Coming up at City Council: August 15-19, 2016

Council is back from the summer break next week! Let’s hope they all got some much needed R&R.

City Hall

Here’s my look at what Council will be discussing in the week ahead. Interesting to see that a number of the reports now include a section called “Metrics, Targets, and Outcomes” in addition to the existing “Corporate Outcomes”. This is a welcome addition.

Meetings this week

You can always see the latest City Council meetings on ShareEdmonton.

Municipal Voting Age

The City of Edmonton Youth Council (CEYC) wants the Province to amend the Local Authorities Election Act to allow 16 and 17 year old citizens the right to vote. The CEYC voted in factor of asking for the change at their February 3, 2016 meeting and now they want Council to give them permission to send a letter requesting the change.

The letter the CEYC has prepared reads in part:

“Youth in Edmonton have proven they are ready for this change. Sixteen-­year-­olds already have rights permitting them to drive on city roads, be emancipated and live on their own, be in the army reserves, and be a parent, among many others. Through being able to handle these responsibilities youth have shown not only that they are ready but that they are competent in municipal issues.”

The report notes that “lowering the voting age has been successful in countries such as Norway, Austria, and Scotland to increase voter engagement and turnout.”

If Council accepts the recommendation, the letter will be sent to the Province. It would be great to see this change made and for it to take effect in time for next year’s elections!

River Valley Alliance

In February the River Valley Alliance submitted to its members a Draft Capital Program for 2017-2022 and now it needs the City of Edmonton’s approval in order to seek additional funding. “The total projected cost to complete the proposed River Valley Alliance trail system from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan is estimated at $200 million, of which close to $100 million of the proposed capital spending would occur within Edmonton’s municipal boundaries.” So far $72.9 million has been spent on River Valley Alliance projects like the Terwillegar Park pedestrian bridge and the new funicular, split evenly between the three orders of government.

The report identifies three next steps:

  • “If City Council supports the Draft Capital Program 2017-2022, Administration will continue to work with the River Valley Alliance to confirm alignments, land acquisitions, cost sharing agreements, phasing of construction and determination of alternate priorities (if required). At this time City Council would only be providing its tentative support for these projects with formal approval being subject to further work with the River Valley Alliance to identify a mutually agreed upon final list of projects based on better understanding of City and partner municipality priorities, project costs, schedule and logical project phasing.”
  • “Administration will continue to work with the River Valley Alliance to develop a proposed cost-sharing formula for the portion of the Draft Capital Program 2017 – 2022 within Edmonton’s municipal boundaries, which will be brought back to City Council for approval.”
  • “Administration will confirm with the River Valley Alliance that the City will continue its role in planning, operating, designing, building, operating and maintaining any future river valley capital projects within Edmonton’s municipal boundaries as described in the Draft Capital Program 2017-2022.”

The list of projects for 2017-2022 in Edmonton includes four new pedestrian bridges, three new boat launches & docks, and four new trails.

Fort Edmonton Foot Bridge
Fort Edmonton Foot Bridge, photo by IQRemix

Administration recommends that Council provide its conditional support for the projects “and that formal approval be subject to further work with the River Valley Alliance to identify a mutually agreed upon final list of projects based on better understanding of City and partner municipality priorities, project costs, schedule and logical project phasing.” Once the proposed list and cost-sharing formula are finalized, Administration would create a budget submission for consideration as part of the 2019-2022 Capital Budget.

Soccer Centres

This report responds to the inquiry Councillor Walters made in May about the current usage and capacity of the City’s indoor soccer centres. Here are the highlights:

  • Edmonton has two types of indoor soccer facilities: boarded (with a carpet surface) and non-boarded (with artificial turf).
  • There are three soccer centres that accommodate boarded soccer (northeast, southeast, west). Each facility has four playing surfaces for a total of twelve fields.
  • Collectively each year, the twelve fields have approximately 20,000 scheduled games, 23,700 hours utilized, 853,200 player visits for games, 138,000 spectators, and over $550,00 in revenue collected.
  • During prime time (5pm to 10pm Monday to Friday, 7am to 10pm on weekends) in the winter (September to March) the utilization rate of the three facilities is 94%. During prime time in the summer (April to August) the utilization rate is 54% and most of that is for sports other than soccer.
  • “The Recreation Facility Master Plan (2005-2015) reflects a service level ratio of one pitch to 55,000 residents. To maintain this, the Plan recommends two additional indoor pitches.”
  • The fieldhouse at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre is the only City-owned non-boarded indoor facility. “The only other indoor non-boarded facility in Edmonton, located at 14025 142 Street, is owned and operated by the Victoria Soccer Club.” A second turf facility is under construction there and is expected to open in November 2016.
  • “The St. Albert Soccer Association is proposing a partnership with the City of Edmonton and the City of St. Albert for a full-sized, indoor, artificial turf field on land owned by the City of Edmonton in north Edmonton.”

The report notes that soccer is particularly popular in our city. “Soccer is the number one minor sport activity in Edmonton based on the 2010 Current State of Sport assessment and census data shows the population under the age of nine grew by 13 percent from 2009 to 2014, which may lead to continued growth in registrations.”

Other interesting items

  • A new report recommends that City Policy C532 (Sustainable Building Policy) be updated “to ensure it aligns with City of Edmonton goals for a sustainable, energy resilient, low carbon Edmonton.” If approved, the updated policy is slated to return to Council in Q1 2017.
  • Council will receive a City of Edmonton Youth Council report on Experiential Graphic Design, defined as “involving the orchestration of typography, colour, imagery, form, technology, and content to create environments that communicate.” The idea is to integrate this thinking into the City’s recent wayfinding efforts. “Experiential Graphic Design could act as a powerful tool to help both residents and visitors navigate the city’s extensive pedestrian, bicycle and public transit networks, while forming memorable through personal interactions with their environments.”
  • There are three notices of intent to designate new Munipical Historic Resources for the Hunt Residence at 12520 109A Avenue NW, the Shop Easy Grocery at 11606 129 Avenue NW, and the John Wood Residence at 11833 102 Avenue NW.
  • A total of $28,675 is recommended in Travel Grant funding to 43 individuals.
  • A total of $330,700 is recommended in funding to support 18 facilities through the Arts Building Operating Grant program. The largest grant is $59,000 for the Metro Cinema Society.

Wrap-up

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. You can read my previous coverage of the 2013-2017 City Council here.