Coming up at City Council: August 29 – September 2, 2016

In addition to discussing the report on Northlands’ Vision 2020, there are a number of other things coming up for Council next week.

Wading Pool Race!
Photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Here’s my look at everything else that Council will be discussing in the week ahead.

Meetings this week

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

Edmonton Arena District Update

The latest update on Rogers Place and the Edmonton Arena District states:

“Since the last update report, the private sector District development surrounding the Arena has continued to advance. A significant milestone occurred at the end of May when Greyhound transferred their bus operations out of the downtown. Demolition of the Greyhound building has been completed, and excavation of the site and the abutting former 103 Street is now underway.”

Rogers Place is “nearing completion and is expected to be available for occupancy by September 2, 2016, the contracted facility turnover date.” In other words, on time, at least as of August 8, 2016. The facility is also on target to achieve the LEED Silver designation.

Former Greyhound Station

Some other highlights:

  • “A robust communications plan is planned to roll out as the opening of the facility approaches.”
  • “At the time of writing this report, commissioning was underway and various areas of the building have received final inspection. Equipment and furniture is now being moved into the building.”
  • “As of the end of June, there was a daily average of 1,019 workers on-site. The on-site team continues to work in a safe manner with one lost-time-incident. To date, there have been 8,321 workers fully oriented on the site.”
  • “Through the beginning of May, 87 percent (7,045 tons) of all waste material had been diverted from the landfill.”
  • “The building will officially open September 8, 2016, with the first major event being an Open House planned for September 10, 2016, to give the public the opportunity to explore and enjoy the building.”
  • “The City will host a separate community-focused grand opening event for the Downtown Community Arena on September 25, 2016.”

On the financial state of the project:

“The total approved capital budget for the Downtown Arena project (capital profile #1117-0099 as amended) is $611,859,000. The total capital expenditure as at June 30, 2016, is approximately $542,044,192.”

The report mentions an “unresolved legal claim” that could mean additional interim funding is required.

Edmonton Filmed Entertainment Fund

Council had previously asked for an update on the Edmonton Filmed Entertainment Fund, which was established in 2012 by EEDC with Kilkburn Media LLC and with $5 million in grant funding from the City. It was created “to support filmed entertainment projects principally shot in Edmonton using local resources.” To date, the fund has invested in three projects: Freezer (2012), Cut Bank (2013), and 40 Below (2015).

Here’s how the fund has performed so far:

  • “The Fund has invested 92% ($4.62M) of the grant funding in three projects since inception and has received 64% ($2.9M) return to date toward this investment.”
  • “In regards to the Economic Impact goal, the Fund has generated $6.47M in economic activity from three films, including $2.34M of direct employment income in the film and entertainment industry.”
  • “The Fund was created as a revolving fund. However, the investments so far have begun generating revenues 12 months after the investments or later. The lengthy payback period limits the ability to invest in multiple projects or larger projects.”

The target was to generate an economic multiplier ratio of 6:1, but instead the return on investment was -33%.

Unsurprisingly, EEDC has “concluded that the existing model used for the Fund is not proving to be successful.” They said $5 million is not enough to invest in big enough projects to see larger returns, and that “13-20 percent return on investment was optimistic, this industry involves too many risks to guarantee any profits – even with industry experts involved.”

Other interesting items

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.