The agenda for next week’s non-statutory public hearing on the Food & Agriculture Strategy is now available online, as is the final draft of fresh: Edmonton’s Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy. In addition to some tidying up and a “fresh” new look, the final draft includes an executive summary. Here’s an excerpt:
fresh is not an endpoint, but a starting point. With that in mind, the Strategy does not provide a detailed implementation plan, but rather sets directions for moving forward. Implementation will occur over time as the Edmonton Food Council is established, partnerships are formed, research is continued, resources are allocated and progress builds towards results.
Also included in the agenda is a nine-page report prepared by Administration with an overview of the strategy, commentary on the recommendations, and a recommendation to Executive Committee on how to proceed. Here is the recommendation:
That Executive Committee recommend to City Council:
- That fresh: Edmonton’s Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy, as outlined in Attachment 1 of the Sustainable Development report 2012SPE029, be endorsed in principle.
- That implementation of fresh (Edmonton’s Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy) be postponed pending Administration reporting to Executive Committee in the first quarter of 2013 on the options and costs.
Endorsed in principle, but with implementation delayed pending an update on options and costs. I wasn’t entirely sure why they’d structure the recommendation that way. I mean, since when does Administration implement anything without first gathering options and costs? Why couldn’t Council approve the strategy, if they think it is ready to be approved, and then direct Administration to start implementation immediately, the first step of which might be to gather more information on costs?
So I kept reading. Here are the final remarks in the report:
While Administration views the recommendations of fresh as being generally reasonable and worthy of follow up, it also sees it being prudent to postpone implementation of fresh pending the development of a better shared understanding between Council and Administration on the options and costs to implement the Strategy.
Notwithstanding advice to postpone its implementation, endorsement of fresh in principle will satisfy the requirements of Municipal Development Plan Policy 126.96.36.199 relative to enabling consideration of future Area Structure Plans and will provide City Council with the means to evaluate future Area Structure Plans for the Urban Growth Areas by way of the tool kit contained in strategic direction 9 (see Attachment 3).
Right, so allow me to translate. Administration is basically saying: “Look, we have the development industry breathing down our neck and we need to get this taken care of ASAP so that the Area Structure Plans in the Urban Growth Areas can move forward. We know the recommendation that deals with land use raises a bunch of questions, but we don’t think it is important to answer those right now. Also, we don’t want your endorsement to necessarily commit us to implementing anything, even something as straightforward as establishing a food council, so we’re just going to come back with a report on costs and go from there. Cool?”
No, not cool.
I’d encourage you to read through the documents here in more detail.