Recap: ONEdmonton Leaders Forum #2

Yesterday morning was the second ONEdmonton Leaders Forum, hosted by EEDC at the Shaw Conference Centre. After a good experience at the first one, I was excited for another opportunity to chat with everyone and eager to see if the organizers would indeed make more time for that. EEDC Board Chair Henry Yip and EEDC President Ron Gilbertson gave very brief introductory remarks, and we got down to business.

Our moderator for the day was Anne McLellan. She started by presenting the following question (I’m paraphrasing a bit):

What are your top five opportunities, challenges, and priorities for Edmonton as we work toward becoming one of the world’s leading mid-size cities?

She then numbered everyone off into 8 groups, and we started discussing. For about half an hour, groups talked amongst themselves, with each member having the chance to share their top 5 issues (or less). This exercise was something I was prepared for, given my Pecha Kucha 7 talk, so I started in my group. Here are the three I shared:

  1. Density
  2. Storytelling
  3. Creative Economy

I added “Living Local” after everyone had shared their issues, and I agreed with most of the table who mentioned EXPO 2017. There were some other duplicates, but I wrote down over 20 things from our group alone. It was a great discussion and it was really interesting to hear where everyone was at. Some of the more memorable things mentioned at my table were “winter city”, “homelessness”, and “waterfront development”.

During a short break the organizers tallied up all the lists to identify the overall group’s top 10 opportunities, challenges, and priorities. Here’s the result (issue with percentage of the group that identified it):

  1. Downtown revitalization (46%)
  2. Crime (29%)
  3. Education / R&D (29%)
  4. Transportation / Infrastructure (25%)
  5. Homelessness (19%)
  6. Brand / Identity (19%)
  7. River Valley Development (17%)
  8. Regional Partnerships (15%)
  9. Promoting the city (15%)
  10. Aboriginal Integration (14%)

A moderated discussion followed, which of course felt like it wasn’t long enough. A few really good comments were made. One I’ll share was from Homeward Trust Executive Director Susan McGee, who said that language is important, and that the word “integration” in #10 on the list probably was not the best choice of words. I thought it was a great point.

Crime & Safety

We finished off the morning with a presentation from EPS Deputy Chief of Police Norm Lipinski. He shared some really great information about the EPS approach, as well as some positive stories about crime in Edmonton. Here are the EPS objectives:

  1. Reduce Crime
  2. Reduce Disorder
  3. Enhance Traffic Safety
  4. Maintain Public Trust

Some of the ways they accomplish those objectives are through community policing, hot spot management, offender management, and business practices. He mentioned the broken window theory, and said he was a big fan of having a visible presence. Norm’s takeaways were that overall crime is down in Edmonton over the last three years, that the rate of solving crime is up, and that we have a top tier police service (also a very young police service). He finished with a funny slide comparing his appearance to that of Kevin Bacon (the resemblance is uncanny). A discussion followed his presentation but I had to leave so I missed it.

I thought the second ONEdmonton forum was great – kudos to EEDC for acting on the feedback for the first event to make this one a success. I look forward to the next forum, where we’ll hopefully start trying to address the execution side of becoming one of the world’s top five mid-size cities.

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