Agendas for upcoming City Council meetings are generally released on Thursday afternoons. I like to take a look to see what Council will be discussing, and I figured I should share that here. Below you’ll find links to the meetings taking place next week, as well as links to and thoughts on some agenda items that caught my eye.

City Council Swearing In 2013-2017

A reminder that it’s budget time! If you want to dig into the 2015 budgets, check out this microsite that the City has launched. Also head over to the Edmonton subreddit at 12:30pm on Friday, November 14 for an AMA with CFO Lorna Rosen. City Council will be discussing the budget in detail from November 26 to December 10, with optional meetings scheduled for December 11 and 12 if they need more time.

Monday, November 17, 2014

On Monday, City Council is holding a public hearing. The usual bylaws to allow development will be discussed, but three include amendments to ARPs:

  • An amendment to the Strathcona Area Redevelopment Plan (bylaw 16988), a rezoning to allow for a five storey addition to the exist Crawford Block building (bylaw 16989), and a bylaw to designate the Crawford Block as a Municipal Historic Resource (bylaw 16916). You can learn more about the Crawford Block, which was built in 1912, at the Edmonton City as Museum Project.
  • Rezoning (bylaw 16992) and an amendment to the Boyle Street/McCauley Area Redevelopment Plan (bylaw 16991) to allow for a 4 storey mixed-use development. This is for the property at 9103 111 Avenue in McCauley.
  • Rezoning at 10505 106 Street in Central McDougall (bylaw 16852) and an amendment to the Central McDougall/Queen Mary Park Area Redevelopment Plan (bylaw 16851).

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On Wednesday, Council will hold its final meeting before the budget meetings take place, which means there is just one “normal” Council meeting left for 2014 (on December 17). Items on the agenda next week include:

Corporate Measures and Targets Follow-up

With this item, Administration is recommending 26 measures and targets for the 12 outcomes in The Way Ahead. There are both new and revised measures and targets compared to the 23 provisionally approved in June, based on feedback from Council. You can learn more about the 12 outcomes here.

The measures are things like “% of new residential units in mature areas”, “transit ridership per capita”, “ecological footprint in hecatre/capita”, or “City of Edmonton credit rating”. Each measure has a corresponding target and measurement frequency. The idea is to provide Council with information to aid in their decision-making. These aren’t the only things the City measures of course, as the report says the City tracks “hundreds of different types of performance measures.”

None of the recommended targets go beyond 2018 because that’s the end date of the current The Way Ahead. Once approved, an updated document will be made available, and Administration will begin to report back to Council on the outcome measures and targets.

Approval of Expropriation for the Southeast to West LRT (Valley Line) Stage 1, Phase 2

Administration is recommending that Council approve the expropriation of land required for the Valley Line LRT under the Expropriation Act. This approval will enable them to proceed with finalizing the expropriations, which needs to happen before construction can begin.

There are 17 properties being expropriated. Some are located near five corners in The Quarters, some are near Cloverdale Road and Strathearn Drive, some are along 83 Street between 76 Avenue and 77 Avenue, and some are further south. The largest property is #10 which is about 0.519 ha and is currently a parking lot owned by the Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre. Seven of the properties are residences.

Construction of the Valley Line LRT is scheduled to begin in 2016, with preparation of the lands required continuing through 2015.

Committee Recommendations

There’s also approval of recommendations made from the Utility Committee, Executive Committee, and Community Services Committee, including:

Some other items that Council will be looking at include:

  • Edmonton Police Commission – Interviews and Appointment
  • Terms of Reference – Commonwealth Games Bid Oversight Committee
  • Jerry Forbes Centre Multi-tenant Project Update

That’s it! You can keep track of City Council on Twitter using the #yegcc hashtag, and you can listen to or watch any Council meeting live online.

What will happen to Rexall Place?

With a new downtown arena, what will happen to Rexall Place?

It’s a question that has been asked many times over the last few years, and one which remains unanswered. But that could finally change next spring.

On Halloween, Northlands publicly announced the formation of its Arena Strategy Committee. Comprised of 17 members of the community, the committee is tasked with delivering a recommendation on the future of Rexall Place to the Northlands board by April 15, 2015. Here’s what Northlands’ new President & CEO Tim Reid had to say about the news:

“The opening of Rogers Place will change the competitive market place for Rexall Place. We need a short and long-term plan that meets Northlands’ objectives while identifying and assessing viable opportunities for the future use of Rexall Place and its site.”

That’s a very different message than the one delivered in March 2008 when then-Northlands-board-chair Jerry Bouma ruled out the possibility of keeping Rexall Place open if a new arena was built. “We can’t have two competing large-scale facilities,” he said at the time. A few years later, City Manager Simon Farbrother also suggested that Edmonton cannot sustain two arenas. Most people I have talked to feel the same way.

We have seen a similar scenario play out before. Eight years after Northlands Coliseum opened in 1974, the Edmonton Gardens was demolished. The situation is different today, of course – Rexall Place is one of the busiest arenas in the world whereas the Gardens was condemned at one point – but you can’t help but wonder, is that the fate of Rexall Place too?

Northlands, it seems, isn’t as sure as it once was. And it has struck this committee to help remove that uncertainty.

Rexall Place Planet
Rexall Place Planet by Kurt Bauschardt

Here are the committee members, with the “area of expertise” they represent in brackets (copied from the press release for posterity):

  • Mrs. Laura Gadowsky, Chair, Northlands Board of Directors (who is an ex officio member of all committees)
  • Mr. Harold Kingston, First Vice Chair, Northlands Board of Directors
  • Mr. Burke Perry, Second Vice Chair, Northlands Board of Directors
  • Mr. Andrew Ross, Arena Strategy Committee Chair, Northlands Board of Directors
  • Mr. Gerry Yuen, Northlands Board of Governors
  • Mayor Don Iveson, City of Edmonton
  • Mr. Dave Quest, MLA, Government of Alberta
  • Mr. Tom Ruth, President & CEO, Edmonton Airports (Industry and Commerce)
  • Mr. Dave Mowat, President & CEO, ATB Financial (Audit and Finance)
  • Mr. Brad Ferguson, President & CEO, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (Economic Development)
  • Ms. Jerri Cairns, Vice Chair, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (Industry and Commerce)
  • Mr. Ashif Mawji, Founder & CEO, NPO Zero (Audit and Finance)
  • Mr. Len Rhodes, President & CEO, Edmonton Eskimos Football Club (Sports and Entertainment)
  • Mr. Stephen Petasky, President & Founder, Luxus Group (Industry and Commerce)
  • Mr. Ray Block, Vice President of Administration and CFO, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (Arts, Culture and Education)
  • Mr. Mack D. Male, Blogger of MasterMaq’s Blog and software developer/entrepreneur (Youth and Community Groups)
  • Ms. Geraldine Bidulock, Private Business Owner (Rural)

When I offered my help to Tim in his new role as President & CEO of Northlands, I had no idea that I would hear from him so soon. I am honored to have been asked to work with such a diverse and impressive group of community leaders. I know this is a big commitment, and I’m looking forward to making a big contribution.

The committee will further split into at least two subcommittees: one focused on examining other buildings in other cities, and one focused on public engagement. I will be very active on the public engagement side of things. We’ll be working with RC Strategies on that. Our committee will work to gather information and to encourage dialogue.

I am approaching this challenge with an open mind. As a committee, we don’t have an outcome in mind. Instead, we want to understand the range of possible outcomes, evaluate the pros and cons of each, gather input from the public on them, and ultimately try to come to some sort of decision about which is the best one for Edmonton.

So what happens when we’ve come to a decision? Our committee will deliver a recommendation to the Northlands board of directors in early April. The plan is for that recommendation to be made public on April 15. What happens next? We’re not sure. The board could adopt the recommendation, they could reject it, or they could let it sit. Northlands will hold its AGM at the end of April, so potentially one third of the board membership could be changing. The current board may simply decide to let the new board deal with our recommendation. We’ll have to see.

Stay tuned for details on the public consultation opportunities we’ll be facilitating. There will be opportunities to share your thoughts on the future of Rexall Place both in person and online. Of course, I want to hear from you directly and as soon as possible – feel free to leave a comment below or to get in touch. I’ll do my best to blog updates here as appropriate. It’s going to be an interesting few months.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #130

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for 11/9/2014

Looks like the snow we received this weekend is here to stay! Be careful on the roads – it’s slippery out there. Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Hotel Skeleton
The new Hyatt Place Hotel under construction, by Dave Sutherland

Upcoming Events

2014 Chili Cook Off
Chili Cook Off!

Coming up at City Council: November 10-14, 2014

Agendas for upcoming City Council meetings are generally released on Thursday afternoons. I like to take a look to see what Council will be discussing, and I figured I should share that here. Below you’ll find links to the meetings taking place next week, as well as links to and thoughts on some agenda items that caught my eye.

City Council Swearing In 2013-2017

First I want to mention that this week Council held a public hearing and its first budget meetings. If you want to dig into the budget, check out this microsite that the City has launched. There will also be an AMA on Reddit at some point, and a survey has already been sent out to members of the Edmonton Insight Community. City Council will be discussing the budget in detail from November 26 to December 10, with optional meetings scheduled for December 11 and 12 if they need more time.

If you’d rather listen to this overview, check out this episode on Mixcloud:

Or you can download it in MP3 here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

On Wednesday, Executive Committee will be meeting in the River Valley Room. Items on the agenda include:

TEC Edmonton’s 2013-2014 Annual Report

This is the annual update that TEC Edmonton is required to provide. A recent study of university business incubators listed TEC Edmonton 10th overall worldwide, and 3rd in North America, and in June, TEC Edmonton was named “Incubator of the Year” by Startup Canada. An increase in federal funding of about $2.5 million per year will enable TEC Edmonton to launch a new Health Accelerator “to enable the city to catalyze growth of a significant new health tech cluster.”

The Way We Finance White Paper on Debt

This item is the public launch of the third white paper presented as part of The Way We Finance. This one focuses on debt: “After establishing the Edmonton context related to the use of debt, we are going to talk about what the City of Edmonton uses debt for, why it is used and how we determine what amount of debt is reasonable for the City to carry.” Debt was a hot topic during last year’s municipal election, which I wrote about here.

Purchase of the Wellington Surplus School Site

Administration is recommending that City Council approve the purchase of the Wellington Surplus School Site from the Edmonton Public School Board for $4,755,000 (which reflects current market value for the property). Council had previously agreed to proceed with the land purchase, which ultimately will result in a new home for the Calder Library, 2.27 hectares of “civic open space”, and potentially a future multicultural centre.

2014 City of Edmonton Subsidy to the Homeward Trust Foundation

City Council last year approved a subsidy of $1,238,000 for the Homeward Trust Foundation, but approval by Executive Committee is now required to actual pay it. Since 2000, the City has contributed approximately $1.2 million per year to support the agency’s work. The Homeward Trust Foundation receives funding from all three levels of government and has allocated $154 million in funding to 95 capital projects since 2001.

A number of reports were supposed to have been discussed at this meeting, but have instead been pushed out until 2015:

  • Bylaw amendments for parking requirements for “minor” eating & drinking establishments
  • A report on business models & governance options for Edmonton Research
  • An update on the potential for commercial activity at the Rossdale Generating Station
  • An update on the West Rossdale Redevelopment

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Community Services Committee

In the morning, Council’s Community Services Committee will meet. Items on the agenda include:

Edmonton Historical Board Chair’s Report Recommendations

This one seems timely given the discussion lately about more of our historic buildings disappearing to development. The report responds to recommendations that were made on how “new leadership could be applied to extend and add to Edmonton’s existing heritage achievements.” Administration is looking for a funding increase of $500,000 to increase municipal heritage designation participation rates.

Edmonton Arts Council 2015 Festival Operating Grant Recommendations

With this report, Administration is recommending the approval of $200,000 for six festivals in 2015: Deep Freeze, Edmonton Poetry Festival, Edmonton Pride Festival, Ice on Whyte, Silver Skate Festival, and Serca Festival of Irish Theatre. The program enables a maximum of 25% of the festival’s operating budget to be covered by the grants.

Backyard Firepit Control

This one is a response to an inquiry made by Councillors Esslinger and McKeen (which many people thought was a rookie mistake). The report outlines some background, how the City enforces fire pit regulations, and clarifies the current legislation. It also says that “current Bylaw provisions provide effective enforcement tools to regulate the impacts of outdoor fires, and no Bylaw amendments are recommended at this time.” No surprise there!

Three items have been postponed until early next year:

  • Update on the New Africa Centre Facility
  • Civic Precinct Master Plan – Addressing Current Square Design
  • Options to Support Suicide Prevention

Transportation Committee

In the afternoon, the Transportation Committee will meet. Items on the agenda include:

Low Income Transit Pass Pilot

The report for this item has not yet been released, but this should be an update on the three-year pilot project that was approved back in May. At the time, the goal was for the low income pass to be in place by January, so hopefully that remains on track.

Late Night Transit Update

This report is a follow-up from August and outlines “a proposal for the phased implementation of late night service”. There are two phases proposed: the first would extend late night service until 3am on five routes, the second would further extend service to 5:30am. Funding of $1.322 million is needed to get Phase 1 going, and phase 2 would cost $2.1 million annually. If the budget is approved, Phase 1 could be implemented in September 2015 and Phase 2 could be implemented in September 2016. The five routes are the 1, 4, 8, 9, and 505 (Clareview – Central LRT replacement service).

How can we build a great city with transit?

Get ready to be consulted and engaged on the development of a major transit strategy! This report “outlines the steps for public consultation to be completed as part of development of a transit strategy” that aims to discuss the question above. Administration is looking for one-time funding of $623,000 to take this work forward.

Cell Phone and Wi-Fi Coverage in LRT Stations and Tunnels

Back in July, Mayor Iveson made an inquiry about mobile and Internet coverage underground. This report answers that inquiry, and states that “today, cell coverage in LRT stations and tunnels is limited.” On the plus side, the report says the City is looking to offer cell phone coverage and Wi-Fi service in the fourth quarter of 2015 to LRT stations (and parts of tunnels). That means getting connected underground is still a year away, but at least it is coming.

Two items have been postponed to an undetermined future date:

  • Civic Precinct Master Plan – SE LRT Integration
  • Valley Line Construction Impact on the Use of Churchill Square

Friday, November 14, 2014

There aren’t normally Council meetings on Friday, but on the morning of the 14th the City Manager and City Auditor Performance Evaluation Committee will be meeting. There are no reports available as these items are protected by sections 17, 19, and 24 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. My understanding is that the committee will agree upon the process and timelines for evaluating the performance of the City Manager and City Auditor but that the actual evaluations will take place at a future date.

That’s it! You can keep track of City Council on Twitter using the #yegcc hashtag, and you can listen to or watch any Council meeting live online.

Go underground for Edmonton’s newest coffee shops

It was a little disappointing to miss the opening of three new coffee shops last month, but on the other hand, it was nice to have new places to explore after we got back! In October, Transcend returned to downtown with a new location in the Mercer Warehouse, Credo added a second location on 124 Street, and after years in the making, Burrow opened in the Central LRT Station. I checked out all three locations last week.

Transcend Mercer

Transcend Mercer

Let’s start with Transcend Mercer. After the location on Jasper Avenue closed, I wasn’t sure if or when Transcend would be back downtown. It was pretty clear that if they did return, it would be at a smaller, more manageable location. While the new cafe in the basement of the building is smaller, it’s bigger than I was expecting! I’m not sure why but I envisioned something with either limited or no seating, but there’s actually lots of room to hang out at Transcend Mercer.

Transcend Mercer

I went for my usual – a vanilla latte – and looked around the cafe. There’s only one window, but the space is surprisingly bright, and I love the wood beams and ceiling. I understand they will be adding artwork around the room, so that’ll add even more color and visual interest. Speaking of color, the green counter, black wall, and brown accents definitely give you a “coffee” feeling!

I’m sure the new cafe will be frequented by everyone in the building, and it’s great to have another coffee shop on 104 Street. I’m also happy to once again be able to buy Transcend beans throughout the week! For more on Transcend Mercer, check out Cindy’s review here!

Credo Coffee on 124 Street

Credo Coffee on 124 Street

As you may know, Credo Coffee on 104 Street is my usual spot. It’s extremely close to home, has great coffee, and has wonderful service. The only downside is that because Credo is so popular, it can sometimes be difficult to find a seat. The new location on 124 Street is quite a bit bigger though, so hopefully that won’t be such an issue there!

Credo Coffee on 124 Street

The new cafe is located at 10350 124 Street in the new Limelight building (which is just down the block from Remedy Cafe). It can be a little difficult to see, given that there are no signs on the building except for a vinyl banner where Credo is located. They are the first tenant in the building, so I hope better signage is coming.

Credo Coffee on 124 Street

Inside is open and roomy, with lots of seating and also lots of bar space. Though Credo’s space is mostly below street level, there are lots of windows which means lots of natural light. Oddly there are a lot of power outlets up high (I guess for Christmas lights?) so you might need a long cord if you’re going to plug in a laptop (maybe they can add some outlets lower to the floor).

My favorite vanilla latte was as delicious as ever, and it didn’t take long to feel right at home. I know I won’t make it to this location as often as 104 Street, but it’s great to see another fantastic addition to 124 Street.

Burrow Central Station

Burrow Central Station

A coffee shop in an LRT station? Finally Edmonton’s cafe scene has gone underground! Burrow Central Station (part of the growing Elm Cafe family) is the perfect addition to our growing and increasingly popular transit system, and I hope it’s a sign of things to come. Again my expectations were exceeded – I anticipated finding Burrow tucked away behind one of the walls, but instead found it centrally located in the concourse. You can’t miss it, and now that it is there, I simply can’t remember what it looked like before. Burrow looks like it belongs, like it should have always been there.

Burrow Central Station

Burrow uses Four Barrel Coffee from San Francisco, which I had not tried before. I decided to stick with the usual on my first visit (ok, ok, and also my second and third visits) and ordered a vanilla latte. I was pleasantly surprised to see they make it with real vanilla bean instead of syrup! I will have to go try a simple brewed coffee one of these days. They have a rotating lunch menu with a grilled cheese sandwich too, also on my list to try.

There is no seating in the LRT concourse, but for grab and go it’s hard to beat Burrow. My office is right above in the Empire Building, so I foresee many, many visits in my future! Again, check out Cindy’s review here.

Have you been to these three new cafes? What did you think? If not, raise a paper cup as Omar says, and go check them out!