Edmonton Food Council Recruitment, What the Truck?!, Metro Edmonton’s Future

Here’s the latest entry in my Edmonton Etcetera series, in which I share some thoughts on a few topical items in one post. Less than I’d write in a full post on each, but more than I’d include in Edmonton Notes. Have feedback? Let me know!

Edmonton Food Council Recruitment

The Edmonton Food Council is seeking four new members for three-year terms beginning in September 2016:

“As a volunteer committee of the City, the Edmonton Food Council’s primary role is to advise and act on matters related to the ongoing implementation of fresh: Edmonton’s Food and Agriculture Strategy. The Edmonton Food Council aims to engage with the community on relevant and timely issues related to food and urban agriculture.”

Open Farm Days 7005
Open Farm Days 2015, photo by Premier of Alberta

I think we’ve had a difficult few years since the council was first established in 2013 but I am excited about the year ahead! We have agreed to focus on food security, have setup a website, and have established a few committees that have been working well together. There have been some big successes over the last couple of years including hens, bees, and the urban agriculture zoning changes, and I think there are lots of great opportunities ahead.

If you think you’d like to join us, you can apply online here. You’ll need your resume and two letters of reference to go along with the application form. The deadline to get everything in is 5pm on Monday, June 20, 2016.

What the Truck?! at Blatchford Tower

After a very successful first event of the season a few weeks ago at Northlands, we’re ready for round two! Our next What the Truck?! event takes place on Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 4-8pm at Blatchford Tower! You can see the event and RSVP on Facebook and you can check out the lineup and menus here.

CYXD - Edmonton City Centre - Last Day of Ops
CYXD – Edmonton City Centre – Last Day of Ops, photo by Jeff Wallace

The event takes place along Airport Road right in front of the old City Centre Airport control tower (see it on Street View here). There won’t be any snow thankfully, but check out that view! This is going to be a fun location because in addition to learning more about the City’s plans for Blatchford, if you bring a donation for Edmonton’s Food Bank, you can go up inside the tower to get a unique look at downtown Edmonton’s skyline.

Admission is free as always, and there’s lots of parking at either the Ramada Hotel on the west side or Aviation Museum on the east side. I hope to see you there!

Metro Edmonton’s Future

Last week the Advisory Panel on Metro Edmonton’s Future released its report. This new group was convened in September by the Metro Mayors Alliance which itself was only formalized over the summer last year. Here are the advisory panel members:

  • Don Lowry – Former President & CEO of EPCOR Utilities
  • Carman McNary – Managing Partner of the Edmonton office of Dentons Canada LLP
  • Stanford Blade – Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta
  • Phyllis Clark – Vice President, Finance and Administration, and CFO at the University of Alberta
  • Salima Ebrahim – Executive Director of the Banff Forum
  • Linda Hughes – 19th Chancellor of the University of Alberta
  • Reg Milley – Former President & CEO of Edmonton Airports
  • Liz O’Neill – Executive Director of Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters Society of Edmonton & Area
  • Tim Reid – President & CEO of Northlands
  • Andrew Ross – Executive Vice President, Northern Operations, for Clark Builders
  • Brad Stelfox – ALCES Group Founder
  • Paul Whittaker – President & CEO of the Alberta Forest Products Association

The Alliance was established “to support the global competitiveness and future prosperity of communities in the Metro Edmonton area” and the Panel was intended to “provide insight on matters for the region to further consider.” The cost of the panel was $600,000 which will be shared by the nine member municipalities which include Edmonton, Strathcona County, St. Albert, Sturgeon County, Fort Saskatchewan, the City of Leduc, Leduc County, Spruce Grove, and Parkland County. As Paula Simons noted in her column today, that group “represents nine municipalities with 95 per cent of the regional population, and 96 per cent of the regional tax assessment base.”

The report, called Be Ready, Or Be Left Behind, “provides a roadmap for creating a globally competitive, future-ready Edmonton Metro Region.” It highlights three critical systems for the region: economic development, public transit, and land use and infrastructure development. Can’t get much broader than that! At least they said public transit and not simply transportation. The report makes these recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1: Affirm the Metro Mayors Alliance by developing and signing a Memorandum of Understanding that spells out a commitment to plan, decide and act as one Edmonton Metro Region.
  • Recommendation #2: Formalize the commitment to think, plan and act as an Edmonton Metro Region through a legally binding Master Agreement.
  • Recommendation #3: Consistent with the signed Master Agreement, establish the structures needed to create the three key cornerstones of a globally competitive Edmonton Metro Region.
  • Recommendation #3a: Establish and mandate a new entity responsible for regional economic development in the Edmonton Metro Region.
  • Recommendation #3b: Establish and mandate an entity responsible for planning, decision-making and delivering core public transit across the Edmonton Metro Region.
  • Recommendation #3c: Establish a structure with the capacity and authority to facilitate and act upon regional land use planning and regional infrastructure development in the Edmonton Metro Region.

Paula noted that this could become a major election issue next year. And she notes the potential impact of this group on the Capital Region Board:

“The 24-member Capital Region Board, created, somewhat forcibly, by then-premier Ed Stelmach back in 2008, isn’t nimble enough to give metro Edmonton the leadership it needs.”

Now that the report is out, it’ll be up to the nine mayors to do something about it.

You can follow this on Twitter using the hashtag #YEGMetroRegion and/or the shorter #yegmetro as adopted by the local media.